I always assumed that tapping the table as you say "ועל שולחן זה שאכלנו עליו" in bentching was something you do in Junior High School. But I have now seen several full-grown (at least chronologically) adults who do this during bentching. I still assume that I am correct, and they just never stopped doing it from when they did it in NCSY or something like that, but I figured I'd ask:

Is there any source in the history of Halachic literature that says you should tap the table on which you are eating when you say those words in bentching?

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    I researched this a while ago and wasn't able to find any sources. lo matzinu eino raya.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 8, 2015 at 21:07
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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/36270/…
    – rosends
    Feb 8, 2015 at 21:13
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    @Danno That's about creating a beat to the tune. This is about indicating the table in question.
    – Fred
    Feb 8, 2015 at 21:41
  • @Fred the one answer there gives the opinion that it doesn't rise to the level of recorded minhag. That makes it related to the question here.
    – rosends
    Feb 8, 2015 at 22:38
  • פותח את ידך is a different story
    – sam
    Feb 9, 2015 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


IMHO this is based upon the concept of "Zeh" in the mikra being connected to the principle of "mareh ba'etzbah" - see Rashi on "zeh keli ve'anvehu," "hachodesh hazeh lachem," "ba'avur zeh asah Hashem li," etc.

Additionally, there is the lechatchilah obligation of being in the same location you ate your meal in. We are indicating our fulfillment of the halacha by being "mareh ba'etzbah" that it was this precise table we ate at.

There is no halachic requirement to do so (that I have found), but it is a nice synergy.

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    The question asked for sources. You can feel free to leave your thoughts as comments on the question. Feb 17, 2015 at 2:57
  • I provided sources for the non-halachic reasoning - Rashi on the word Zeh and the chiyuv of bentching bimakom. It's a valid answer. Feb 17, 2015 at 3:27
  • Would you call your rashi on chumash part of the "history of halachic literature"? Feb 17, 2015 at 3:28
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    No. The question was "Is there a source in halachic literature" and my answer was "No. There isn't. The source comes from X." That is an appropriate answer to the question. Feb 17, 2015 at 4:03
  • Danny, the question was "is there ahalachic source?" The answer is "No, there is not. The behavior is based on these two non halachic concepts." That does answer the question. The answer was "no." Feb 17, 2015 at 12:42

The practice is not about tapping but either pointing to the table or placing ones hand upon it at that point in the benching. Tapping rhythmically on the table on Shabbat or Yom Tov, could be a prohibited act.

This appears to be an extension of the Minhag Beit HaRav found in the Hagadah shel Pesach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In the Hagadah, at the recital of "matza zo" and "maror zeh", the custom is to actually touch the matza and maror.

One might think that it only applies to the Pesach Seder and those food items, but the Lubavitcher Rebbe discusses in many Chassidic discourses the significance of the word "zeh" and relating it to actual pointing with the hand. It is associated with the higher level of "bittul"(self-nullification) that was attained by Moshe Rabbeinu.

Part of the concept of blessings and requests being answered by G-d is that the one requesting is in a state of self-nullification to the Master of the universe. This is the idea of being a "kli rekone", an empty vessel for the blessing. And this is associated with the expression "zeh" as in "Zeh HaShulchan" found in Birkat HaMazone. This placing ones hand upon the table at that point would appear to be an extension of that practice recorded in the Chabad Hagada.

The Hagada is used as a halachic source in many places.

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