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Someone ate something which, in and of itself, requires a bracha achrona (e.g. Al Hamichya or Borei Nefashos) and carelessly moved on to eating bread before reciting said bracha achrona. Should one say the bracha achrona for the first food in addition to birkas hamazon or would birkas hamazon alone (b'dieved) satisfy this requirement?

Also, would I be required in such cases while reciting birkas hamazon to have kavanah about the food I had both during and before the meal?

Related situation: Does birkat hamazon cover dessert (and other items requiring a separate bracha rishona during the meal)?

  • Motivation: it just happened to me. (Yeah, it was a hard meal.) – SAH Feb 17 '15 at 2:29
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    I asked this question to my Rav and he said as soon as you realized you didn't say the bracha acharona, even in the middle of a hamotzi meal, go ahead and say the bracha achrona. He didn't address what happens if you don't remember that you forgot the bracha until the end of the hamotzi meal, though. (He noted that wine at kiddush is the only example of a bracha said before hamotzi that is taken care of by birkas hamazon.) – Kordovero Feb 17 '15 at 2:48
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    @SAH Ok, these are complicated halachos where minor details can be significant, and there are differences of opinion, so ultimately CYLOR is in order. Different types of m'zonos foods could have different halachos, but Birkas HaMazon probably covers all m'zonos eaten beforehand at least b'diavad (especially if one intended that the bentching apply to it). I'm not entirely sure of the impact of the fact that you planned on continuing to eat (those same foods?), though not in the context of a meal, but assuming that it counts as not having planned to eat more of it during a meal... – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 16:25
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    @SAH ...then fruit eaten beforehand (or other foods that would require a blessing if eaten during a meal) would require a borei n'fashos even during the meal (there may be different opinions regarding whether you would even have to recite borei n'fashos after bentching if you forgot to do so beforehand). Dates are an exception; bentching covers them since they are a substantial food. For other non-m'zonos snacks, borei n'fashos would be required (according to most poskim) even if you intended to continue eating them during a meal. (Note: Wine and drinks have different halachos). – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 16:33
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    @SAH Some sources: Mishna B'rura 176:2 (as well as Bei'ur Halacha and Sha'ar HaTziyun, and sources cited ad loc.; see also M"B on OC 208:17); Igros Moshe OC III 33; V'zos HaBracha ch. 9. – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 16:56
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Yalqut Yosef - Qizur Shulhan 'Arukh (Orah Hayim 177:6) states (my translation):

יש הנוהגים בשבת ויום טוב, לברך על בשר ודגים, ביצים ומיני תבשיל, או פירות, קודם נטילת ידים וברכת המוציא, כדי להשלים מאה ברכות בשבת. ויש להם על מה שיסמוכו. ואין חילוק בזה בין אנשים לנשים. [אך אחר שהתחיל בסעודה אין לברך על בשר דגים ומיני תבשיל]. וכיון שאוכלים קודם הסעודה, יזהרו שלא יאכלו כזית, כדי שלא יכנסו בספק ברכה אחרונה. ואם אכלו מהם כזית קודם הסעודה, [אחר הקידוש], לא יברכו ברכה אחרונה, שספק ברכות להקל. וכן אם אכל עוגה קודם הסעודה שיעור כזית, אינו מברך ברכה אחרונה, דשמא ברכת המזון פוטרתו.

Some have the custom on Shabbat and Yom Tov to recite blessings on meat, fish, eggs, [Lee: other] types of dishes, or fruit before Nettilat Yadayim and Birkat HaMozi in order to recite one hundred blessings on Shabbat [Lee: and Yom Tov]. And they have upon what to rely. And there is no difference [Lee: in this ruling] between men and women. [But, after starting the se'udah, one must not recite blessings on fish and other types of dishes].

And, since they are eating before the se'udah, they must be careful not to eat a "kezayit" so as not to place themselves in a safeq Berakhah Aharonah [Lee: i.e. a situation in which it's unclear if they should recite a Berakhah Aharonah or not]. And, if they nevertheless ate a kezayit before the se'udah [after the Qiddush], they should not recite a Berakhah Aharonah since safeq berakhot lehaqel [Lee: i.e. we opt to not recite blessings other than Birkat HaMazon if there is uncertainty if they are required or not].

If one ate a kezayit of cake before the se'udah, it is similarly true that one should not recite a Berakhah Aharonah since Birkat HaMazon may apply to the cake eaten.

I was recently told, though I have not yet researched this "inside", that the Mishnah Berurah rules that one should recite a Berakhah Aharonah in the cases outlined above.

Yalqut Yosef does not directly address your question of kawanah (i.e. intent) in this clause. I assume Birkat HaMazon should be recited with the foods from before the meal in mind (since I am not aware of negative legal ramifications for doing so).

  • I believe Yalqut Yosef rules this way since the Berakhah Aharonah is subject to a mahloqet haposseqim. Since, according to Yalqut Yosef, all blessings (other than Birkat HaMazon) are Rabbinic in nature, and since this Berakhah Aharonah is subject to a safeq, we apply the general principle of safeq berakhot lehaqel - i.e. we would rather passively not fulfill a Rabbinic decree than actively break a negative Biblical commandment (of reciting HaShem's name in vain). – Lee Feb 5 '17 at 12:28
  • So you are saying that the Shulchan Aruch rules one way and the Mishnah Berurah another way? I assume we follow the S"A? – SAH May 29 '17 at 7:09
  • Also, I thought I learned that saying an unnecessary bracha does not constitute a Biblical transgression. (maybe it was actually just that it's not a violation of the Third Commandment?) – SAH May 29 '17 at 7:11
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    According to Yalqut Yosef (Orah Hayim 215:9) - in the name of Shulhan `Arukh, "Hage'onim", and RaMBa"M - reciting an unnecessary blessing is a Biblical prohibition. As to which de`ah to follow, please CYLOR. – Lee May 29 '17 at 9:37

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