Berachos 21a:

Whence is it that Grace after meals is ordained by the Torah? As it is said, "And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord thy God" (Deut. viii. 10).

The verse mentions being satiated, but does not mention specifically bread.

I viewed Talmud Berachos 45a which says:

How much [must one have eaten at the meal] to be included for Zimmun ? The size of an olive. R. Judah says : the size of an egg

The Mishnah seems to be specific to zimmun and also does not specifically mention bread.

Additionally, when one is full and has eaten only a lot of candy bars as his meal, he does not have to say Birkat Hamazon, AFAIK. Isn't this in contradiction to the Torah verse that says one should say it after being "full"?

Why was this commandment tied in specifically to bread and it wasn't extended to saying it if you are filled with regardless of what food you ate?

  • Look back a page at 44a
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 14:39
  • @DoubleAA I did that. I must have missed something specific. What should I focus on that answers the question?
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 16:43
  • Check out the second Mishna there and the beginning of its gemara.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 17:00
  • @DoubleAA OK, got it. Why not make this an answer?
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


Berachos 20b says that bentching before one is full is Rabbinic in nature. It brings this Halacha in the context of the following question:

אמר ליה רבינא לרבא נשים בברכת המזון דאורייתא או דרבנן למאי נפקא מינה לאפוקי רבים ידי חובתן אי אמרת דאורייתא אתי דאורייתא ומפיק דאורייתא אלא אי אמרת דרבנן הוי שאינו מחוייב בדבר וכל שאינו מחוייב בדבר אינו מוציא את הרבים ידי חובתן מאי

Ravina said to Rava: “Women[‘s obligation] in bentching - is it Biblical or Rabbinic? What practical difference does it make? To relieve others of their obligation. If you say that it’s Biblical, their Biblical obligation can relieve others’ Biblical obligations. But if you say it’s Rabbinic, it’s like someone who isn’t obligated in the matter, and whoever is not obligated in the matter cannot relieve others of their obligation. What [is the halacha]?”

תא שמע באמת אמרו בן מברך לאביו ועבד מברך לרבו ואשה מברכת לבעלה אבל אמרו חכמים תבא מארה לאדם שאשתו ובניו מברכין לו אי אמרת בשלמא דאורייתא אתי דאורייתא ומפיק דאורייתא אלא אי אמרת דרבנן אתי דרבנן ומפיק דאורייתא

Come and hear: “In truth they said, a son can bentch for his father, a slave for his master, and a woman for her husband. But they Sages said, a curse should come on a man whose wife and children bentch for him.” It is well if you say [a woman’s obligation is] Biblical - their Biblical obligation comes and relieves their [husbands’] Biblical obligation. But if you say it’s Rabbinic, can a Rabbinic obligation relieve a Biblical one?

Here’s the key line for your question:

ולטעמיך קטן בר חיובא הוא אלא הכא במאי עסקינן כגון שאכל שיעורא דרבנן דאתי דרבנן ומפיק דרבנן

And according to your logic, is a minor obligated? Rather, with what are we dealing here? For example, if he ate a measure which obligates him Rabbinically, where the Rabbinic obligation comes and relieves the Rabbinic obligation.

In further exploring this Rabbinic obligation, the Gemara continues:

דרש רב עוירא זמנין אמר לה משמיה דרבי אמי וזמנין אמר לה משמיה דרבי אסי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם כתוב בתורתך אשר לא ישא פנים ולא יקח שחד והלא אתה נושא פנים לישראל דכתיב ישא ה׳ פניו אליך אמר להם וכי לא אשא פנים לישראל שכתבתי להם בתורה ואכלת ושבעת וברכת את ה׳ אלהיך והם מדקדקים [על] עצמם עד כזית ועד כביצה:

R’ Avira expounded, sometimes in the name of R’ Ami and sometimes in the name of R’ Asi: “The angels say before Hashem, ‘Master of the World! It is written in Your Torah, “Who does not favor nor accept bribes,” yet you favor Yisrael, as it says, “May Hashem favor you”!’ He said to them, ‘How can I not favor Yisrael? I wrote for them in the Torah, “You will eat, be satisfied, and bless Hashem, Your G-d,” and they’re particular about themselves [to bless] even on an olive’s or egg’s volume!’”

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