What does a bracha do? It isn't a spell, some magical utterance, or words with power that realise everything one tells. Is it something to changes G-ds mind, will or emotions in order to gain or beget something in our favour? This doesn't seem right to me ether.

So what is a bracha, what does it do?

  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/29109
    – msh210
    Jun 21, 2016 at 7:22
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    Can you cite an example, because you indicate that it isn't something that realises something. But generally the format of a bracha is completely different from what you suggest; you don't 'wish' something in the formulation of a bracha. When you say 'blessed is he who sanctified us with the mitzwa of placing a mezuza' you don't wish for mezuzot. There is nothing to realise. You seem to ask about prayers, such as in the amida. Could you clarify?
    – RonP
    Jun 21, 2016 at 9:38
  • @RonP, note that the amida is chock full of b'rachos. Nonetheless I agree that the question could do with some clarification as to which prayers precisely the asker is asking about.
    – msh210
    Jun 21, 2016 at 14:27
  • I'm not as king about a prayer, I'm as king about the principle of Bracha which if course can be found in prayer.
    – Levi
    Jun 21, 2016 at 20:00
  • @RonP, if we bless the bread for example, we don't eat blessbread afterwards, it taste the same, looks the same and is indeed in every fiber the same bread. So what did the Bracha do? If we put a blessing upon a person, situation or thing nothing seems to be changed. So why a Bracha? What does it effectuate, what is achieved, what is done thrue the recitatie or pronouncing of a Bracha? That's my question
    – Levi
    Jun 24, 2016 at 20:35

3 Answers 3


The Gemoro in Brochos 35a says:

"אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל כל הנהנה מן העוה"ז בלא ברכה כאילו נהנה מקדשי שמים שנא' 'לה' הארץ ומלואה'. ר' לוי רמי: כתיב, 'לה' הארץ ומלואה', וכתיב 'השמים שמים לה' והארץ נתן לבני אדם'? לא קשיא; כאן קודם ברכה, כאן לאחר ברכה".

Rav Yehuda says in the name of Shmuel, “anyone who benefits from this world without first making a blessing, it's as if he he has benefit from the “holy things of heaven” ( = sacrifices (?) without permission) as it says, “The earth and the fullness thereof belong to Hashem”.

Rebbi Levi contrasted two verses: it says, “The earth and the fullness thereof belong to Hashem”(1) and it says “the heavens are heavens of Hashem, but the earth he gave to humans”(2). There's no contradiction – one is before he makes a blessing =(1) and the other is after he makes a blessing =(2).

So we can think that a blessing before food acknowledges that everything belongs to Hashem and that by acknowledging Him and thanking Him, He gives us permission to enjoy that item.

For the other categories of blessings, described by @Cashcow, the central feature is to acknowledge and thank Hashem.

  • 1
    When I learned this in yeshiva, my rebbe summarized the above by stating that essentially, all food does not belong to you. It belongs to G-d. To use it, therefore, you must ask for permission. Not doing so, is considered "stealing". As for what these general concepts mean, i.e., how can you "steal" from G-d who doesn't want or need anything, that somewhat misses the point. Of course, it's not literal, but this how you need to train your mindset, so that you appreciate the gifts G-d gives you for you to use.
    – DanF
    Jun 21, 2016 at 13:59

Bracha is from the word Breicha or reservoir. With each benefit we get from Hashem we need to look up and acknowledge the source. By doing this we never end up going very long throughout the day without connecting to that source since we are constantly on the receiving end of some divine benefit. Our day becomes filled with tefila and thanks and Hashem is always nearby at hand. The Rambam says (Brachos 4:1) that brachos are to remember Hashem, always


see also this


The scope may be too wide for a single answer, but there are various categories of B'racha, and in general they are announcements of G-ds continual presence and our thanks towards him.

Examples are:

  • Prayers we recite before eating food.
  • Prayers of salvation, both past and present.
  • Prayers on witnessing something of nature.
  • Prayers of thanks (after eating food is bibically obligatory).
  • Prayers before performing a mitzvah (most authorities state that the one we recite in the morning on Torah study is biblically obligatory too).
  • Prayers of requests (Tefillah)

If made in public, these b'rachas are a kind of "kiddush hashem". If made privately, then at least you personally are actively recognising that these things come from G-d.

There is a whole mesechta about B'rachot (with that exact title) it is the first one of the entire tractate of Mishna and G'mara.

There is some discussion there, in particular about b'rachas before eating food (how we "acquire" it with the b'racha, based on a verse in Tehillim that forms part of Hallel).

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    I knew this, but what I want to know is how it works; when I make one of these blessings, what happens? Does HaShem fulfilll my words? Whats the effect of pronouncing a bracha?
    – Levi
    Jun 21, 2016 at 9:24
  • If made in public it's obviously a public kiddush hashem, if made privately then you are at least acknowledging in your mind that these things come from G-d.
    – CashCow
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:40

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