If a gentile has been called upon to give the blessing before a wedding meal, with part of the wedding party being Jewish, would there be any problem with including a standard bracha at the end of the prayer, ("baruch atah adonai elokeinu melech haolam" followed by the bracha for wine), where the goal is to make the point that there is one God for all, and to welcome the Jewish participants?

  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, John and sorry about the icy reception. (I do not believe that the hyper-literal reading about whom the site is intended for is correct. If a martian asks a proper question, it is on-topic regardless of the circumstances surrounding the question. Conflating the intended audience of the site, with a particular question of propriety, is, in my opinion sloppy thinking.) It is true, however, that intermarriage is strictly forbidden according to Judaism. This certainly overshadows the issue of making a blessing.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 18:22
  • 2
    Although it will be difficult to answer this, given the lack of sources about this particular sort of situation, I assume that in a vacuum, there would be no issue with a gentile reciting blessings over food at a public event (although whether the listeners would discharge their obligations to bless, is a separate question.) The matter of emphasizing that it is one God for all, might be theologically problematic depending on which other religion is being compared to Judaism. [cont.]
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 18:30
  • 1
    [cont.] This, together with the implicit condonation of the intermarriage, would probably constitute the primary issues.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 18:30
  • 1
    @JohnSmith I took the liberty of depersonalizing the question, since the site is not intended for personal guidance. If you want to change it back, or otherwise change it, just edit.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 18:31
  • 1
    @DanF You can make a berakha on wine whenever wine is consumed. This is the case whether it not it is a wedding. Furthermore, the OP did not ask whether there would "be a point", but whether there would be a problem.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


Maimonides states that a person is not allowed to answer Amen if a nonJew makes a blessing and it is not considered a valid blessing. In fact, given that the groom is attempting to "marry" a nonJewish woman, one would probably not be allowed to answer Amen if he (or another Jew) said the blessing.

Hilchos Brachos chapter 1 law 13

13 Whenever a person hears a Jew recite a blessing, he is obligated to respond Amen, although a) he did not hear the blessing in its entirety, b) he was not obligated to recite that blessing himself.

One should not respond Amen if the person reciting the blessing is a gentile, an apostate, a Samaritan, a child in the midst of study, or an adult who altered the text of the blessing.

The use of the Amen serves to state that the blessing being made is appropriate and valid. The Rambam states in the laws of oaths that a person can be considered to have sworn to the truth of the oath being stated (by another) by answering Amen. Similarly we see in the Torah that a sotah becomes subject to the curse by answering Amen to the oath that a priest reads.

Thus, when a person answers Amen to a blessing he is stating that this is a valid blessing and he is including himself in that blessing (such as now being able to drink the wine or eat the food). If a person is not allowed to answer Amen to a blessing, then the implication would be that it was not a proper bracha.

However, this may not be as simple a question as it seems Don’t Be So Quick to Respond by Rabbi Dr. Darrell Ginsberg

The concept of a bracha actually has two components to it as it relates to the halachic system. On the one hand, a bracha is a halachic action, a religious performance like any other. The reason a person recites a bracha prior to eating food, for example, is that benefiting from this world requires a matir, so to speak; thus, the bracha is functioning as a halachic performance. As such, a person must be able to relate to this very system in order to recite the bracha. He must be a gavra hamechavein, possessing the inherent ability to have intent prior to engaging in a halachic performance. Based on this reasoning, one would never answer “Amen” to the bracha of a non-Jew, as he is essentially unable to engage in any Jewish religious performance.

There is another aspect to bracha that makes it unique, which will aid us in understanding how one could answer “Amen”. The text of a bracha is a statement of objective reality. Within the bracha, a person expresses the fact that God is Blessed, King of the Universe, and relates this idea to the performance at hand, such as referencing God as the “boreh pri ha’adama”. And as we know, the response of “Amen” is in fact an acceptance of this very truth. The Rambam notes that we answer “Amen” even if we are not ourselves obligated in said bracha, indicating that it reflects our acknowledgment of the truth contained in this expression. If this is the case, then the intent of the individual becomes of secondary import. It is true the non-Jew does by definition not have the right intent when making the bracha. However, the cheftzah of bracha is able to emerge regardless, as it stands on its own as a declaration of truth. Therefore, according to this opinion, one should respond “Amen” when (on the off chance) he hears a non-Jew recite the bracha.

In terms of practical pesak, both positions can be found throughout the works of Rishonim and Acharonim. The Tur (OC 215) cites both opinions (his father, the Rosh, following the second line of reasoning). The Shulchan Aruch (ibid 2) only cites the issue as it relates to a kusi; however, he writes in another place (ibid, Beis Yosef) that the kusi is equated to the non-Jew, and therefore we would not answer “Amen” to his bracha. The Rema, however, writes explicitly that one should answer “Amen” to the bracha of the non-Jew.

A more contentious issue emerges in the case of answering “Amen” to the bracha of a kofer/apikoris, an individual who denies a fundamental yesod of Judaism, such as Torah from Sinai, or possesses a distorted idea of God.

He cites Rav Moshe Feinstein as stating that the words of a kofer are actually worse than the blessing recited by a non-Jew and may not be answered at all. This would apply if the (Jewish) groom were asked to recite the blessing.

R Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 2:50, as well as in other teshuvos) expands on this issue, reinforcing that one should not answer “Amen” to a bracha recited by a kofer. He writes, in referring to Conservative/Reform rabbis, that since they are denying God and his Torah, the enunciation of the name of God by them is simply words (devarim be’alma) without any intent towards God. Therefore, it does not even rise to the level of an actual bracha, lacking in shem and malchus.

You should also note that if the groom says the normal statement made at a Jewish wedding (or someone says it for him)

Behold you are sanctified to me by the laws of Moses and Israel

he is actually stating explicitly that this is not a valid wedding.

Another problem would be if the food (or the wine in this case) is not kosher. There is a dispute between the Rambam (Brachot 1,19) and the Rosh. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Haim 196,1) rules in line with the Rambam, that one does not say a bracha before or after eating non-kosher food. One should note that the dispute involves whether a Jew (for whom it is a sin) may or may not make a blessing on it.

Note that with wine, this applies even though it was not "used as a libation for idol worship" because the laws of libation also apply (by rabbinical decree) to any non-kosher wine.

Hilchos Brachos chapter 1 law 19

19 When a person eats a forbidden food - whether consciously or inadvertently - he should not recite a blessing beforehand or afterward.

What is implied? If one eats tevel - even food that is classified as tevel by Rabbinical decree, the first tithe from which terumah was not separated, or the second tithe or sanctified foods that were not redeemed in the proper manner, one should not recite a blessing. Needless to say, this applies if one ate meat from an animal that was not ritually slaughtered or was trefah or if one drank wine used as a libation for idol worship.

There is a discussion as to the reason behind this dispute which centers on whether the essential meaning of the blessing is centered on whether this is a blessing on a sin (and may even be blasphemous) or that it is valid (after the fact) because there was enjoyment of Hashem's bounty. It is possible that a non-Jew (for whom the food is permitted) would be able to make the blessing, although Jews should not answer Amen.

Bracha On Non-Kosher Food.

The Rambam writes "When a person eats a forbidden food - whether bemaizid (intentionally) or beshogeg (inadvertently) - he should not recite a blessing beforehand or afterward" (Brachot 1,19). This is also found in the Talmud Yerushalmi, where it explains that such a blessing would be "na'atz Hashem", as in Tehillim 10,3 which can be read as "the one who blesses and blasphemes Hashem". What a chutzpah to say a bracha on sinful eating!

However, both the Ra'avad and the Rosh rule that a blessing must be said before and after eating non-kosher food. The Mishna merely rules that a non-kosher meal is not considered as important enough to require a zimun on it – but in the words of the Ra'avad, "why shouldn't he say a bracha before and after eating, since he enjoyed the food?"

  • 1
    one does not say a bracha before or after eating non-kosher food. That is totally irrelevant since the OP asked about a non-Jew making the blessing. The issue of the poskim is a person making a blessing on a food that is forbidden to him.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:15
  • 2
    "Maimonides states that a person is not allowed to answer Amen if a nonJew makes a blessing and it is not considered a valid blessing." Where does Rambam say it is not a valid blessing? What does it even mean for a blessing to be "valid"? One would assume that it means that one who says it discharges his obligation. Here that is irrelevant.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    Therefore, in this case, it would seem that the blessing would not be appropriate. Why? None of what you cited has any relevance on the case at hand. All we see is that one should not make a blessing on forbidden food, and that at least in some cases, a Jew should not respond 'Amen' to the blessing of a gentile. Neither of these were the OP's question, so this does not answer the question at all.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:24
  • 1
    @mevaqesh The original question seemed to me to imply that the food was not kosher. The last sentence would be a different question. Can a non-Jew make a bracha on non-kosher food for himself, since it is permitted for him? The original question was about making the bracha for the groom. Sep 15, 2016 at 2:57
  • 1
    @mevaqesh A non-Jew providing the "marriage" of his non-Jewish daughter for a non-religious Jewish man would not be providing kosher food. Sep 15, 2016 at 9:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .