Anecdotally, I've eaten with people before who have recited birkat hammazon to themselves quietly and who are either record-breaking speed speakers or who are using a shortened version. I suspect the latter, but cannot ask them (for reasons that are beyond the scope of this question) what it is that they said. I would just like to know how widespread is the custom of abbreviating the birkat hammazon and if it's permissible to do so under any circumstances.

This question asks for an online copy of the abbreviated text, and the PDF that Dov shared by way of an answer gives one particular version of it. I am assuming, from the author's prefacing his version by saying that he established it himself, that there is no standardised text in this regard.

  • The comments to that question contain a link to another shortened text.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 3:57
  • 3
    Shimon, it's worth considering if the people you are with we're simply skipping the Harachaman parts after the four blessings proper. Such a practice is certainly easier to justify in many circumstances (some do it even ab initio on Shabbat and holidays, or if intending to immediately return to another Mitzvah).
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 6:05
  • 2
    IMO as well as from what I have seen, most actually are speed speakers, or rather speed garblers. Fast davening and benching, sadly, has become a bad habit. I can't imagine where people are rushing to after a Shabbat meal unless they have to get to mincha. In that case, they should eat a little less.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 15:45
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22449/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 22:48
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/890/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 4:41

2 Answers 2


Let's do this scientifically:

The classic Birkat haMazon (in Nusach Ashkenaz) has about 550 words. Of these only about 280 words are actually part of the Torah and Rabbinic obligation for Grace after Meals.

The other 45% are additions - starting with הָרַחֲמָן - which are nice to say but can be skipped with impunity.

So it's possible that your speed-benchers are only saying the first half and skipping the 2nd.

Based on the Chofetz Chaim's famous 3-word per second "normal speech" baseline, one could finish the first half of benching in 90 seconds if one talks normally.

I just timed myself at under 25 seconds for speed-mumbling these 280 words.

I know people who could do better than that; but at my age I don't have the energy, nor the incentive, to improve on that.

  • 3
    Reminds me the story of a famous rabbi (R Aharon Kotler maybe?) who said he couldn't understand why people didn't have time for breakfast. "How long can breakfast take" he asked? "20 minutes? 5 minutes to eat, 15 minutes to bench - who doesn't have 20 minutes?"
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 12:18

According to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yalkut Yossef 1.198.10, one who doesn't know the Birkhat hamazon, can say a short blessing:

מי שאינו יודע לברך ברכת המזון כלל, אחד האיש ואחד האשה,יאמר לכל הפחות קיצור הברכה הראשונה בלשון ארמית בנוסח זה: ''בריך רחמנא אלהנא מלכא דעלמא, מריה דהאי פיתא, בריך רחמנא דזן לכולא''. ודוקא כשאומרים בלשון ארמית, אבל בלשון הקודש אין לקצר כלל מנוסח ברכת המזון הקבוע. אולם אם מברכים בלשון הקודש ברכה מעין שלש במקום ברכת המזון, בדיעבד יוצאים ידי חובה. ומכל מקום לכתחלה לא יברכו ברכה מעין שלש במקום ברכת המזון

So even though this is for someone who doesn't know how to say the full thing, it's possible that they are using it for that reason.

  • I suspect that most people who don't know the whole bentching also don't speak Aramaic, in which case they're probably not yotzei with this text.
    – Heshy
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 11:24
  • @Heshy also they are unlikely to know this text..
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 13:04
  • 1
    @Heshy As long as they know the translation, they should be fine. In any case, I know that this is the text we teach small children in Chabad chinuch... It's in the front of the Chabad siddur
    – ezra
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 13:40
  • I'm just quoting and giving a possible answer to the OP
    – aBochur
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 13:52
  • See Yalkut Yosef 188:2 he disapproves of using the shortened text even for women
    – MDjava
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 2:11

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