I generally eat s'uda sh'lishis between mincha and maariv, and have been reciting Grace after Meals at night, after maariv. One who does so (and says havdala in the amida of maariv) does not recite the Shabbos addition, "R'tze", in Grace after Meals. My question is whether there's any reason to say Grace after Meals specifically before maariv (and thus say "R'tze").

This question is relevant to me, and so I asked my local rabbi. He said he thinks I should say Grace after Meals before maariv. This, even though he knew that doing so would take a few minutes from my pre-maariv Torah study with a study partner. However, he did not explain his reasoning.

  • Citation needed for my second sentence.
    – msh210
    Feb 18, 2017 at 22:45
  • My rav (at shalosh seudos in shul) benches with a minyan before maariv and says rtzei. He says that this is the halacha. Since this is from memory, I am leaving it a comment. Feb 19, 2017 at 0:41
  • @sabbahillel, he says that what is the halacha? That bentsching before maariv necessitates "R'tze"? I wasn't doubting that. Or that one should bentsch before maariv?
    – msh210
    Feb 19, 2017 at 6:08
  • @msh210 If I understand correctly, both. That is, one should bentsch first and if one has not yet davened maariv, then bentsch with ryzei. If Sunday is Rosh Chodesh then bentsch with rtzei not yaaleh veyavo. There are those who say differently. Feb 19, 2017 at 12:09

3 Answers 3


One possibility could be O Ch 184 (1) which says that a person should say grace before he moves from where he ate.

מִי שֶׁאוֹכֵל בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד, צָרִיךְ לְבָרֵךְ קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעֲקֹר מִמְּקוֹמוֹ.

MB [1] says that from one corner to another in a large house is still alright even if you cannot see your original place from where you say grace.

א) קודם שיעקור - ומפינה לפינה אפילו הבית גדול מותר ואפילו כשאין רואה מקומו הראשון

You probably know this and because you are eating and learning in the shul or associated rooms allow yourself this exception.

Could it be that your Rav sees the expression of the Shulchan Oruch as being the ideal situation (not to move) whereas even from one corner to another is somehow not ideal.

  • Thanks. As it happens, I do pray within a few feet of and within sight of where I ate, but I didn't mention that to the rabbi and you may be correct. Even though my question was more general, about whether there's reason to bentsch before maariv irrespective of location, have a +1, since shinuy makom is an issue that often will come up in situations like that described in my question.
    – msh210
    Feb 19, 2017 at 13:55

The simplest way to approach this is to find if there is an opinion that requires you to say Retze even after praying, such that ruling otherwise is taking a leniency which could have been avoided by saying grace earlier.

In the similar case of a Purim meal which lasted past dark, the Magen Avraham (OC 695 sk 9) quotes the opinions regarding Shabbat that after praying Maariv one no longer mentions the previous day, but also notes an opinion that says you would still say Al HaNisim in grace even after praying Maariv. Accordingly he recommends saying grace before praying to avoid the issue (and this is cited in the Mishna Berura there). So at first glance the same would apply in your case.

However, Har HaCarmel (OC 7) writes that Maariv after Shabbat is different because it contains Havdala and actively contradicts the day of Shabbat, whereas Maariv on 15 Adar doesn't contain anything that actively contradicts Purim. Moreover, he notes that Al HaNissim in grace on 15 Adar isn't such a contradiction anyway since 15 Adar is also related to Purim (cf. Taz OC 693 sk 3). The Arukh haShulchan (OC 695:11) writes that the opinion the Magen Avraham found to recite Al HaNisim after Maariv was referring to a case where Maariv was prayed early such that the grace is still being said before sundown [this isn't very convincing because Purim is before the vernal equinox -- AA]. According to these opinions, there might not be an opinion that requires Retze even after Maariv on Saturday night.

Even if you conclude that no opinion requires Retze after Maariv practically, I think a reasonable argument could be made to avoid the situation from the Magen Avraham (OC 188 sk 17) who writes about not saying Retze after Maariv:

ואף על גב דלפי הטעם דאזלינן בתר התחלת הסעודה א"כ אפילו צלי ערבית ה"ל להזכיר צ"ל משום דמחזי כסתרי אהדדי וכמ"ש סוף סימן ל' וא"כ אפילו התפלל מבע"י אינו מזכיר
Even though based on the rule to follow the start of the meal you would have to mention [Retze] even after praying, we must say [to explain why we don't] that it looks like a contradiction...so we don't say [Retze]

From his language it sounds like there's a desire to have been able to say Retze were you not stuck having to avoid a contradiction.

Finally, perhaps we can be concerned that you will forget the Havdala insertion in Maariv and then you'd have to decide if Retze is still a contradiction to your weekday Amida which didn't explicitly end Shabbat (similar to the Har HaCarmel's discussion by Purim). To preempt this question it may be worth trying to say grace first.

How far out of the way to go to be careful about this is a question for your local rabbi.

  • From the MA, it seems that one wouldn't say retze after having prayed maariv early (מבע"י). So, even if it's still Shabbat, we wouldn't say retze? Isn't that also a contradiction?
    – magicker72
    May 16, 2017 at 16:07
  • @magicker72 I wouldn't say it's a contradiction as much as being bizarre, but saying Havdala on Shabbat afternoon is also bizarre and permitted judaism.stackexchange.com/a/57268/759
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2017 at 16:36
  • I agree it's bizarre. You're suggesting that a "contradiction" between two things that you do is an honest contradiction (praying and saying birkat hamazon), whereas a "contradiction" between something you do and something that is (havdalah and Shabbat, or lack of retze and Shabbat) is just "bizarre"?
    – magicker72
    May 16, 2017 at 16:38
  • @magicker72 I'm not sure I follow your distinction's categories, but I think simply omitting Retze is not actively declaring it to be a weekday.
    – Double AA
    May 16, 2017 at 16:40
  • sefaria.org/…
    – Double AA
    Aug 24, 2023 at 18:38

The Gemara discusses largely in Arvei Pesachim (tractate Pesachim 100–106) the problems of Havdalah at Seuda Shelishit, and the problem of leaving without bentsching. In Chullin 86b–87a, it discusses whether or not it's an interruption to leave in the middle of a meal to pray.

I shall separate your question into several sub-questions:

  1. When you come back from Maariv to bentsch where you ate, do you need to say Retzei? In other words, is it not contradictory to say Retzei after Ata Chonantanu and an entire weekday prayer?
  2. If we decide to answer to Question 1 that you cannot say Retzei, is there a reason to make all your possible to say Retzei?
  3. Is it allowed to leave the meal place without bentsching, l'chatchila, if you plan to continue the meal later? The same question may be asked if you clearly decided to finish yet the meal.
  4. When you leave to go pray, were there some people who stayed at the table and kept eating?
  5. Must you immediately make Havdalah, either via Maariv or on a cup or both, at nightfall?

  1. Bentsching for a Shabbat meal on Motza'ei Shabbat. The Gemara (Berachot 27b) discusses about praying of Shabbat on Erev Shabbat or of Motza'ei Shabbat on Shabbat. In Pesachim 105b, we see that we need delay the end of Shabbat as late as possible, to show that Shabbat is not a burden to us. We can conclude that we need to continue to keep all the laws of Shabbat and to say Retzei, even if we bentsch after nightfall. Orach Chaim 188:10 says that the reason to say Retzei is because the meal time is determined by when the meal started, not when it ended. See Magen Avraham at s"k 17, who says that despite that, after Maariv, he cannot say Retzei because it's a self contradiction to pray the weekday Maariv and then the Shabbat bentsching. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 271:6 discusses whether the starting time or the ending time is the criterion. A nafka mina is that, if he already eat before Shabbat, and Shabbat entered before that, he had the time to bentsch (he already washed mayim achronim or said "hav lan venivrich"). He needs to bench on a first cup and then make Kiddush on a second cup. Concerning adding Retzei to the bentsching, the Shulchan Aruch reports this doubt. In Beit Yosef there, this question is reported in the name of the Rosh in a sugya in Pesachim. Is Retzei a duty linked to the blessing momentum, or to the eating momentum? The Rosh says that, e.g. the prayer of tashlumin of Shabbat Mincha made on Motza'ei Shabbat needs to be a weekday prayer. The Beit Yosef concludes according to the Orchot Chaim who that the starting time is the criterion. If he wants to continue the meal, this is another broad issue in the rishonim, not linked directly to other question.

  2. To leave the place of eating before bentsching. In Pesachim 101b, there are some examples in which it seems you may leave the meal with the intent to return and resume later. According to the Rashbam there, a special reason is needed to leave before bentsching, e.g. to eat elsewhere or mehirut Chatan and Kallah.

  3. Permission to leave without bentsching there is found only when they plan to return and resume eating (Rashi s.v. "keshehen yots'in"). It seems from the sugya that, if you don't plan to resume eating, it's forbidden to leave before bentsching. Even if you do plan to continue eating, you must make Havdalah on a cup before continuing (Pesachim 105a).

  4. If you prayed Maariv without changing your place (as you said in a comment). The first Tosafos in Chullin 87a reports two opinions about prayer in mid-meal. The first opinion, in the name of Rabbeinu Yom Tov, is that blessing or praying are interruptions, since one cannot pray and eat simultaneously. The second opinion is that an additional necessary condition is needed to create an interruption the interrupting act should be the end of something. (¹)

Is the pre-Maariv Torah study a sufficient reason to delay bentsching until after Maariv? I don't know what to think.

From the example of the Rabbeinu Yom Tov, we can perhaps see that he was allowing prayer before bentsching.

(¹): This part of the question is very well illustrated by the Chiddushei Ha'Rashba:

משתא וברוכי בהדי הדדי לא אפשר: יש מרבותינו הצרפתים ז"ל שהיה מוכיח מכאן דפעמים שאדם נזכר בתוך סעודתו שעדיין לא התפלל ומתפלל בתוך סעודתו, טעון ברכה למפרע, ואחר כך נוטל ידיו ובוצע, משום דמיכלי וצלויי בהדי הדדי לא אפשר, וכדאמרינן הכא דמשתי וברוכי בהדי הדדי לא אפשר. וזו דעת רבינו אלפסי ז"ל בפסחים בערבי פסחים גבי ארבע כוסות, והרב בעל התוס' ז"ל כתב דלא דמו כלל, דברכת המזון הוא דחשוב הפסק וכן כיסוי אי לאו טעמא דאפשר למשחט וכסוי בהדי הדדי משום דהני גמר מעשה נינהו, אבל תפילה לא הוי גמר והפסק דאטו מי שברך על הזיקים ועל הזועות בתוך סעודתו או אפילו בורא פרי הגפן מי חשבינן ליה הפסק וחוזר ומברך המוציא משום דמיכל וברוכי בהדי הדדי לא אפשר, ובהדיא אמרינן התם בפרק ערבי פסחים (קב, א) עקרו רגליהם לילך לבית הכנסת והניחו שם מקצת חברי' כשהן חוזרין אינן טעונין ברכה למפרע ולא לכתחילה, ואף על פי שמסתמא התפללו בנתים, וזו היא דעת רבי זרחיה ז"ל שם בפרק ערבי פסחים, וזה נ"ל עיקר, ויש עוד ראיות אחרות.‏

There was a French rabbi who was giving a proof from tractate Chullin which says that blessing is an interruption regarding meals, because blessing and eating together is impossible. The rule is as follows: If someone was eating and remembers that hasn't yet prayed, and he prays in mid-meal, after praying he must say the berachah achronah {in Tosafos too, bentsching is explicitly addressed but not in the Rosh there, and in Tur Orach Chaim 178. This is linked to another disagreement between the Rif and the Baal Ha'maor regarding two motsi for one bentsching.} and then wash his hands and bless Ha'motzi a second time on the bread.

The Rema on Orach Chaim 178:2 said that, for a mitzvah, it's okay to leave without bentsching, e.g. to go pray. See Biur Halacha there. Also see Beit Yosef, which compares the din of Tefila to the lecture (Maggid) interposed between the first and second cups of wine at the seder.

--> To bentsh before praying Maariv without changing locations. From the Rema, if it is a mitzvah overet, i.e. the only minyan is here and now, --> Not necessarily,

For a mitsva lo overet --> Yes, this is an obligation.


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