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

This is relevant to me and thus I asked my local rabbi. He said he thinks I should say birkas hamazon 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 Gemara addresses largely in arve pesachim (100 - 106) the problems of havdala at seuda shelishit, the problem of going out without Birkat. In Chulin 86b - 87a the question of the prayer in the middle of a meal if it is an interruption or not.

I want to separate the question in several sub questions.

  1. One thing is clear for me, this question: When you come back from maariv to make the bentsh at the meal place you need to say retse? In other words it not contradictory to say retse after ata chonantanu and a whole prayer of yom chol? We have a first clear question.
  2. If we decide to answer to the first question that you cannot say retse, is there a reason to make all your possible to say retse?
  3. But before we may ask: Is it allowed to go out of the meal place without BHM lechatechilla if you want to continue the meal? The same question may be asked if you clearly decided to finish yet the meal.
  4. When you go to pray, are there some people who remained around the table and continue the meal?
  5. Are you obligated to make immediately havdala through Arvit or a cup or both when the night failed?

  1. TO BLESS FOR A MEAL OF SHABBAT ON MOTSAE SHABBAT. The Gemara in Berachot 27b discusses about praying of Shabbat on Erev Shabbat or of motsae Shabbat on Shabbat. In Pesachim 105b, we see that we need to wait for leaving the Shabbat as late as possible, to show that Shabbat is not for us a chore. We can conclude that we need to remain with all the dinim of Shabbat and to say retse even if the time in which we recit the bentsh is already motsae Shabbat. The SA OC 188, 10, says that the reason to say retse is that the meal time is determined by the starting time. See Magen Avraham sk 17, who says that despite that, after maariv he cannot say retse because of the appearance of self contradiction to pray chol and next to bentsh of Shabbat. . The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim siman 271, 6 Reports a discussion if the starting time is the criterion or the ending time. A nafka mina is if he already eat before Shabbat, and Shabbat entered before that he had the time to bless Birkat Hamazon (he already made mayim acharonim or said hav lan venivrich). He needs to bench on a first cup and next to make Kiddush on a second cup. Concerning adding retse to the bentsh, the SA reports this doubt. In Bet Yosef there, this question is reported in the name of the Rosh in sugia in Pesachim. Is retse a duty linked to the blessing momentum or to the eating momentum? The Rosh says that e. g. the prayer of tashlumim of Mincha of Shabbat made on Motsash needs to be a prayer of yom chol. The Bet Yosef concluded according to the Orchot Chayim who that the starting time is the criterion. If he wants to continue the meal, this is an other broad issue in Rishonim, not iinked directly to other question.

  2. TO LEAVE THE MEAL EMPLACEMENT BEFORE THE BENTSH. In Gemara Pesachim 101b, there are some examples from which it seems allowed to leave the meal with the intent to come back and eat again. According to the Rashbam there, a special reason is needed to leave before BHM, e. g. to eat in an other place or mehirut Chatan and Kalla.

  3. Authorization to go without bentch there is found only when they want to come back and continuing the meal (Rashi paragraph "keshehen yots'in" p). From the Suggia it seems that if you want not to continue the meal, to leave before Birkat Hamazon is prohibited. Even if you want to continue the meal, you need to make havdala on a cup before continuing (Gemara Pesachim 105a).

  4. If you prayed Maariv without changing place (as you write in comment). The first Tosfot in masechet Chulin 87a reports two opinions concerning Tefila at the middle of a meal. The first, in name of Rabenu Yom Tov, is that blessing or praying makes an interruption, because one can not pray and eat together, the second opinion is that an additional necessary condition is needed to make an interruption the interrupting act should be the end of something. (¹)

Is the premaariv Torah studying a sufficient reason to push the BHM after Arvit? I don't no what to think.

From the example of the Rabbi Yom Tov, we can perhaps see that he was allowing to pray before BHM.

(¹): This part of the question is very well illustrated by the Chiddushe Harashba:

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 is a French Rabbi who was giving a proof from the Gemara in Chulin which says that blessing is an interruption regarding meals, because blessing and eating together is impossible. The rule is the following: If someone was eating and suddenly recalls that he yet did not praying, and he prays at the middle of the meal, after the Tefila he have to bless beracha acharona {in Tosfot too, B.H.M. is explicitly addressed but not in Rosh there, and in Tur OC 178. This is linked to an other Machloket between Rif and Baal Hamaor regarding two motsi for one B.H.M.} and next to wash the hands and bless hamotsi a second time on the bread.

The RMA OC 178, 2 said that for a Mitsva it is allowed to leave without BHM, e. g. to go to pray. See Beur Halacha there and see Bet Yosef which compares the din of Tefila to the lecture of the Haggada between first and second cup of lel haseder. .

--> To bentsh before praying maariv without shinui makom. From the Rama if it is a mitsva overet, e. g. the only minyan is here and now, - - > Not necessarily,

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


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

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