Philosophical question regarding the nature of Brachat in Judaism.

The Torah is very clear that you shouldn't say Brachat in thanks for certain acts. The acts being those which fall outside of what a Jew is supposed to be doing.

Example: Saying a Bracha over a plate of bacon would be considered an insult.

My question is regarding the philosophical aspect of prayer and being thankful to Hashem for the pleasures of life. Could a person theoretically say a Bracha over a forbidden action if they were thanking Hashem for the same experience of bliss disconnected independently of the forbidden act?

Hypothetical Situation:

While Kosher wine and non-Kosher wine are two different things, they produce the same biological effect of bliss on the system. Getting drunk on a California Pinot Noir isn't biologically different from being drunk on a bottle of Golen Height's best.

A Jew is drinking non-Kosher wine. (a forbidden act) They don't say the Bracha before drinking the wine because they know it to be forbidden. After drinking the wine and feeling the bliss of the alcohol, the Jew says a freestyle Bracha thanking Hashem for the pleasures of life.

If the person is reciting the Bracha in thanks for the biological pleasure independent of the context of the act, could the Bracha be considered valid within a philosophical distinction? Because the Bracha is not identifying a sinful act but identifying the general concept of pleasure in life, does that circumvent a philosophical conflict in saying a Brachat after certain acts?

If the pleasure acquired between drinking Kosher vs Non-Kosher wine is biologically equivalent, could you theoretically be valid since the pleasure you're thankful for in experiencing is valid in a different context?

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Oruch Orach Chaim 196 (1) expressly forbids a blessing before and after eating a forbidden item.

אָכַל דְּבַר אִסוּר, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ אָסוּר אֶלָּא מִדְּרַבָּנָן, אֵין מְזַמְּנִין עָלָיו וְאֵין מְבָרְכִין עָלָיו לֹא בִּתְחִלָּה וְלֹא בַּסוֹף.

If one ate a forbidden item (even it is forbidden only by the sages), one cannot make Zimun on it or say a blessing on it, neither before or after it.

The Mishnah Brurah on the words, ולא בסוף writes

ולא בסוף - ואפילו אם אכל כדי שביעה ואם אכל בשוגג ונזכר אחר אכילתו דעת הט"ז ועוד כמה אחרונים דבזה יוכל לברך בסוף [והיינו אפילו לא אכל כדי שביעה] דבזה לא שייך נאוץ אלא דלענין זימון אפילו בשוגג אין לזמן ע"ז דאכילת איסור לא חשיבא קביעות. אם גנב או גזל חטים וטחנן ואפאן י"א שאע"פ שקנאן בשינוי והרי הם שלו אלא שחייב לשלם לו דמים עבורם מ"מ אסור לברך ע"ז בין ברכה ראשונה ובין בהמ"ז דלענין ברכה דאית בה הזכרת השם חמיר טפי ותמיד הוא בכלל נאוץ וי"א דהואיל וקנה יכול לברך ודעת המ"א דלענין בהמ"ז אם אכל כדי שביעה יש להורות בזה שיברך בהמ"ז דהוא דאורייתא ויש להחמיר ולברך:

-even if he ate to satisfaction (he may not make a blessing afterwards – even though with a permitted food this would require a blessing from Torah law).

And if he ate in error and realised afterwards, the Taz and other latter authorities allow him to make a blessing afterwards [even if he had not eaten to satisfaction] because this does not constitute “blaspheming” (see note 1) but as far as the Invitation (Zimun) to Grace after meals, even if he ate the forbidden food in error, he may not say the Zimun …

(There are two opinions on whether he may make blessings on bread made from stolen wheat.)

In your case, the person drinking the wine knows it to be forbidden. An after-blessing is not allowed. From this it would seem that a blessing on the bodily pleasure is not allowed.

In the case where the product was consumed in error, the person can make an after-blessing. From this is would seem that a blessing on the bodily pleasure is allowed.

So permission to make an after-blessing depends on whether the act was premeditated or the result of error.

There is certainly no permission to make a blessing on the results of a forbidden act in all circumstances.

Note 1

Psalms 10 (3) says

For the wicked man boasts about the desire of his soul, and the robber congratulates himself for having blasphemed the Lord. ג כִּי הִלֵּל רָשָׁע עַל תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ וּבֹצֵעַ בֵּרֵךְ נִאֵץ ה:

is used to show that making a blessing on a forbidden item is like blasphemy.

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