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We are commanded in the Torah to say birkat hamazon (though the obligation from the Torah requires one level of satiety while the derobonon obligation is different). This obligation is derived from Dev 8:10 which reads וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ (though in context, I wonder if the obligation should only be incumbent on people living in Israel).

But Dev 11:15 only reads, " וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ" as does Dev 6:11. Dev 8:12 also reads, "פֶּן־תֹּאכַ֖ל וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ" so the majority of times when eating to satiety appears, there is no requirement to make a bracha!

Why would there not be a commandment 3 of the 4 times when the behavior is discussed (even before the mitzvah is written down)? Is there significance to the fact that 75% of the time that that behavior is described, there is no commandment to bless?

I understand that there is an explicit commandment to bless but I might think that the fact that there are also explicit statements which choose not to demand blessing might present its own significance.

  • The Torah also mentions Shabbos many times, but kiddush only once. And shemittah many times, but shemitat kesafim once. And murder many times, but the death/exile penalty only sometimes. And many other examples. – Heshy Nov 21 '17 at 17:44
  • @Heshy I think that the original point is that most references to bentching are not phrased as commandments. That distinguishes the original point from your examples, doesn't it? Are you saying that most references to Shabbos observance are not phrased as commandments? – Chaim Nov 21 '17 at 18:19
  • @Chaim Most references to Shabbos observance are not phrased as commandments to make kiddush (or now that I think about it, to stay in the techum). They are commandments to not do work. – Heshy Nov 21 '17 at 18:29
  • @Heshy So that's different. Right? The original point is that most references are not commandments at all. – Chaim Nov 21 '17 at 18:38
  • Are there any other verses where you see this? You say that there are 4, but you only cited 3. – DanF Nov 21 '17 at 20:38
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I don't agree with your analogy to Dev. 8:12 as that is in the negative. Using your logic, that verse would imply "Lest you eat and satiate yourself and therefore WOULDN'T bless!" See the entire context of where that verse is placed. It's saying that you wouldn't thank G-d at all for all the food and houses and everything that he gave you, because you would think that it came from your own power and might. Why would it indicate any notion of blessing G-d, here?

Furthermore, the verses in question discuss forgetting G-d and straying after foreign gods; this is the same notion in chapters 6 and 11 as well. Why would they bless G-d when they are forgetting Him?

Ramba"n on Devarim 8:10 has a novel explanation. He says that the reason for Birkat Hamazon is connected to a concept mentioned several verses before that. By saying Birkat Hamazon, you will recall the Exodus from Egypt.

Therefore, in two of the "counter" verses that you mentioned (or nearby) we can understand why this idea (blessing) is omitted. In 8:14, it says "Your heart will be raised, and you will forget G-d who took you out of Egypt from the house of slavery".

Likewise, in Devarim 6:12, it says, "Watch yourself lest you forget G-d who took you out of Egypt from the house of slavery."

So, there's a consistency to Ramban's reasoning. I am uncertain about Devarim 11:15, as there is no mention of the Exodus in surrounding verses.

  • on Sefaria, the translation is "When you have eaten your fill" – rosends Nov 21 '17 at 20:04
  • @rosends Sefaria uses a looser translation. Keep reading: “When you have eaten your fill...beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the LORD your God....” Wouldn’t it be counterintuitive for the verse to discuss blessing G-d in the same context as forgetting Him? Same goes for 6:11 and 11:15 - both also discuss forgetting G-d. 8:10 is the only one of these four which doesn’t have that context. The only thing I disagree with this answer about is that it isn’t a partial answer - I think this is the entire, correct answer. – DonielF Nov 22 '17 at 0:06
  • @DonielF You're welcome to edit in extra info to support that point. I was going by my memory of just the verse that I cited. Being a Ba'al Kria, I probably SHOULD have the whole Torah memorized, but then I might not be doing Torah reading properly :-) – DanF Nov 22 '17 at 0:10
  • so then 8:12 would be intentionally omitting the reference to blessing as that omission would be an operative part of the misbehavior listed starting in 8:11 (and the answer to the question in the title would be - in this case- yes). Are there any meforshim who note the omission in 8:12 as intentional and instructional? – rosends Nov 22 '17 at 0:58
  • Similarly, is 11:15 intentionally not including blessing to lead into 16 and point to the possibility that not saying a blessing is an integral part in the turning to idolatry? Do any commentators make that connection? Same with 6:11 -- does anyone draw that conclusion? – rosends Nov 22 '17 at 1:00

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