Is a person allowed to answer amen to a prayer or blessing of a gentile? I would assume you can unless the prayer specifically of an idolatrous nature. For example in Christianity saying grace before eating or the Lord's Prayer neither of which refer in any explicit way to Jesus. I would furthermore assume it is permitted to answer amen to the phrase allahu akbar (God is the greatest) as Rabbi Froman himself uttered this phrase in an effort to make peace.

Note: I am asking about a non-Jewish prayer only


1 Answer 1


The impression from Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 215:2 would seem to be that one can answer amen only provided that the normative formula of the blessing remains unchanged:

אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הַמְבָרֵךְ אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס אוֹ כּוּתִי אוֹ תִּינוֹק, אוֹ הָיָה גָּדוֹל וְשִׁנָּה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ הַבְּרָכוֹת, אֵין עוֹנִין אַחֲרָיו אָמֵן. הַגָּה: וְעוֹנִין אָמֵן אַחַר עַכּוּ''ם, אִם שָׁמַע כָּל הַבְּרָכָה מִפִּיו (הר''י פֶּרֶק אֵלּוּ דְּבָרִים).

But if the one making the blessing is a heretic or a Samaritan or a child, or he is of age but changed the formula of the blessings, one does not answer amen after him. Ramo: And we answer amen after a gentile provided the entire blessing was heard.(RI ch. Elu Devarim).

The Ramo's ruling regarding the blessing of a gentile is interpreted by the Be'er Hetev citing the Magen Avraham as limited to scenarios where the gentile is not an idolator.

The Shulchan Aruch's ruling is based on a Mishna Berakhoth 51b:

ועונין אמן אחר ישראל המברך ואין עונין אמן אחר כותי המברך עד שישמע כל הברכה כולה:

And one answers amen after a Jew who recites a blessing (even if he did not hear the entire blessing), and one does not answer amen after a Samaritan [Kuti] who recites a blessing until he hears the whole blessing in its entirety, (as perhaps the Kuti introduced an element inconsistent with the Jewish faith in that section of the blessing that he did not hear).

It does not make a difference in which language Birkat hamazon is said in any language not only Hebrew.

Sotah 32a

אלו נאמרין בכל לשון פרשת סוטה ווידוי מעשר קרית שמע ותפלה וברכת המזון וושבועת העדות זושבועת הפיקדון.

These can be said in all languages etc.. Grace after meals

Also there is no set text needed Bdieved (i.e If one said grace without mentioning Malchus-His Kingship then one has fulfilled his obligation to bless G-d, though not ideally)

Brachot 40b

כרך ריפתא ואמר בריך מריה דהאי פיתא אמר רב יצא והאמר רב כל ברכה שאין בה הזכרת השם אינה ברכה דאמר בריך רחמנא מריה דהאי פיתא והא בעינן שלש ברכות מאי דיצא דקאמר רב נמי יצא ידי ברכה ראשונה מאי קמשמע לן אע"ג דאמרה בלשון חול
... Bircat hamozon (Grace) if said (in short form) "Blessed be the L-rd of this bread" he has fulfilled the first Brocho (Blessing) even in a profane (shortened) language.

  • My understanding is that Cuttim are in an "interim" category - part Jews part not. I don't think one can infer laws of Aku"m from Kutim.
    – DanF
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:59
  • 1
    please see the edit to the question. I am not asking about a non-Jew making a Jewish blessing, but rather a non-Jewish blessing/prayer. Dec 29, 2017 at 17:46
  • +1 @rikitikitembo loewian is right Sotah 32aאלו נאמרין בכל לשון אפרשת סוטה בווידוי מעשר גקרית שמע דותפלה הוברכת המזון וושבועת העדות זושבועת הפיקדון. Grace can be done in English and is equivalent to saying it in hebrew
    – user15464
    Mar 29, 2018 at 20:32
  • @user15464 Birkat Hamazon is not equivalent to the non-Jewish version of 'grace' Mar 30, 2018 at 2:12
  • @rikitikitembo if even for them saying a Jewish blessing we have to hear the whole thing to make sure they didn't change anything, then it seems to me that if they make a non-Jewish blessing -- by definition, a change from any b'racha that might have applied -- then we wouldn't say amen because of the change. Maybe Loewian knows of sources that make that argument (or would like to make it himself)? Mar 30, 2018 at 14:42

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