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I have been by a couple Sepharadi households for Shabbat and when it was time for Birkat HaMazon the head of the household alone would read the entire thing outloud noting they would have everyone at the meal in mind, rather than everyone reading themselves.

What is the Halacha surrounding this? Does it strictly apply to Sephardi posek? Thank you.

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This is known as a Zimmun and occurs when a group (subject to various details) eats bread together. When there is a Zimmun, the leader recites the entire Birkat HaMazon aloud on the group's behalf and everyone else listens with the intent to fulfill their obligation and replies Amen at the relevant places.

If one is unsure of his ability to pay attention to the leader the whole time (this is common), he should recite in an undertone along with the leader but be careful to get a few words ahead of the leader at points where an Amen should be said in order that the listener can still respond Amen to the leader. (Shulchan Aruch OC 183:7)

  • And I am one of the only people I know who actually bother to say the entire thing out loud when I am asked to lead (and therefore I hate being asked to lead). +1 – Y     e     z Jan 9 '18 at 1:29
  • @Yez I say it all aloud as well. With a niggun. So we're in the same boat... – ezra Jan 9 '18 at 6:06
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    "this is common" is an understatement and would imo be better edited to "this is by far the most common occurrence". – msh210 Jan 9 '18 at 8:09
  • @msh I don't know that I agree. – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 14:28
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    @Yez Even if you think I'm bring a bit extreme (which I tend to agree with), know there are serious opinions that you have to do the silent listening till at least Hazan Et HaKol for Ashkenazim (to count as a Zimmun). That is no less doable than listening to Kiddush Friday night and in home settings at least can certainly be implemented, with mumbling along commencing with 'Nodeh'. – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 19:11

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