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Can you tell me the blessings we recite on different foods?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Index: 
Food made of flour from wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats: 1-2.
Wine/grape juice: 3.
Fruit: 4.
Vegetables: 5.
Everything else: 6.
 


1. Before eating bread, Challah or Matzah we say:1

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Hamotzee lechem meen ha-aretz.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.]

The Grace After Meals is recited at the conclusion of the meal. (Click here for an online translation, transliteration or Hebrew/English PDF).


2. Before eating a food (other than bread) which was made of wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats - such as cake, cookies, crackers, pasta or cereal - we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bo-ray mee-nay me-zoh-not.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates various kinds of foods.]

Afterwards we recite the "Abridged" Grace After Meals; a.k.a. the "Al Hamichiya." (Click here for online translation or Hebrew/English PDF (blessing on p. 96))


3. Before drinking wine or grape-juice we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bo-ray pe-ree ha-ga-fehn.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.]

Afterwards we recite a slightly different version of the "Abridged" Grace After Meals; a.k.a. the Al Hagefen. (See above links).



4. Before eating fruit of a tree we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Boray pe-ree ha-etz.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

Afterwards we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Boray ne-fah-shot rah-bot ve-chet-roh-nahan al kohl mah she-ba-ra-ta le-hacha-yoht ba-hehn ne-fesh kal chai. Baruch chay ha-oh-la-meem.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Creator of numerous living beings and their needs, for all the things you have created with which to sustain the soul of every living being. Blessed is He who is the Life of the worlds.]

This after-blessing is for all fruit aside for grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Since the Torah praises the Land of Israel with these fruits (Deuteronomy 8:8), we recite for them a special after-blessing--yet another version of the "Abridged" Grace After Meals, a.k.a. the Al Haperot. (See above links).


5. Before eating vegetables we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Boray pe-ree ha-ada-mah.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.]

The after-blessing for vegetables is the same as the after-blessing for fruit.


6. Before eating all other foods or drinks - e.g. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, water, juices, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks - we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, She-ha-kol nee-hi-yah bee-de-varo.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, by whose word all things came to be.]

The after-blessing is the same as for fruit and vegetables.


It is also important to note the chronology of the above blessings enabling us to recite them in the proper order during a meal that is composed of several food/drink types (in a meal with bread, only the Hamotzee is recited, and Hagafen if wine is drunk during the meal other than for Kiddush). For exmaple, in a meal with steak, pasta, veggies, and wine, one should recite the blessings in the following order: say first Mezonot (blessing #2) taste some of the pasta, followed by Hagafen (#3) taking a sip of wine, followed by Ha'adamah (#5) with a bite of vegetables, and last Shehakol (#6) on the meat.


[Ed. note: Also read "Which blessing is recited on food containing more than one 'Halachic food group?" and "What is the Al Hamichyah prayer?" and "What is Grace after meals?" ]

Footnotes

  • 1. When we recite this blessing over a piece of bread/Matzah at a meal it covers all the other food/drink we will eat during that meal, with the exception of wine/grape juice and dessert.

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Matzah
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Grace After Meals
Biblically mandated prayer, consisting of four blessings, recited after eating more than an ounce of bread.
Kiddush
Prayer recited at the beginning of the Sabbath or Holiday meal--both the evening and afternoon meals. This prayer, acknowledging the sanctity of the day, is recited over a cup of wine or grape juice.
Challah
A loaf of bread. Usually refers to: 1) The section of dough separated and given to the priest (today that section is burnt). 2) The sweetened, soft bread customarily consumed at the Sabbath meals.
Deuteronomy
The fifth of the Five Books of Moses. This book is a record of the monologue which Moses spoke to the Israelites in the five weeks prior to his passing.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.