For the week ending 8 September 2012 / 20 Elul 5772

Berachot 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • After-blessings on grain, on rice and on dates
  • Blessing on various dishes made from grain
  • Blessing on medicine
  • Exact text of blessing on bread
  • Blessing on cooked vegetables
  • Size of an olive
  • Priority in blessing on variety of breads and in tithing onions
  • How to "break bread" with its blessing
  • Interruption between blessing on bread and eating
  • Feeding your animal before yourself
  • Tips on cleanliness and nutrition
  • Particularity in blessings and the all-inclusive one
  • Components of a blessing
  • Priority in blessings on fruits
  • Blessing on fruits and on wine in a meal of bread
  • Blessings on fragrances and on fruit trees in blossom
  • Proper behavior for a Torah scholar

A Very Special Blessing

The after-blessing on food which is probably the one most frequently said is called Borei Nefashot. It is a short blessing we make after enjoying any food which is not one of the seven species listed in the Torah as being a source of praise for Eretz Yisrael, and on any drink except wine.

What does this blessing consist of that qualifies it to serve as our recognition for such a wide range of Heavenly kindness?

After the usual beginning of all blessings in which we pay homage to G-d as the source of all blessings and sovereign of the universe, we declare that "He created many souls and all their needs." This refers to the basic necessities of life such as bread and water. We then continue with words of appreciation "for all You have created". This refers to all the things we could survive without and were created simply for our pleasure.

This explanation of this very special blessing provided by Tosefot demonstrates how the Sages formulated the blessings we say to serve as educational experiences in addition to expressions of our indebtedness to our Creator. Just as we make a blessing before partaking of the necessities and luxuries which are Heavenly property until we express our dependence on G-d, so too must we express our appreciation of Heavenly bounty after enjoying it.

  • Berachot 37a

What the Sages Say

"Take a look at how different is the way of G-d from that of man. Man can only fill an empty vessel, not a full one, whereas in receiving Torah from G-d only a full vessel (a man who has once made an effort to learn) has the ability to become even fuller."

Rabbi Zeira

  • Berachot 40a

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