Bentch Like a Mentch
Sara Miriam Beck wrote:
I have a question. I know it is forbidden to stop in the middle of birkat hamazon [grace after meal, a.k.a. bentching] and talk to someone. Would that apply the same if I am 'talking' to someone over the computer? Many times I am eating at my computer, so I 'bentch' there. But I might be in the middle of a computer conversation (IRC) with someone when I remember that I need to 'bentch.' Do I need to stop typing in order to say Birkat Hamazon or not?
Dear Sara Miriam Beck,
Asik sdk jflp? Sloop blek kurdfurma!
OOPS! Sorry I made so many mistakes. I was talking to someone else while I was writing to you!
I'm kidding, of course. But you get the point: It's rude to write one person while talking to another. So too, it's wrong to thank Hashem for food while typing to your 'key-pal.'
During blessings and prayers your mind shouldn't wander, even to think about Torah ideas.
"If you walk with Me casually..." is the Torah's uncomplimentary description of casual, haphazard mitzva observance. Not only Birkat Hamazon, but all mitzvot should be done with full attention.
One way to help you focus during Birkat Hamazon is to read the words in a siddur, instead of rattling them off by heart.
In Yiddish, when you 'bentch' someone, you give him a blessing. In Baseball, to 'bench' someone means to take him out of the game. When you 'bentch' Hashem' after a meal, which one do you mean?
- Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 191:3
- Ibid., Mishna Berurah 5
- Leviticus 26:21