(O) Siman 182-201: Laws of Birkat Hamazon

          Siman 182 Seifim 7

1. Some maintain that birkas hamazon requires a kos even when one recites birkas hamazon by himself and one must obtain a kos. One may not eat if he does not have a kos but anticipates that he may have a kos later even though this means that the time for eating will pass. Accordingly, if two people are eating together each one requires a separate kos for birkas hamazon. According to some a kos is required only when three people eat together and yet according to others a kos is not required even when three people eat together. The preferred way to recite birkas hamazon is with a kos.

2.The contents of the kos for birkas hamazon must be wine rather than other beverages even if one used other beverages during the meal. If wine is not available in that place and beer or other beverages, other than water, that are chamar medinah are available one should recite the beracha upon them. The custom in these countries to use beer does not warrant protest since there are opinions that maintain that a kos is not required altogether. Additionally, the primary beverage that qualifies as chamar medinah is beer since people use that during the meal. Although wine is available in the city it is not considered available for this purpose since it is expensive and one cannot purchase wine for each meal. It is, however, preferred to recite the beracha on wine. Some are particular when reciting birkas hamazon by themselves with wine not to hold the kos in their hand; rather it rests on the table in front of them and this custom is correct according to Kabbalah.

3. The wine may not be pagum for drinking from the wine renders it pagum but if one poured some wine into one’s hand or utensil he has not damaged the wine. Even if one drank from a pitcher or small barrel it is pagum but if he drank from a large wooden barrel he has not damaged the wine. Some maintain that water that is pagum may not be used to dilute the wine that is used as a kos shel beracha.

4. If the kosot of those eating are pagum one must pour from the kos shel beracha into them. There is an opinion that maintains that this is unnecessary (See later siman 190 and 271).

5. If one pours pagum wine back into the container the wine in the container is not pagum since each drop that is poured in becomes nullified.

6. One can rectify a kos pagum by pouring additional wine into the kos. Even adding water rectifies the wine.

7. In a pressing circumstance one may recite the beracha on a kos pagum.

           Siman 183 Seifim 12

1. The kos shel beracha should be washed inside and rinsed on the outside. If it is clean and does not have food remnants it need not be washed and rinsed.

2. One should pour wine into the kos without diluting it. When one reaches the beracha ofברכת הארץ  one should add water to demonstrate praise of the land of Israel. Some maintain that if the wine is not strong it is unnecessary to dilute it and this is the custom in our countries. The wine should be removed from the barrel for the sake of the beracha. It seems that since we do not have an abundance of wine it is sufficient to pour the wine from the bottle for the sake of the beracha and it is not necessary to pour from the barrel for the beracha. This is the custom in our countries. The kos shel beracha should be filled so that it overflows over the sides.

3. One should try and obtain a complete cup.

4. One should take the kos with two hands and when he starts to recite the beracha he should hold it in his right hand without the assistance of his left hand. He should make sure that his left hand does not touch the kos but it is acceptable if he places his left hand under his right hand to support it. One should lift the cup off the ground a tefach if he is sitting on the ground and if he is reclining by a table he should lift it off the table a tefach. He should look into the cup so that he does not become distracted. For this reason one should not use a narrow cup calledגלוק גלא”ז  for the beracha. One should send it to his wife so that she could drink from it.

5. There is an opinion that maintains that if the one reciting the beracha is a lefty he should hold the cup in his right hand which is everyone else’s left.

6. Once one is handed the cup for the beracha the one reciting the beracha may not speak. Those sitting there should not speak once the one reciting the beracha begins. One must be silent not only when he is reciting the beracha one must listen and understand what is being recited; rather even between berachos one may not speak. If they violated this halacha and spoke between berachos when the one reciting the beracha paused they still discharge their obligation. (this is true even if the one reciting the beracha spoke). If one spoke while he was reciting the beracha one does not discharge his obligation.

7. It is appropriate if each one of the people present recites each beracha including the conclusion with the one leading birkas hamazon. One should finish the beracha ahead of the one leading birkas hamazon so that he could answer אמן as above in siman 59. One should only give the kos shel beracha to one who is generous.

8. Concerning the question of the permissibility to wish others well out of fear or honor there is an opinion that maintains that the halacha is the same as shemone esrei.

9. One must sit while he recites birkas hamazon. Regardless of whether one was walking in his house as he ate, or was standing or reclining when he is ready to recite birkas hamazon he must sit in order to have proper intent. He should not recline since that is indicative of haughtiness; rather one should sit with awe. It appears to me that this requirement is not limited to the one reciting birkas hamazon; rather even those assembled may not sit a lightheaded manner, they must sit with awe. However, if one did not do this and recited birkas hamazon while walking he has fulfilled his obligation.

10. Some maintain that even al hamichya must be recited while sitting.

11. If one was walking and eating he does not need to sit to recite the beracha since his mind will not be settled.

12. It is prohibited to recite birkas hamazon while engaged in another activity.

            Siman 184 Seifim 6

1. Someone who ate must recite birkas hamazon before le leaves that location (See above siman 178). If one left his place intentionally without reciting birkas hamazon he must go back to where he ate but if he recited birkas hamazon where he realized he has fulfilled his obligation. This is true according to Rambam but according to Rosh who maintains that even one who left unintentionally must return to where he ate, one who left intentionally does not fulfill his obligation in the second location even b’dieved. If one left unintentionally according to Rambam he should recite birkas hamazon where he realized and according to Rabbeinu Yonah and Rosh he should return to where he ate.

2. This halacha is true if one does not have any more bread but if one has additional bread he should eat some in the second location and then recite birkas hamazon there. This should be followed assuming one is not hungry from his original eating.

3. Some opinions maintain that one must recite the beracha acharona where one ate for all of the seven species. Some authorities contend that this halacha is limited to one who eats grains. (See above siman 178:5).

4. If one ate and does not recall whether he recited birkas hamazon or not he must recite birkas hamazon since it is a matter of doubt that relates to a Biblical command.

5. Until when may one recite birkas hamazon? Until the food has digested. How does one measure this? The food is not digested if he is not hungry as a result of his eating. Once he feels hungry even though he did not fully digest the food it is treated as though he has fully digested his food. The parameters apply to one who ate fruit or drank wine. If he is not hungry or thirsty for those fruit he may recite birkas hamazon if he does not know if it was digested.

6. The quantity one must eat to be obligated to recite birkas hamazon is an olive’s volume.

            Siman 185 Seifim 5

1. Birkas hamazon may be recited in any lanuguage.

2. One must hear what he is reciting but if he does not hear he has fulfilled his obligation as long as he articulated the words.

3. There is an opinion that maintains that when a ba’al habayis is with his children and wife he must recite birkas hamazon out loud so that they could discharge their obligation with his recitation.

4. Even if one is so drunk that he cannot talk properly he may recite birkas hamazon.

5.If one recited birkas hamazon and it turns out there was human waste present or if one was drunk (meaning completely) Tosafos and Rosh are uncertain whether one is required to repeat birkas hamazon. If there was urine it is obvious that he need not repeat birkas hamazon.

           Siman 186 Seifim 2

1. Women are obligated to recite birkas hamazon but it is uncertain whether they are Biblically obligated and may recite birkas hamazon for men or whether they are Rabbinically obligated and may only discharge the obligation of others that are Rabbinically obligated. (See below siman 199 regarding a women’s zimun)

2. Children are Rabbinically obligated to recite birkas hamazon for chinuch. The case of a son reciting birkas hamazon refers to a case father who was not full so that his obligation is only Rabbinic.

           Siman 187 Seifim 4

1. Some say ברוך משביע לרעבים  but it should not be recited and one who adds ultimately detracts. If in place of birkas hazan one said: בריך רחמנא מלכא מאריה דהאי פיתא  he has fulfilled his obligation. Some maintain that he must conclude: בריך רחמנא דזן כולא.

2. In the beracha about the land Rosh maintains that one should not say: שהנחלת לאבותינו ארץ חמדה וכו’ ברית ותורהsince one will say: על בריתך שחתמת בבשרנו ועל תורתך שלמדתנוand one reference is sufficient. Rambam disagrees. (Rosh’s words are primary.)

3. If one did mention bris and Torah in the beracha, and even if one left out one of those topics he must go back. Women and slaves do not mention bris and Torah since women do not have the mitzvah of bris and slaves are not obligated to study Torah.

4. If one did not mention the Davidic kingdom in the beracha ofבונה ירושלים  he must go back. על הנסים  on Purim and Chanukah is recited before the paragraph of ועל הכל . If one did not recite it he is not required to go back, see below siman 682. Nevertheless, one could say it in the הרחמן section with the following words: הרחמן הוא יעשה לנו נסים כמו שעשה בימים ההם וכו’ and this is the custom.

           Siman 188 Seifim 10

1. After the completion of the beracha ofבונה ירושלים   one answers אמן to his own beracha since that is the completion of the Biblical berachos being that the beracha of דהטוב והמטיב  is not Biblical.

2. This אמן should be said quietly so that others should not realize that the beracha is not Biblical and consequently disparage it. This is true if one is reciting birkas hamazon for himself and no one is answering אמן to his berachos but when one is part of a zimun one should answer אמן as he answers אמן to the other berachos of birkas hamazon. Even though the one reciting the beracha is also answering אמן this will not be so recognizable since others are answering אמן with him. The custom in these countries is to answer אמן out loud even the one leading the zimun and perhaps it is for the above mentioned reason.

3. In the third beracha one must mention Dovid’s kingdom and one should not mention any other kingdom. One who says: ומלכות בית דוד משיחך has erred since it is not proper to equate an earthly king with the Heavenly King. Similarly, one should not say אבינו מלכנו. Some maintain that when reciting יעלה ויבא  he should not conclude with the words מלך חנון ורחום ; rather he should skip the wordמלך . Although the logic is compelling I have not seen people conduct themselves this way.

4.The nussach of this beracha begins with the words רחם ה’ אלהינו  or נחמנו ה’ אלהינו  and concludes בונה ירושלים   or מנחם ציון בבנין ירושלים and one should not switch the nussach from Shabbos to the week. On Shabbos and during the week one should recite the same nussach. Some maintain that one should sayבונה ברחמיו ירושלים  and this is our custom.

5. On Shabbos one adds רצה and on Rosh Chodesh and Chol HaMoed one adds יעלה ויבא. If one of these days coincides with Shabbos one recites רצה and then יעלה ויבא. Shabbos is not mentioned in יעלה ויבא nor is Yom Tov, Chol HaMoed or Rosh Chodesh mentioned in רצה.

6. If one erred and did not mention Shabbos he should say: ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם שנתן שבתות למנוחה לעמו ישראל באהבה לאות ולברית ברוך אתה ה’ מקדש השבת. If one erred and did not mention Yom Tov he should say: ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם אשר נתן ימים טובים לישראל לששון ולשמחה את יום חג פלוני הזה ברוך אתה ה’ מקדש ישראל והזמנים. If Yom Tov coincides with Shabbos one should say: שנתן שבתות למנוחה לעמו ישראל באהבה לאות ולברית וימים טובים לששון ולשמחה את יום חג פלוני הזה ברוך אתה ה’ מקדש השבת וישראל והזמנים . All of these berachos should include Hashem’s Name and reference to His Kingdom. It is only sufficient to use one of these berachos if one realizes his error before he begins the beracha of הטוב והמטיב but if one does not realize until after he began הטוב והמטיב he must go back to the beginning of birkas hamazon.

7. If one erred and did not mention Rosh Chodesh whether during the day or at night he should say: ברוך שנתן ראשי חדשים לעמו ישראל לזכרון without a concluding beracha. This applies if he realizes before he begins the beracha of הטוב והמטיב but if he does not realize until after he began הטוב והמטיב he does not go back since he is not obligated to eat bread in a quantity that requires birkas hamazon. Chol HaMoed is similar to Rosh Chodesh. It is possible that it should be mentioned in the  הרחמן section as was explained concerning על הנסים  at the end of siman 187; however, there may be a distinction being that יעלה ויבא includes Hashem’s Name which may not be said for no reason. This appears correct to me and this is the custom. When Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos and one mentioned Shabbos but not Rosh Chodesh and did not realize until he began הטוב והמטיב  he does not go back. If he also forgot to mention Shabbos and realized before he began הטוב והמטיב  he should include Rosh Chodesh with Shabbos and should say:  שנתן שבתות למנוחה וראשי חדשים לזכרון but if he began הטוב והמטיב he starts birkas hamazon again and mentions Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh. There is an opinion that maintains that one who forget to mention Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh and realized before he began הטוב והמטיב should say: שנתן שבתות למנוחה וראשי חדשים לזכרון  and he should conclude by mentioning Shabbos but not Rosh Chodesh.

8. The third meal on Shabbos is halachically the same as Rosh Chodesh.

9. If three people ate together on Shabbos or Yom Tov and they forgot to mention the event of the day and have to restart birkas hamazon from the beginning they should each recite birkas hamazon by himself since they fulfilled their obligation to have a zimun.

10. If one was eating and Shabbos left, one must still mention Shabbos in birkas hamazon since we follow the beginning of the meal. The same is true for Rosh Chodesh, Purim and Chanukah.

           Siman 189 Seif 2

1. In the 4th beracha one does not say תתברך  nor refer to Hashem with the term  החי except in a mourner’s house. One must mention Hashem’s Kingdom three times by saying: ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם האל אבינו מלכנו כו’ המלך הטוב. One should also mention Hashem’s goodness three times:  הוא הטיב לנו הוא מטיב לנו הוא ייטיב לנוand Hashem’s benevolence three times: הוא גמלנו הוא גומלנו הוא יגמלנו.

2. In a mourner’s house they say: ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם האל אבינו מלכנו בוראנו גואלנו קדושנו קדוש יעקב המלך החי הטוב והמטיב אל אמת דיין אמת וכו’ . (See Yoreh Deah siman 379).

           Siman 190 Seifim 5

1. After birkas hamazon one recites  בורא פרי הגפןand drinks the wine. (For the halacha if one interrupted between the beracha and tasting see below siman 271:15) After drinking others should taste the wine as well. If they all rely on one kos and the one who recited the beracha will pour from his kos into their empty kosot, they should not taste their wine until he tastes first. If they are not drinking from his kos they may taste their wine before he does. The one who recites the beracha does not have to pour them wine from his kos unless the kosot of the others is pagum. (See siman 182 and the end of 271).

2. After drinking the wine that follows birkas hamazon one should recite Al Hagefen.

3. Regarding the amount of wine one must drink to be obligated to recite a beracha acharona is subject to debate. The question is whether an olive’s volume is sufficient or a revi’is. Therefore, one should be careful to drink less than an olive’s volume or a revi’is so that he should avoid a circumstance of doubt. In this case one may not drink less than an olive’s volume since any beracha that requires a kos mandates drinking “cheekfulls” which is the majority of a revi’is, therefore one should drink a full revi’is.

4. If the one who recited the beracha does not want to drink the wine another participant at the meal may drink the required quantity of wine but the drinking of two people does not combine for this purpose. It is preferred if all of the people taste the wine (See below siman 271:14).

5. When it is a large meal and people do not know how many people will be able to drink from the kos each person that is uncertain whether he will drink some wine must recite בורא פרי הגפן if the kos reaches him. (See above Rema siman 174:5.)

           Siman 191 Seifim 3

1. Employees doing work for their employer shorten birkas hamazon so that they should not miss working for their employer. How do they do this? They recite the first beracha as usual, the second beracha should begin withברכת הארץ , include בונה ירושלים   and conclude with ברכת הארץ . The beracha of hatov hameitiv is not recited altogether. This applies if they are paid money in additional to eating a meal but if their only salary is the meal that they eat, they recite all four berachos as usual. Similarly, if their employer eats with them they recite all four berachos even if their only salary is the meal.

2. Nowadays all employees recite all four berachos since it is not common for people to be particular about this and it is assumed that when the employee was hired it was with the understanding that he would recite all four berachos.

3. One may not engage in any activity while reciting birkas hamazon (this was also mentioned above at the end of siman 183).

          Siman 192 Seifim 2

1. When three people eat together they are obligated to form a zimun. One of them says: נברך שאכלנו משלו. The others respond: ברוך שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו and then the leader says: ברוך שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם הזן את העולם וכו’ . If there are four people the leader may say: ברכו שאכלנו משלו but it is preferred to say:  נברךso that one does not exclude himself from the group. If there are ten people participating Hashem’s Name should be mentioned and he should say: נברך אלהינו וכו’ and they should respond ברוך אלהינו וכו’ . One should not say נברך לאלהינו  with a ל“. This formula is used whether there are 10, 100, 1000 or 10,000. Anyone who deviates from this nusach, e.g. one says: נברך על המזון שאכלנו or למי שאכלנו משלו  or in place of ובטובו one says מטובו or in place of חיינו one says חיים he is an ignoramus. When there are ten people, since they will mention the name of Hashem they may say: נברך אלהינו על המזון שאכלנו משלו .

2. When there are ten people and the one leading birkas hamazon as well as the others did not add Hashem’s Name they may not go back but if the others did not yet respond the leader may go back and mention Hashem’s Name.

            Siman 193 Seifim 6

1. When two people eat together, even though one may recite the beracha of hamotzi for the other, it is a mitzvah for each one to recite birkas hamazon for himself. This is true when both of them know how to recite birkas hamazon. If one knows and the other doesn’t the one who knows how should recite the beracha and the other will fulfill his obligation assuming he understands lashon kodesh but doesn’t know how to recite birkas hamazon. He must listen to each word that is recited. The one reciting the beracha must have in mind to discharge his friend’s obligation. If he does not understand he does not fulfill his obligation by listening. When three people eat together they may not separate and when two people eat together it is a mitzvah for them to search for a third to join their zimun. When four or five people eat together they may not separate since they are all obligated to make a zimuun. When the group is comprised of six they may separate since each group will make its own zimun and this is true until the group reaches ten. Once the group contains between ten and twenty people they may not separate until there are twenty since they will mention Hashem’s Name and then each group could divide if they want. It seems to me that even when there are six they are not obligated to separate; it is just that they may separate if they choose. It is a mitzvah to search for ten people but when there are many people eating together and will not be able to hear birkas hazimun from the leader and cannot separate into groups of ten since this will require them to recite birkas hamazon out loud and the ba’al habayis will be angry, they may separate into groups of three and recite birkas hamazon quietly so that the ba’al habayis should not hear. This is preferred over not fulfilling their obligation of birkas hazimun since they will not be able to hear the leader.

2. Even if they did not originally gather to eat together and only two people began eating and later a third person joined them or if one person was eating and was later joined by others they may not separate once they have combined by the end of the meal. However, if one eats with them without joining their meal they may separate unless that person is the waiter. Even in circumstances in which it is permitted to separate it is nevertheless preferred to make a zimun because “in the multitudes of the nation is the glory of the King.”

3. If they were riding and announced that they would all eat they may form a zimun even though each person ate his own loaf and did not descend from his animals since they were all in a single place. If they ate as the animals were walking they do not form a zimun. If they ate in a field spread out they do not form a zimun even though they ate at the same time and from the same loaf, since they did not establish a place where they would eat. The custom is not to make a zimun in the house of a gentile. It appears to me that the reason is that they do not establish themselves in the gentile’s house out of fear of the gentile and it is as though they did not settle permanently. For these reasons they did not establish themselves and each one should recite the beracha for himself. One should not deviate from this custom even if the reasons are not sufficient, nevertheless, since this is the custom it is considered as though they did not establish themselves.

4. If three people ate together and recited hamotzi they may not separate even if each person ate from his own loaf and even if they did not yet eat an olive’s volume of bread.

5. Regarding three people that joined together that came from three different groups which each had three people in it, if they were part of a zimun in their original group, for example, each one of them interrupted for the other two until they said הזן they may not form a new zimun even if they eat together and finish their respective meals. If they did not already participate in a zimun they are obligated to form a zimun and may not separate, even if they did not eat together once they formed this group.

6. If there were three groups and each one was comprised of four members and a member of each group joined together in a new group and the remaining members of each group recited the zimun, the obligation on the remaining three dissipates since their friends already recited their zimun. The same halacha is true if each group originally had three members and a member of each group joined to form a new group. Later a new person joined each of the original three groups and they recited the zimun together the obligation to recite a zimun has dissipated for these three in the new group since their friend’s have already recited the zimun even though they themselves did not recite the zimun. If there are three groups that ate and each group contained three members it is prohibited for each one to separate and form a new group to recite the zimun since the two remaining from each group will not be able to recite the zimun. If, however, each group was comprised of four people it is permitted for a member of each group to separate and form a zimun together and the remaining member of each zimun will form their own zimun.

          Siman 194 Seifim 3

1. If three people ate together and they forgot and each one recited birkas hamazon by himself they are no longer obligated to recite birkas hazimun and may not go back to recite birkas hazimun. The same is true if two of them recited birkas hazimun. However, if one of them forgot and recited birkas hamazon the remaining two may form a zimun with the third. Even though he already recited birkas hamazon he may respond ברוך שאכלנו משלו  . They will fulfill their obligation to recite the zimun but he will not fulfill his obligation since there is no retroactive zimun. If one of the three participated in a zimun with others, the two remaining people may not form a zimun.

2. If three people ate together and one of them went out to the market they should call to inform him that they want to make a zimun so that he will pay attention and combine with them by answering to the zimun. They fulfill their obligation even though he doesn’t come to sit with them. This applies for three people but when there are ten they may not combine unless the tenth is physically with them since they will mention Hashem’s Name (See below siman 200 for when the zimun is completed).

3. If three people ate together and none of them knows all of birkas hamazon, rather one knows the first beracha and another knows the second beracha and the third knows the third, they are obligated to form a zimun and each one will recite the beracha that he knows. The fact that they will not be able to recite the fourth beracha is not important. They may not recite half-berachos. In other words, if one knows  onlonly half a beracha it may not be recited since a beracha cannot be divided into two halves.

           Siman 195 Seifim 3

1. Two groups that are eating in the same house or in two houses, and some members of one group can see members of the other group, they may combine for a zimun but if not, they may not combine. If a waiter is serving both groups he combines them. These halachos imply that they gathered with the intent to combine. There is an opinion that maintains that if a public domain separates the two houses they may not combine in any circumstance.

2. If some people ate in the house and others ate outside of the house but the one leading birkas hamazon sits at the threshold of the house, he combines them.

3. Whenever two groups combine the members of both groups must be able to hear the one leading birkas hamazon say birkas hazimun. Each person should say the rest of birkas hamazon for himself. If they want the leader to discharge their entire obligation they must be able to hear him recite all of birkas hamazon since without that they do not fulfill their obligation.

           Siman 196 Seifim 4

1. One who ate prohibited food, even if it is only Rabbinically prohibited may not join in a zimun and one does not recite a beracha before or after eating that food.

2. If one ate a prohibited food out of danger he must recite a beracha (See below siman 204).

3. If three people eat together and one does not eat pas akum whereas another does eat pas akum or one is a kohen eating challah, although the one who does not eat pas akum will not eat the bread of the one who eats pas akum nor will the yisroel eat what the kohen eats, nevertheless, since the one who eats pas akum will eat the bread of his friend and the kohen will eat the yisroel’s bread they combine to make a zimun. If a kohen and non-kohen are eating together and the kohanim are eating challah and do not eat pas akum and the non-kohen is eating pas akum they do not combine for a zimun. The same is true for three people who took vows not to benefit from one another and they may not combine for a zimun. This is true when each person eats his own loaf but if they are eating their host’s bread they do combine.

4. A zimun cannot be made with someone who ate less than an olive’s volume.

            Siman 197 Seifim 4

1. If two people finish eating and a third person comes along, if they were to be given additional food they would be able to eat it, they combine for a zimun and they must give him food so that they could combine for a zimun. This assumes that he arrives before they declare הב לן ונברך  but if they said הב לן ונברך  and then the third person comes he does not combine. Washing mayim acharonim is comparable toהב לן ונברך  and see above siman 179.

2. If nine people ate grain and one ate an olive’s volume of vegetables they may combine to mention Hashem’s Name. Even if he only dipped food in brine or didn’t drink more than a cup that contains a revi’is of any beverage other than water they may combine. The one leading birkas hamazon should be one who ate bread. Even if seven people ate bread and three people ate vegetables they combine but if only six people ate bread they do not combine since there must be a recognizable majority.

3. One who joins must recite a beracha acharona on the food that he eats and does not fulfill his obligation by listening to the others recite birkas hamazon. The allowance to join a zimun after eating other foods is limited to joining a zimun of ten but if one wants to join a zimun of three one must eat an olive’s volume of bread. Some maintain that eating an olive’s volume of grain is sufficient even if it is not bread. Others contend that vegetables and other foods are also sufficient. Therefore, if two people eat and a third person joins them, it is best if they can convince him to eat an olive’s volume of bread but if he doesn’t want to they should not give him something to drink or any other food. If they did give him something to drink or eat they may form a zimun even though he did not eat bread.

4. Friends who ate together and some of them are full and others ate only an olive’s volume, if they all know how to recite birkas hamazon it is a mitzvah for one who is full to lead birkas hamazon and discharge the obligation of the others. If they do not know how to recite birkas hamazon the one who ate an olive’s volume may recite birkas hamazon on behalf of even the ones who are full. Some maintain that one is not Biblically obligated to recite birkas hamazon if he did not take a drink when he is thirsty for a drink. It is preferred, l’chatchila, if some drank and others did not that the one who drank should lead birkas hamazon.

          Siman 198 Seif 1

1. If three people ate together and are reciting birkas hamazon and someone who did not eat arrives, if when he arrives the one leading the zimun is saying נברך שאכלנו משלו   he should respond ברוך ומבורך שמו תמיד  . If he arrives when the others are responding ברוך שאכלנו משלו  he should respond אמן . The same is true regarding all berachos that one hears, meaning that one must answer אמן . If there are ten people he should respond ברוך אלהינו ומבורך שמו תמיד לעולם ועד. The same halacha applies if he was present when they finished eating and he did not join them with regards to his response to the leader or those responding to the leader.

            Siman 199 Seifim 11

1. The waiter who ate an olive’s volume may be included in the zimun.

2. Nowadays, Cutheans are the same as idolaters and are not included in a zimun.

3. Someone who is an absolute am ha’aretz is included in a zimun nowadays.

4. A gentile is not included in a zimun. Even a convert who was circumcised but did not immerse may not be included in a zimun. Someone who is a full fledged convert is included in a zimun and he may recite birkas hamazon including the words על שהנחלת לאבותינו.

5. An onen during the week when he is not obligated to recite birkas hamazon is not included in a zimun.

6.We do not make a zimun with women, slaves or children but they may make a zimun by themselves. A zimun comprised of women, slaves and children should not be formed due to the promiscuity of the slaves, rather women should recite birkas hamazon by themselves and slaves by themselves but they may not use Hashem’s Name.

7. Women have the option to form a zimun by themselves but when they eat with men they are obligated to answer the zimun and they fulfill their obligation by listening to the men, even though they do not understand lashon kodesh.

8. An אנדרוגינוס may form a zimun with others who have his same condition but may not join a zimun of men or women.

9. A טומטום may not participate in a zimun at all.

10. A child who has reached the age of understanding and knows to whom he recites the beracha may be included in a zimun and join to make a group of three or ten. Some maintain that a child cannot be included in a zimun until he reaches the age of thirteen and then he is assumed to be an adult who has produced two hairs. This is the custom and one should not deviate from it. Someone deaf or insane may be included in a zimun if he can concentrate and focus even though the deaf person cannot hear the beracha.

11. Someone excommunicated for a transgression is not included in a zimun.

          Siman 200 Seifim 2

1. When three people eat together one must stop eating, even against his will for the other two to answer their zimun. Even though he does not want to interrupt they can include him in their zimun regardless of whether he responds or not as long as he is present. Two people do not have to interrupt for the sake of one person. Therefore, the obligation to form a zimun does not begin until they agree to stop and recite the berachos. If they do not want to stop and he made a zimun with them he accomplished nothing. If they do not wish to stop he is not permitted to recite birkas hamazon and leave until the other two finish eating and form a zimun together since they are already obligated to form a zimun so how could one recite birkas hamazon without a zimun.

 2. One is only required to pause until they say: ברוך שאכלנו משלו וכו’ and then he may finish the meal without reciting a new beracha. Some maintain that one must pause until after the words הזן את הכל and this is the custom. If one had the intent to resume eating bread, even though he did not eat bread when he is ready to recite birkas hamazon he begins with the beracha of הזן and certainly this is true if he did eat bread.

          Siman 201 Seifim 4

1. The most prominent person leads birkas hamazon even if he shows up at the end but if he wants he may allow someone less prominent to lead. These rules apply when there is no guest but if there is a guest he should lead birkas hamazon even if the host is greater than him so that he should be able to bless the host. What is that beracha? יהי רצון שלא יבוש ולא יכלם בעל הבית הזה לא בעולם הזה ולא בעולם הבא ויצליח בכל נכסיו ויהיו נכסיו מוצלחים וקרובים לעיר ולא ישלוט שטן במעשה ידיו ואל יזדקק לפניו שום דבר חטא והרהור עון מעתה ועד עולם. If the host wants to forgo on the beracha and lead birkas hamazon by himself, he may do so. He may also ask anyone he wants to lead birkas hamazon.

2. One who is yisroel and a Torah scholar should not honor a kohen to lead birkas hamazon as if he is required to do so but if he wants to grant him permission there is no issue. If there is a kohen who is a Torah scholar there is a mitzvah to give him precedence as it says: וקדשתו which teaches that he should begin first and recite berachos first (See above siman 167:14).

3. One who is given the kos to lead birkas hamazon and refuses will have his life shortened.

4.One should make an effort to recite the beracha on the kos shel beracha.

3 Responses to (O) Siman 182-201: Laws of Birkat Hamazon

  1. kalmen goldberger says:

    if one is not saying birchat hamazon on wine
    does he have to take all wines off tables

    • Hello,

      I don’t think so although I will ask my Rabbi and will let you know on Monday Bli Neder. Thank you!

    • Hello, again sorry for the delay. One does not need to remove all wines from the table when saying Birkat HaMazon. Although it is appropriate to remove any cups that are empty. Thank you for giving life to this website!!!!

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