BLESSINGS/BRACHOT
See All Blessings
See All Blessings
To see all blessings, see Blessings & Prayers.
Introduction to Blessings (Brachot)
Introduction to Blessings/Brachot
Blessings as Thanks
We say blessings as thanks to God for the good we receive from Him; this is a form of acknowledging and expressing gratitude (hakarat ha'tov).
Having an appreciation for the physical world and the beauty and goodness in it is a means of relating to God through Creation. People can maintain a continual awareness of, and relationship with, God by saying blessings:
  • Before and after eating,
  • After waking in the morning,
  • At various types of life experiences, and
  • In many other situations.

Blessings Formulations

Some blessings begin with Baruch ata adonai only; some blessings continue with eloheinu melech ha'olam.  The shorter blessings come at the end of long (compound) blessings.

ReasonThere is no mention of malchut at the end of a blessing.

How To Say Blessings

When saying blessings or prayers, it is generally best to say the words of the blessing or prayer out loud since doing so can help you to concentrate on what is being said. (The main exception is the amida prayer.)
Normally, you should stand while saying blessings before doing a mitzva, unless the mitzva is done while seated (in which case you sit when saying the blessing).
REASON So there is no delay between saying the blessing and doing the mitzva.
NOTE Although there is not necessarily any need to stand while doing mitzvot, many mitzvot are done while standing due to the nature of the mitzva or for convenience.
If you find you have made an error in saying a blessing or prayer, you may correct your error without having to repeat any previous parts if you do so within 2.5 seconds of having made the error.
Note Blessings (brachot) and Prayers (tefilot) are in separate sections in this website, even though prayers have blessings within them.
Blessings: Categories
Three Main Categories of Blessings
There are three main categories of blessings:
  1. Enjoyment (birchot nehenin), such as on foods and scents.
  2. Praise and Thanks to God (shevach v'hoda'a), such as when saying she'hecheyanu, on seeing mountains and the sea, or when good happens to us.
  3. Commandments/Mitzvot (birchot mitzva), such as reading the Torah, using the lulav, or lighting Shabbat candles.
Blessings: General Rules
Blessings: Doubt (Safek) Whether You Said
If Doubt Whether You Said a Blessing (except for Birkat HaMazon)
If you are not sure if you said ANY blessing in ANY category, don't repeat it.
Exceptions
  • Birkat ha'mazon.
  • You may also include the first blessing over reading the Torah (Asher bachar banu mi'kol ha'amim.)
Even the blessing for mezonot is not an exception. 
Reason The only blessing commanded in the Torah is birkat ha'mazon (some say also the blessings on the Torah); all others are from Chazal.
 
If Doubt Whether You Said Birkat HaMazon
Say birkat ha'mazon if:
  • You are not certain that you said birkat ha'mazon, and
  • You were satiated from your meal.
Note You are considered to be “satiated” after eating food if you no longer have an appetite.
If Doubt Whether You Said Blessings on Torah Study
If you are not certain that you have said any of the morning blessings on studying Torah (from la'asok b'divrei Torah to notein haTorah), you should not say them later.  But when you say “ahava raba” before the morning shema, you may intend it to cover such blessings; then after the amida, you should say some Torah verses (psukim).
Blessings: Saying for Someone Else
Blessings: For Someone Else: Mitzva/Birchot Mitzva
You may say any blessing on a mitzva—such as kiddush, hallel, Torah—for another person, even if you have already fulfilled the mitzva for yourself, as long as that other person is required to do that mitzva.
Example Girls (12 years old and more) and women must fulfill all of the positive commandments of Shabbat including kiddush.  So even after they have already said kiddush for themselves, they may say kiddush for other Jews, including adult men.
Exception You may not say birkat ha'mazon for someone else.
Blessings: For Someone Else: Pleasure/Birchot Nehenin and Praise-Thanks/Shevach V'Hoda'a
You may say these blessings for someone else only if you also need to say the blessing for yourself:
  • Blessings for Enjoyment (“birchot nehenin”—such as for food or drink), and
  • Blessings of Praise and Thanks (shevach v'hoda'a--such as on rainbows or seeing large mountains)
Blessings: Answering Amen
Blessings: Answering Amen: What To Hear
When someone is saying a blessing on your behalf, you may say amen as long as you have heard at least:
  • The first six words of the blessing; and
  • At least a few words of substance in the middle of the blessing; and
  • The complete final line.
Example For the al ha'michya blessing, you must hear:
  • The first six words,
  • Al ha'michya, and
  • The final blessing line.

Blessings: Correcting a Mistaken Blessing
Correcting a Mistaken Blessing
If you make a mistake when saying any blessing or in any prayer, you may correct it within 2.5 seconds by simply saying the correct blessing. 
Note If you did not correct the blessing within 2.5 seconds, see next halacha:
Retracting a Blessing after Third or Fourth Word
If you start an incorrect blessing:
  • If you have said the third word (God's name), say
    lamdeini chukecha.
  • If you have already said the third syllable of the fourth word (elohei…), say
    Yisrael avinu mei'olam v'ad olam.
  • If you said more than the third syllable of the fourth word, say
    Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
Blessings: How Many To Say
100 Blessings on Weekdays
Try to say 100 blessings a day.  This is easy on weekdays since Ashkenazim say about 89 blessings just in the prayer services.
NoteSaying 100 blessings each day is a halacha drabanan.
100 Blessings on Shabbat and Jewish Festivals
On Shabbat and some Jewish festivals, you might want to fulfill some of the quota for making 100 blessings by:
  • Eating extra fruit or other foods,
  • Hearing and saying amen to the blessings over the:
    • Torah reading,
    • Reader's repetition of the amida for shacharit and musaf, and
    • Haftara by the maftir.
 
Blessings: Types
Blessings: Morning (Birchot HaShachar)
Morning Blessings (Birchot HaShachar)
In the morning blessings, say she'asa li kol tzarki even if you are not wearing shoes (even on Tish'a B'Av morning).
Blessings: Food
Blessings: Food: General Rules
Food When No One Will Bless
Food When No One Will Bless: Feeding
You should feed a poor Jew, even if he or she won't say a blessing on the food.  If a Jew is not poor, you should not give him or her food unless he or she (or someone else--it could be yourself) says a blessing on it for him/her.
Note If someone else says the blessing for the poor person, the person saying the blessing must also eat some of that food.
Food When No One Will Bless: Selling
You may sell food to Jews even if they will not make a blessing over it (you may of course sell to non-Jews since they are not required to say a blessing on it!).
Food Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): General Rules
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Priorities
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Priorities
You must say the blessing which was designed to be said on each type of food. B'diavad, a lower level blessing will still cover the food.
From lowest to highest level, here are the food fore-blessings:
  • She'hakol,
  • Borei pri ha'adama,
  • Borei pri ha'eitz (on common fruits),
  • Borei pri ha'eitz (on the Five Special Fruits)
Note You will only say borei pri ha'eitz ONCE to include both common fruits and also special fruits that you will eat at one sitting,
  • Borei minei mezonot,
  • Borei pri ha'gafen, and
  • Ha'motzi lechem min ha'aretz.

Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Which Level To Say
In general, say the highest-level fore-blessing (bracha rishona) on a food.
Note As some foods get processed by cooking or by other means, they qualify for a higher-level blessing.
Examples
  • Raw, rolled oats only merit the fore-blessing of she'hakol. But once the oats are cooked, the blessing of borei minei mezonot applies. 
    Note Raw oats could get the fore-blessing borei pri ha'adama, since they grow directly in the earth.  But because oats are not normally considered edible when raw, they get demoted to she'hakol
  • A raw grape or raisin gets the blessing of borei pri ha'eitz.  But once made into wine or grape juice, it merits borei pri ha'gafen.
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Minimum Measurements
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Minimum Quantity
On How Much Food To Say Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
Always say one of the six fore-blessings (bracha rishona) before eating, as long as you expect to get enjoyment or benefit from whatever you ate, even when eating:
  • Less than a minimal quantity (minimal shiur), or
  • Eating a small (kolshehu) amount of food.
Examples
  • Say a fore-blessing before you taste food you are cooking.
  • Say a fore-blessing before you taste a tiny amount of honeysuckle nectar.
Exception Do not say a fore-blessing on water that you drink with medicine.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Time Limit
Until When May You Eat without a New Fore-Blessing
You may continue eating without saying a new fore-blessing--without a time limit--as long as you are not involved in some other activity that distracts you from eating (hesech da'at). 
Example
Situation You are eating and take a break to do work for your business or read a magazine article that involves your concentration.  
What To Do You may not continue eating unless you say a new fore-blessing.
Note This is true whether you became full at any time or not.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Food Categories
One Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) per Food Category
Your fore-blessing covers all other same-category foods that you will eat at the same time (same sitting), if:
  1. They are in front of you when you say the blessing, OR
  2. You intend your blessing to cover all other same-category foods that you own and will eat at the same sitting--even if they are not in front of you when you make the blessing.
    Note You do not need to state your intention out loud, just think it.  If you usually have this intention but you forgot on an occasion, you do not need to say new blessings on the subsequent foods of that type that you already own.
Examples in Your Home
  • You say she'hakol over two kinds of she'hakol foods on your table.  The blessing also covers a third she'hakol food in your refrigerator and a fourth in your pantry that you know you own.
  • You say she'hakol and are eating an omelette when a visitor brings you a gift of chocolates: you must say a new she'hakol]blessing before eating the chocolates.
    Note Anytime your spouse is serving you food, it is assumed that your initial fore-blessings will cover all food that you will eat.
Examples outside Your Home
  • Guest at Someone's Home
    Whenever you are a guest at someone else's house, it is assumed that whatever foods you will eat, will be covered by your initial fore-blessing as long as they are in the same category.
  • Attendee at Kiddush or Wedding
    If you say she'hakol over fish at a kiddush or wedding, the blessing covers all she'hakol foods in the room.
  • Diner in Restaurant
    If you have made an order in a restaurant, all ordered foods will be covered by your first fore-blessing(s). However, if you later order more food, even if the fore-blessings are the same, you must still say a new fore-blessing.
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): HaMotzi and Desserts
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): HaMotzi and Desserts
For details on HaMotzi and desserts, see Which Foods HaMotzi Covers.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Identifiable Produce
Which Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) on Identifiable Produce
Say borei pri ha'eitz or borei pri ha'adama for foods made of identifiable pieces of fruit or vegetables.
Note Even if you know the ingredients in a prepared food--such as grated apples--you must see identifiable pieces in order to say a specific blessing (borei pri ha'eitz, borei pri ha'adama...). If no ingredients are visually identifiable, you must say she'hakol (or possibly borei minei mezonot).
Example Say borei pri ha'adama on a potato kugel with coarsely ground potatoes; if the potatoes are pulverized, say she'hakol.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): When Not Thirsty
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) When Drinking To Prevent Thirst
Do not say a blessing on water that you drink before you are thirsty in order to prevent thirst later.
Fore-Blessing When Drinking To Swallow Pill
Do not say a blessing if you drink water in order to swallow pills.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Forgetting
Fore-Blessing If Forgot Whether You Said After-Blessing
Situation You ate some food and do not remember whether you had said the after-blessing. Now you want to eat or drink more food:
What To Do Depends on if what you want to eat or drink is water:
  • Not Water:
    • If the food or drink had been in front of you when you had said the blessing before, do not say it again.
    • If the food or drink was not in front of you and was also not available to you when you said the first fore-blessing, say a new fore-blessing.
  • Water (after having drunk water earlier in the same place):
    If you are not certain whether you had said the after-blessing and even if you definitely did NOT say the after blessing, do not say a new fore-blessing.
    Reason Water is always considered to be in front of you (in the water pipe).
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Incorrect Blessing
Incorrect Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) If Food Is/Is Not before You
Situation You say the incorrect blessing over food in front of you but you also have a food in front of you that does fit the blessing.
What To Do You may eat the food covered by your actual blessing, and then say the correct blessing for the food you originally intended to eat.
Note You may not go into a different room to find food that qualifies for the incorrect food blessing. You should instead say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed as soon as possible.
Note There is no specific time limit beyond which you may no longer say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Changing Location
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Changing Location
The fore-blessing (bracha rishona) must be said where you eat.  However, sometimes you may begin eating in one domain and continue eating in another domain. A domain may be any physically limited area (car, house, restaurant, office building) or the outdoors (highway, park, etc.). Once you left the first place, you are considered to have had an interruption of thought (hesech da'at) and are no longer eating that original snack or meal. 
Whether you say a new fore-blessing depends on your intention when you said the fore-blessing:
  • Do not say a new fore-blessing if you had intended to go to the second place, as long as the food at the second place is in the same food categories as what you already blessed on at the first place.
  • Say a new fore-blessing if you had not intended to continue eating in the second domain, even if you had planned to return to that first place and continue eating.
    Exception You do not need to make a new fore-blessing if:
    • You return to the first place and even one person who was eating with you is still there, OR
    • You had eaten bread or mezonot and then left but had not said the after-blessings of birkat ha'mazon or al ha'michya, even if no one is left from before.
      Reason Since you are required to say birkat ha'mazon or al ha'michya, you are still considered to be continuing your meal.
      Note As long as you are under the same roof, do not say new blessings on food at the new place (such as when switching seats or even rooms in a restaurant).
      Exception Even if you washed your hands and said ha'motzi at the first place, say a new blessing on food that would have required a new blessing at the first place, such as new wine or any dessert other than mezonot.

Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) in Vain (Bracha L'Vatala)
Making a Conditional Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona)
To avoid making a blessing in vain (bracha l'vatala), you may intend a fore-blessing to cover all other foods of that category that you will eat at the same time.
Note You may make the condition:
  • Each time you eat, or
  • Once and intend it to apply to all future instances.
Note You then do NOT say new fore-blessings on these new same-category foods.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Liquid from Foods
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Liquid from Food
When you have said a fore-blessing on one type of food, such as borei pri ha'adama on vegetables, you do not need to say she'hakol on the liquid that remains after having eaten the solid vegetables.
Reason The fore-blessing covers all components, even if they are not the same classification.
Note If you ate the vegetables, said the after-blessing, and then later came back and drank the liquid, you would need to say she'hakol.
The Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Specifics
I. HaMotzi
HaMotzi: Which Foods Get HaMotzi
HaMotzi on Bread Made of the Five Grains
Wash the One-Time Method and say ha'motzi on bread made of the Five Grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt), even if you will not eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes.
Note Say the blessing al netilat yadayim on washing hands ONLY if you will eat at least 1.9. fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread within four minutes.
Note If you eat less than 1.3 fl. oz. of bread of the Five Grains, do not say birkat ha'mazon or any other after-blessing.
Fore-Blessing: Bread-Like Foods
Fore-Blessing: Bread or Mezonot
To be halachically considered “bread,” the item must have been baked and have air holes in it. To determine whether a food made of the Five Grains qualifies as bread (ha'motzi) or mezonot (borei minei mezonot), decide whether the food had been made to be eaten as a meal or as a snack.  If it was made to be:
  • Bread (that is, for a meal), say ha'motzi.
  • Mezonot (but you will eat a full meal), say ha'motzi.
  • A snack, say borei minei mezonot.
Note Some foods may qualify as either ha'motzi or mezonot (such as pizza).
NoteIf at least 20% of a bread's flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of ha'motzi on the bread (and birkat ha'mazon afterward, if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. within four minutes).
NoteWhether the bread/mezonot was made with fruit juice instead of water may not affect its blessing, since the blessing is determined by its intended use. Mezonot rolls on airline flights may still require the blessing of ha'motzi if you eat them as part of a meal.
Note Since it does not have air holes, wheat tortillas get the blessing of mezonot and not ha'motzi.
NOTE The fore-blessing on stuffing made of bread or a bread kugel is mezonot if none of the pieces are 1 fl. oz. or larger.
Fore-Blessing: Small Amount of Pizza/Other Bread-Like Mezonot
Situation You will eat less than 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of pizza or other bread-like mezonot) within four minutes.
What To Do Wash your hands using the One-Time Method, but do not say al netilat yadayim. Then say borei minei mezonot.
Fore-Blessing: Sprouted Wheat Bread
For the fore-blessing on sprouted wheat bread, say:
  • Ha'motzi if the grains are more like wheat grains than sprouts.
    Note If the sprout still has any part of the original grain, excluding the husk, it is still considered to be grain and the fore-blessing is ha'motzi.
  • She'hakol if the grains were sprouted in water without soil.
Fore-Blessing: Bread/Cakes of Only Rice Flour
Bread or cakes made of only rice flour may not be used for any meal requiring eating bread and saying birkat ha'mazon.  The blessing is borei minei mezonot, not ha'motzi.
Fore-Blessing: Bread/Cakes of Rice Flour and Mezonot Flour
In a bread containing rice flour, if at least 20% of the flour is from one of the Five Grains, say the fore-blessing of ha'motzi (after-blessing: birkat ha'mazon).
In a cake containing mostly rice flour, if at least 20% of the flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of borei minei mezonot (after-blessing: al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Unbaked Dough
For the fore-blessing on cooked (but unbaked) dough, see Fore-Blessing: Cooked Dough/Pasta.
Fore-Blessing: Bulgur Wheat/Tabouli
The fore-blessing on bulgur wheat (such as tabouli) is borei minei mezonot.
HaMotzi: Which Foods HaMotzi Covers
Which Foods HaMotzi Covers
Ha'motzi always covers all food eaten as part of a meal, except wine and any non-mezonot desserts such as fruit, on all days (not just on Shabbat or Jewish festivals).
Desserts that HaMotzi Does Not Cover
Non-mezonot dessert foods (which often have a sweet taste) are not normally eaten with bread. Say fore-blessings on desserts at a meal (for which you have already said ha'motzi and eaten bread) only on:
  • Fruit from “trees”(borei pri ha'eitz),
  • Fruit from the ground (borei pri ha'adama), such as melons and strawberries, and
  • Specialty items (she'hakol), such as ice cream.
HaMotzi: Washing Hands
HaMotzi: Washing Hands: When To Wash
Before eating bread, you must always wash your hands.
Note If you do not plan to eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread within four minutes, wash but do not say the blessing al netilat yadayim.
HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Finding Water
To find water for washing hands before eating bread:
  • You must travel or walk up to 18 minutes away to find water.
  • If you are already traveling, you must continue up to 72 minutes (in the direction in which you are going anyway) to find water.
  • If you still cannot find water, cover your hands with any type of separation (gloves, sheet of plastic, bag, foil, or some other object) to keep your hands from directly contacting the bread.
 
HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Finding 4 fl. oz. Container
Situation You do not have a washing cup of at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) and you need to wash hands after sleeping or before eating bread.
Status You may not substitute a smaller washing container (such as a 2 fl. oz./59 ml cup) and use it twice. 
What To Do You must travel up to 18 minutes away to get such a container when needed.
Note If you have a spigot that is less than 12 inches above the ground, you may open the spigot and let at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) flow out, close the tap, reopen it, and repeat.
HaMotzi: Washing Hands: Procedure
To wash for ha'motzi, use the One-Time Method, see How To Wash Hands the One-Time Method.
           
HaMotzi: Being Touched by Unwashed Hands
Situation Someone who has not yet washed touches your hand after you have washed your hands, said al netilat yadayim, and dried your hands.
Status
  • If his/her hand is dry, there is no problem of transferring impurity.
  • If his/her hand is wet, this may have transferred ritual impurity to your hand.
What To Do
  • If his/her hand is wet, touch a normally covered part of your body and then rewash your hands and say the blessing on washing hands.
    Note If you have already said ha'motzi, don't repeat the ha'motzi blessing.
HaMotzi: Speaking after Washing
Situation You washed your hands in order to eat bread. You spoke before saying hamotzi.
What To Do You do not need to wash your hands again.
You do not need to say the blessing on washing hands again.
HaMotzi: Forgot To Wash
Situation You said ha'motzi without having washed your hands first.
What To Do Up until the time you say birkat ha'mazon, you must interrupt your meal and wash your hands. 
Note Say al netilat yadayim ONLY if you will still eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of bread afterward; if you will eat less than 1.9 fl. oz., wash without a blessing.
HaMotzi: Lifting the Bread
HaMotzi: When To Lift the Bread
When saying ha'motzi, lift the bread when saying God's name. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
HaMotzi: Interrupted Meal/Hesech Da'at
Washing Your Hands for Interrupted Meal
Situation You said ha'motzi, ate any amount of bread, interrupted your meal and forgot about it, and now wish to resume your meal and eat more bread.
What To Do Wash your hands again and say the blessing on washing hands.
Note There is no time limit for this; whenever you forget about the meal, you must rewash before eating more bread. However, you do not say ha'motzi if it is within the allowed time to say birkat ha'mazon.
HaMotzi: Shabbat
HaMotzi: Shabbat
For HaMotzi on Shabbat, see Shabbat: Two Loaves (Lechem Mishneh).
II. Borei Minei Mezonot
Borei Minei Mezonot: General Rules
Introduction to Borei Minei Mezonot
Say the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot on non-bread foods if:
Borei Minei Mezonot: Which Grains
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Non-Five Grains: In Whole or In Part
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Non-Five Grains: In Whole or In Part
Say the fore-blessing borei pri ha'adama (not borei minei mezonot) on cooked or baked foods:
  • If the Five Grains make up less than 20% of the food's flour volume, OR
  • If made of non-Five Grains, such as corn, millet, or quinoa.
Note Rice is an exception; see next entry.
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Non-Five Grains: Rice
Rice (including rice bread and rice pasta) gets the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot, but not the after-blessing of al ha'michya (after-blessing: borei nefashot), even if you ate an entire meal of rice.
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Non-Five Grains: Tortillas
For corn tortillas (most tortillas are corn tortillas), say the fore-blessing she'hakol (after-blessing: borei nefashot).
For wheat tortillas, say the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot (after-blessing: al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Non-Five Grains: Mezonot/Non-Mezonot Combinations
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Mezonot/Non-Mezonot Combinations: Ice Cream Cone
The fore-blessing for ice cream cones depends on which part you prefer to eat:
Situation 1 You like the ice cream more than the cone and would eat it without the cone.
What To Do Say the fore-blessing of she'hakol.
Note She'hakol covers the cone.
After-blessing
  • Borei nefashot if you eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup--including cone, if you eat the cone) within four minutes.
  • No blessing if you eat less than 1.3 fl. oz. in four minutes.
Situation 2 You like the cone and the ice cream equally.
What To Do Say borei minei mezonot (this will cover the ice cream).
After-blessing
  • Al ha' michya if you eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup of ice cream plus cone) within four minutes. 
  • No blessing if you eat less than 1.3 fl. oz. in four minutes.
Situation 3 The cone is sweet and you ALSO like the ice cream as much as the cone.
What To Do
  • Say she'hakol on the ice cream.
  • When you get to the cone, add borei minei mezonot.
After-blessing
  • Borei nefashot.
  • Also say al ha'michya if the cone totaled at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) and you ate it within four minutes.
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Mezonot/Non-Mezonot Combinations: Pie
Normally, for a pie say:
Fore-Blessing
Fore-blessing of borei minei mezonot, even if it contains less than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of flour. 
After-Blessing
To say the after-blessing, al ha'michya, you must eat a total volume of at least 1.3 fl. oz.--even if the flour was a minority of the ingredients. 
            However, if you prefer the filling to the crust (if you would not eat the crust by itself), say the appropriate fore-blessing over the filling, such as:
  • She'hakol (after-blessing: borei nefashot), or
  • Borei pri ha'eitz (after-blessing if on more than 1.3 fl. oz. of the Five Special Fruits--figs, dates, grapes, or pomegranates:  al ha'eitz.
Fore-Blessing: Which Grains: Mezonot/Non-Mezonot Combinations: Turkey with Bread Stuffing
Situation You will eat bread stuffing with turkey. The bread stuffing has at least one chunk of bread at least 1.3 fl. oz. in volume.
What To Do Wash and say ha'motzi. If you eat at least 1.3 fl oz of the stuffing, say birkat ha'mazon afterward.
Situation You will eat bread stuffing with turkey. There is NOT at least one chunk of bread at least 1.3 fl. oz. in volume.
What To Do Do not wash and say ha'motzi, and do not say birkat ha'mazon (unless you eat enough to constitute a full meal). However, if you enjoy the stuffing as much as the turkey or will eat some stuffing by itself, say borei minei mezonot.
Borei Minei Mezonot: Which Cooking Methods
Fore-Blessing: Cooked Dough
Fore-Blessing: Cooked Dough/Pasta
Bread must be baked in order to say ha'motzi on it ; dough that was cooked by any method other than baking (such as pasta) gets the fore-blessing of borei minei mezonot
Note Even if you eat enough to constitute a meal, you still say al ha'michya afterward.
Fore-Blessing: Fried Bread Batter
Fore-Blessing: French Toast
See Bread/Mezonot: Mixtures with Other Foods.
Fore-Blessing: Raw or Cooked Grains
Fore-Blessing: Raw or Cooked Grains: Porridge/Oatmeal
If oatmeal is porridge, say borei minei mezonot (after-blessing, al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Raw or Cooked Grains: Rolled Oats/Muesli
If rolled oats are eaten without cooking (such as in raw muesli), say borei pri ha'adama (after-blessing, borei nefashot).
Fore-Blessing: Raw or Cooked Grains: Granola
On granola, since it is cooked (baked), say borei minei mezonot (after-blessing, al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Raw or Cooked Grains: Granola Bars
On granola bars, say borei minei mezonot (after-blessing, al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Cake Batter
Fore-Blessing: Raw Cake Batter
Before eating raw cake batter, say she'hakol (after-blessing: borei nefashot).
Borei Minei Mezonot: Intended as Meal or Snack
Fore-Blessing: Bread-Like Crackers
Fore-blessing for Ryvita and other bread-like crackers :
  • Ha'motzi if they are normally eaten as a meal —even if you eat only a small amount.  The after-blessing is birkat ha'mazon as long as you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes.
    Note If you ate less than 1.3 fl. oz. or took more than 4 minutes, do not say any after-blessing.
  • Borei minei mezonot if normally eaten as a snack (after-blessing: al ha'michya) .
Situation Crackers are normally eaten as a snack, but YOU eat it as part of a meal.
What To Do Say ha'motzi (after-blessing, birkat ha'mazon).
Fore-Blessing: Bread Sticks
Bread sticks are intended to be eaten as a snack, so say borei minei mezonot and not ha'motzi (after-blessing, al ha'michya).
Fore-Blessing: Crackers
Over crackers, say the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot (after-blessing, al ha'michya).
III. Borei Pri HaGafen
Borei Pri HaGafen: Which Foods
Borei Pri HaGafen: What It Covers
When To Say Borei Pri HaGafen
Say borei pri ha'gafen on wine or grape juice, whether at a meal with bread or not.
Borei Pri HaGafen: Mixed Drinks
Borei Pri HaGafen: Mixed Drinks: Wine/Grape Juice Mixed with Water
Say borei pri ha'gafen on drinks of wine or grape juice mixed with water if at least 1/7th of the total volume is wine (or grape juice) but the mixture but also still be considered to be wine or grape juice.
Borei Pri HaGafen: Mixed Drinks: Wine/Grape Juice Mixed with Non-Water Liquids
Say borei pri ha'gafen on mixtures of wine (or grape juice) with beverages other than water, as long as the final mixture would still be considered to be wine (or grape juice) by most people in your area.
Note If the mixture is at least 50% wine (and maybe even at greater dilutions), it will normally be considered borei pri ha'gafen.
Borei Pri HaGafen: In Succession with SheHakol
Borei Pri HaGafen*: After SheHakol
Borei Pri HaGafen*: After SheHakol
Situation You said she'hakol on a non-grape beverage, drank the beverage, and then want to drink wine (or grape juice).
What To Do Say borei pri ha'gafen before drinking the wine (or grape juice).
Borei Pri HaGafen*: Before SheHakol
Borei Pri HaGafen*: Before SheHakol: Drink at Least 2 Fl. Oz.
If you say borei pri ha'gafen and drink at least 2 fl. oz. (59 ml) of wine (or grape juice) within 30 seconds, the borei pri ha'gafen will cover all subsequent beverages you drink at about the same time--even if their fore-blessing should be she'hakol.
NoteSaying the after-blessing on the wine/grape juice--if drinking at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of the wine/grape juice--covers the water or other beverage that you drank.
Borei Pri HaGafen: Before SheHakol: Drink Less than 2 Fl. Oz.
If you say borei pri ha'gafen and drink less than 2 fl. oz. (59 ml) of wine (or grape juice) within 30 seconds, you must say she'hakol over any subsequent non-grape-based beverages that you drink.
Borei Pri HaGafen: Saying Again
Saying Borei Pri HaGafen Again
You may say a new blessing on any remaining wine if:
  • You said, or heard someone saying, borei pri ha'gafen,
  • Drank some wine (or grape juice),
  • Decided to stop drinking (hesech da'at), and
  • Returned to drink from the same cup later.
Note If you are not sure you had hesech da'at, do not say a new blessing.
IV. Borei Pri Ha'Eitz
Borei Pri Ha'Eitz: Which Foods
Borei Pri Ha’Eitz: All Fruits
Borei Pri Ha'Eitz: All Fruits: Perennial Fruits and Nuts
Say borei pri ha'eitz on fruits and nuts from perennial trees or bushes.
Note A perennial tree or bush is a plant whose trunks or stalks survive from year to year; often with bark on the trunk or stalk.
Borei Pri Ha’Eitz: Five Special Fruits
Borei Pri Ha'Eitz: Five Special Fruits: General Rule
Say borei pri ha'eitz on the Five Special Fruits for which the Land of Israel is praised.
Borei Pri Ha'Eitz: Five Special Fruits: Order and Preference
To eat more than one type of the Five Special Fruits:
  • If you have a particular preference, you may eat the fruits in whichever order you prefer.
  • If you have no particular preference, eat them in this order:
    1. Olive
    2. Date
    3. Grape
    4. Fig
    5. Pomegranate.
Note Order of Five Special Fruits
The order for eating the Five Special Fruits comes from Deuteronomy/Devarim 8:8 and follows the fruit's proximity to the two times the word “eretz” is used:
Eretz chita u's'ora v'gefen u't'eina v'rimon, eretz zayit shemen u'dvash.”
A land of wheat and barley and grapevine and fig and pomegranate, a land of olive oil and honey.
V. Borei Pri HaAdama
Borei Pri HaAdama: Which Foods
Borei Pri HaAdama: Which Foods: General Rules
Borei Pri HaAdama: Which Foods: General Rules
Say borei pri ha'adama on:
  • Common vegetables,
  • Fruits and nuts that grow on annual plants (such as pineapple, bananas, strawberries, peanuts), and
  • Uncooked or unbaked grains, including those not of the Five Special Grains.
Note For when to say she'hakol, see Borei Pri HaAdama: Sprouts .
Borei Pri HaAdama: Which Foods: Specialty Foods
Borei Pri HaAdama: Bananas, Hearts of Palm
Say borei pri ha'adama if the tree from which the food grew can only be used once, such as banana trees or palm trees that get cut down after giving their produce.
Borei Pri HaAdama: Bread Croutons in Salad
For fore-blessing of bread croutons in salad, see Borei Pri HaAdama: Salads.
 
Borei Pri HaAdama: Salads
Say borei pri ha'adama on vegetable salad.
Note The fore-blessing of borei pri ha'adama also covers salad toppings and additions that by themselves require a different blessing, such as:
  • Borei pri ha'eitz for a sprinkling of pine nuts, cashews, apple slices, or raisins, or
  • Borei minei mezonot or ha'motzi for bread croutons. 
Reason Since these toppings and additions are subordinate to the main salad, you do not say the individual blessings; you only say borei pri ha'adama.

Borei Pri HaAdama: Sprouts
Say the fore-blessing of she'hakol if the sprouts were grown only in water.
Say borei pri ha'adama if the grains were sprouted in the ground (such as sunflower sprouts or wheat grass).
VI. SheHakol
SheHakol: Which Foods
SheHakol: Which Foods: General Rule
Say she'hakol, the most general blessing, over any food or drink that does not fall into a higher category (HaMotzi, Borei Minei Mezonot, Borei Pri Ha'Eitz, Borei Pri HaGafen, and Borei Pri HaAdama).
Note One blessing of she'hakol covers both liquids and solids that will be eaten/drunk at the same snack or meal.
SheHakol: Which Foods: Mistaken SheHakol
She'hakol may theoretically apply to many foods, b'diavad,--even bread, wine, the Five Special Fruits, and mezonotHowever, we have a principle to say the highest-level food blessing possibleIf you said she'hakol, mistakenly believing it was the correct blessing for a higher-level food, she'hakol does cover the food after the fact and, b'di'avad, you may eat the bread, wine, or other higher-level food.
SheHakol: Which Foods: Unrecognizable Foods
You must be able to recognize, from at least one piece, that an ingredient is from the ground or from a tree in order to say borei pri ha'adama or borei pri ha'eitzIf not, say she'hakol.
So say she'hakol on:
  • All foods that did not grow in the ground or on a tree, but also
  • Foods that you cannot personally identify as having grown in the ground or on a tree—either because it has been finely ground or processed or because you personally do not know what it is.
Example Even if you know that a kugel is made with potatoes, unless you can see recognizable pieces of potato, do not say borei pri ha'adama, but rather she'hakol.
 
Examples (Foods that Get SheHakol)
  • Apple Sauce.
  • Beer, Cognac, Grape Brandy, and other alcoholic beverages other than wine and grape juice and their derivatives.
  • Cheese and other Dairy Products (unless they contain grain).
  • Eggs (plain).
  • Fish.
  • Fruits or vegetables whose identity is not recognizable.
  • Honey.
  • Ice Cream.
  • Juice.
  • Meat.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Poultry.
  • Seaweed.
  • Soda.
  • Soup (clear).
  • Sprouts.
  • Water.
SheHakol: If You Cannot Eat the Food
SheHakol: Said But Cannot Eat
Situation You said the blessing she'hakol, intending to eat some cheese that is in front of you, and then remember that you ate meat shortly before.
What To Do You should not eat any of the cheese but, instead, say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l'olam va'ed.
SheHakol: How Often
SheHakol: Drinking Water Once
Say the she'hakol blessing on water once for the entire day if you:
  • Are hiking or doing other outdoor activities, and
  • Have water with you or know there is water along the way, and
  • Expect to be thirsty again later in the day and will want to drink water.         
SheHakol: Drinking Water Again
Say a new she'hakol blessing if you buy more water along the way while hiking or doing other outdoor activities--even if you said the blessing at the start of your day's activities.
SheHakol: Drinks while in Flight
If you intend to continue drinking during a flight, you may say one blessing on beverages (she'hakol) and continue drinking for the entire flight.
 
SheHakol: When Not To Say
SheHakol: When Not To Say: Non-Nutritive Foods
Do not say a fore-blessing on chewing gum or bubble gum if it contains no nutritional substances.
SheHakol: Humorous Reminder Poem
SheHakol: Humorous Reminder Poem
If you're in doubt,
And you do not know,
Say she'hakol
Nihiyeh bi'dvaro
.
 
Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Special Cases
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures
General Rules of Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures: Main Ingredient
  1. Say the fore-blessing (bracha rishona) over the main or most important ingredient in a mixture of foods from various food-blessing categories.
  2. The blessing on the main food covers all other ingredients in the mixture.
Examples Fore-Blessing over Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
To eat turkey with cranberry sauce, saying the fore-blessing she'hakol on the more-important food (turkey) covers the less-important food (cranberry sauce). Even if you eat some of the sauce after the turkey is finished, you do not say a new blessing on the sauce.
Note If you eat cranberry sauce by itself and not with turkey, say:
  • Borei pri ha'eitz if it contains identifiable pieces of (or entire) cranberries.
  • She'hakol if the cranberry sauce has no identifiable pieces.
Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) over Cholent
Cholent blessing (if the cholent is not eaten as part of a meal) follows the most important ingredient and is somewhat subjective to the eater.  
  • German cholent —A variety of wheat is primary; say borei minei mezonot
  • Hungarian cholent—Barley is primary; say borei minei mezonot.
  • Polish cholent —Beans are primary; say borei pri ha'adama.
  • Russian cholent —Potatoes are primary; say borei pri ha'adama.
  • If meat is most important, say she'hakol.     
Note You may need to say more than one blessing (bracha rishona) if there is no one preeminently important ingredient in a mixture of food types in one utensil, such as a casserole or cholent,  but only if:
  • You especially like more than one ingredient, and
  • Both (or more than two) of the ingredients can be eaten distinctly. 
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Food Mixtures: Including Five Grains
Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): Mixtures with Five Grains: Containing Bread/Mezonot
Introduction to Food Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona): The Five Grains
Bread or Mezonot: Intended Use
Whether a food made of the Five Grains qualifies as bread (ha'motzi) or mezonot (borei minei mezonot) depends on whether the food was intended to be eaten as a meal or as a snack, as follows:
  • Bread for a meal: Say ha'motzi.
  • Mezonot (but you will eat a full meal): Say ha'motzi.
  • A snack (including bread as a snack): Say borei minei mezonot.
    Note Some foods may qualify as either ha'motzi or mezonot (such as pizza).
    Note Whether the bread/mezonot was made with fruit juice instead of water may not affect its blessing, since the blessing is determined by the food's intended use. “Mezonot” rolls on airline flights may still require the blessing of ha'motzi if you eat them as part of a meal.
    Note Bread that has been cut into small pieces and fried may be reduced in status from bread to mezonot.
Bread/Mezonot: Amount of Five Grains Needed
In a non-bread food containing a mixture of grains, at least 20% of the main ingredients must be from one of the Five Grains in order to require the fore-blessing (bracha rishona) of borei minei mezonot (after-blessing:al ha'michya).
If at least 20% of a bread's flour is from one of the Five Grains, say a fore-blessing of ha'motzi (and birkat ha'mazon afterward if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. within four minutes).
Note If you do not know the actual percent of each grain, such as in cereal, say she'hakol (after-blessing: borei nefashot).  But you should try to determine the actual amounts of the grains.
Bread/Mezonot: Mixtures with Other Foods
Normally, the fore-blessing for bread (ha'motzi), or for other cooked or baked foods made from flour (borei minei mezonot), will override the remaining foods in a food mixture.
Note Bread that has been cut into small pieces and fried may be reduced in status from bread to mezonot.
Examples Saying HaMotzi over Bread Mixture
Wash and say ha'motzi over bread and bread-mixture foods such as French toast, if at least one piece is more than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) in volume.
If no individual piece is at least 1.3 fl. oz., say borei minei mezonot.
Reason Being fried changes the French toast's status, even if the total of all of the pieces is more than 1.3 fl. oz.
Saying Borei Minei Mezonot over Mezonot Mixture
Say borei minei mezonot over:
  • Cholent whose main ingredient is barley;
  • Ice cream cone (ice cream + cone)—see “ice cream cone” for further details;
  • Pie; and
  • Cheesecake with any kind of crust.
    Note Cheesecakes are sold in bakeries and not in cheese stores, indicating that the mezonot part is more important than the cheese part as regards fore- and after-blessings.
Fore-Blessings: Fruit Mixtures
Fore-Blessings over Fruit Cocktail
For fruit cocktail, say fore-blessings of borei pri ha'eitz (for tree fruits) AND borei pri ha'adama (for pineapple, etc.).
Reason Fruit cocktail does not have a main ingredient.
Fore-Blessings: Mixtures with Rice
Fore-Blessings: Stuffed Grape Leaves
If grape leaves are stuffed with rice, say borei minei mezonot.
Fore-Blessings: Sushi
Say the fore-blessing borei minei mezonot over sushi, since the rice is primary. If you are eating the sushi for the salmon (or other ingredient) in the middle, say she'hakol, too (or whatever blessing is correct for that important ingredient).
Note To say fore-blessings over sushi:
  • Say borei minei mezonot, then take a bite of rice (which may have nori, etc., on it).
  • Say she'hakol, then take a bite of fish (which may have rice, avocado, etc., stuck to it).
Fore-Blessings: Unusual Fruits and Vegetables
Bracha Rishona: Coconut Water
To drink coconut water:
  • Say borei pri ha'eitz if you drink coconut water directly from the coconut.
  • Say she'hakol if you pour the water out of the nut into a utensil.
Bracha Rishona: Fiddleheads
Say borei pri ha'adama on fiddleheads (unfurled fern tops in early spring).
Bracha Rishona: Hydroponic Vegetables
Say she'hakol on hydroponic vegetables, including bean sprouts.
Note If you don't know how the vegetables were grown, you are not required to research the source of the vegetables: you may assume that they are not hydroponic and say the fore-blessing of borei pri ha'adama.
Bracha Rishon: Olives
There is no separate blessing on eating olives with a meal. If you eat olives by themselves (without other food), say borei pri ha'eitz.
Bracha Rishona: Popcorn
Say borei pri ha'adama on popcorn.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): General Rules
The Five After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
The Five After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
There are five Bracha Achrona blessings on food:
  • Al HaMichya
  • Al HaGefen
  • Al Ha'Eitz
  • Borei Nefashot
  • Birkat HaMazon.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Levels
Levels of After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
Like fore-blessings, say the highest level of after-blessing (bracha achrona) that applies.
Note Although borei nefashot will cover many foods (at least, after the fact), it does NOT cover bread, wine, or mezonot.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Minimum Measurements
Introduction to After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Minimum Measurements
To say any after-blessing/bracha achrona (al ha'michya, al ha'gafen, al ha'eitz, borei nefashot, or birkat ha'mazon), you must:
  • Eat at least the minimum volume (1.3 fl. oz.--39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of solid food within four minutes, or
  • Drink at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of liquid within 30 seconds.
Note With hot foods, especially liquids, you are unlikely to be able to swallow a minimum amount in the required time in order to qualify for the after-blessing (bracha achrona).

If Did Not Eat Minimum

Do not say bracha achrona if you did not eat 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml) within four minutes.

If Did Not Drink Minimum

Do not say bracha achrona if you did not drink 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of any potable liquid within 30 seconds. Note You may not combine the volume of solid food to liquid food or liquid food to solid food that you ate and drank in order to make the minimum volume for an after-blessing.

If Did Not Eat or Drink Minimum

Size: How To Calculate

Ounces: Weight or Volume

The minimum quantity for saying after-blessings is based on volume, not weight. If you eat a pack of pretzels whose volume is 1.3 fl. oz., even though the label says it only weighs 0.5 oz., you would say an after-blessing of al ha'michya.

Figuring Volume

Figuring Volume: Non-Mezonot Foods

You may not include the volume of fish or meat or other foods eaten together with bread or matza in order to reach a total volume of 1 fl. oz., which is required for saying the after-blessing of birkat ha'mazon. However, you may combine the volumes in order to say borei nefashot.

Figuring Volume: Unswallowed Pits/Seeds

When eating foods with seeds or pits (olives, pomegranates, etc.), do not include unswallowed seeds or pits to reach the 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) minimum volume needed to say an after-blessing. You may include only what you have swallowed.

D'Oraita Cases

For d'oraita cases (halachot from the Torah), such as eating matza at seder or drinking wine for kiddush, we use a more stringent minimum measure:
  • Eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (56 ml) of solid food within four minutes, or
  • Drink at least 4 fl. oz. (119 ml) of liquid within 30 seconds.

Timing

When To Start Counting

You may start counting the period of four minutes (for eating at least 1.3 fl. oz.) or 30 seconds (for drinking at least 3.3 fl. oz.) any time after the fore-blessing as long as it is continuous from when you first swallow until you have swallowed the minimum amount.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits and Satiation Status
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Satiation Status: General Rules
After eating or drinking the required amounts, you may say bracha achrona (including birkat ha'mazon) as long as:
  • You are still satiated after having been hungry and eaten, OR
  • You were not satiated after eating and it is less than 72 minutes since you finished eating.
Reason We say the effects of food last for at least 72 minutes and that 72-minute period overrides becoming hungry again even after having been satiated.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Satiation Status: Hunger Situations
Situation You were hungry.
You ate and were satiated.
You are not yet hungry again.
What To Do You may say bracha achrona without any time limit, until you get hungry again
Situation You were hungry.
You ate but were not satiated.
You are still hungry.
What To Do You may say bracha achrona for up to 72 minutes after having stopped eating.
Situation You were not hungry, but you ate.
What To Do
  • If you ate enough that you became satiated and now you are hungry again:
You can say after-blessing for up to 72 minutes after you finished eating.
  • If you ate enough to be satiated and are not yet hungry again:
    You may say an after-blessing for up to 72 minutes OR until you are hungry again, whichever comes later.
  • If you ate but did not become satiated and are still hungry:
    You can say after-blessing for 72 minutes after you finished eating.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits and Falling Asleep
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Falling Asleep for more than 30 Minutes
If you fell asleep for more than 30 minutes in the middle of a meal:
Step 1: Wash your hands the Three-Times Method to remove the tum'a of your sleep.
Step 2a: To Continue Eating
To continue eating in this case, since the previous blessings and food are no longer relevant (due to hesech da'at), you may:
  • Wash again and say ha'motzi again, and then say birkat ha'mazon, OR 
  • Eat other items with a fore-blessing and after-blessing (since your previous eating is finished).
Step 2b: If You Are Finished Eating
  • Say birkat ha'mazon if you are:
    • Finished eating, and
    • Not hungry again, after having been satiated at the meal.
  • Do not say birkat ha'mazon if you are
    • Finished eating, and
    • Hungry again (after having been satiated at the meal), as the original snack or meal is irrelevant to any after-blessing now.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Falling Asleep for less than 30 Minutes
If you slept less than 30 minutes, you do not need to wash; you may:
  • Continue eating your meal, or
  • Say birkat ha'mazon (as long as you had already eaten at least 1.9 fl. oz., or 56 ml, of bread within 4 minutes).
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Correspondence with Fore-Blessings (Bracha Rishona)
Correspondence between Fore- and After-Blessings
There is no essential connection between fore-blessings and after-blessings.
Examples Rice
The fore-blessing is borei minei mezonot, so you might expect the after-blessing to be al ha'michya.  But the correct after-blessing is borei nefashot.
Apple
The fore-blessing is borei pri ha'eitz, so you might expect the after-blessing to be al ha'eitz.  But the correct after-blessing is borei nefashot.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Incorrect
Correct After-Blessing after Incorrect After-Blessing
Situation You ate or drank mezonot, wine, grape juice, or any of the Five Special Fruits.
You said the incorrect after-blessing.
What To Do You must still say the correct after-blessing after the incorrect one.
Correct After-Blessing after Incorrect Fore-Blessing
Situation You said an incorrect or too-general fore-blessing over food (even she'hakol--which does, b'di'avad, cover all foods, including bread, wine, the Five Special Fruits, and mezonot). Or you forgot to say the fore-blessing.
What To Do You must still say the more-specific, correct after-blessing, including birkat ha'mazon when appropriate.
Reason You must still say the correct after-blessing even though you said the incorrect fore-blessing.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Incomplete
Incomplete After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
You must repeat the after-blessing for mezonot, wine/grape juice, or any of the Five Special Fruits if you ate items from more than one of those categories, said the after-blessing for just one of them, and forgot the other. 
Example
Situation You ate mezonot and some figs, said al ha'michya, and forgot to add the words for al ha'eitz.
What To Do You must say the after-blessing al ha'eitz.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Sequential
After-Blessings If Snack, then New Meal
If you said a fore-blessing and ate a snack, but then decided to eat bread and a full meal:
  • If your meal will not contain any foods that have the same after-blessing as your snack--
    • Say the snack's after-blessing, and then
    • Wash your hands and say ha'motzi.
  • If your meal will contain foods with the same fore-blessing as your snack (even the same food as your snack)—
    • Do not say the snack's after-blessing.
    • Wash your hands and say ha'motzi.
Note Wash and say ha'motzi if you will be eating any amount of bread--even less than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes and even if it will take you more than four minutes to eat it (in which case, although you say ha'motzi, you do not say any after-blessing, including birkat ha'mazon).
Note Say al netilat yadayim only if you intend to eat at least 1.9 fl. oz. (59 ml) within four minutes.
Exception If you have eaten mezonot (and even if you will not eat any more mezonot with your meal), do not say al ha'michya. Just wash your hands, say ha'motzi, and eat your meal.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Inside to Outside, Outside to Inside
After-Blessings: Start Meal Inside, Intend To End Outside
You may start a meal inside the house and finish outside, or the reverse, if that was your original intention. If that was not your original intention, consult a rabbi.
After-Blessings: Start Snack Inside, Did Not Intend To End Outside
If you were eating a snack inside a building and had not planned to continue eating outside but then decided to eat outside, you must say a new fore-blessing once you are outside.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Bread or Mezonot
After-Blessings: Changing Location: Continuing To Eat Bread or Mezonot
Because bread or mezonot REQUIRES you to say an after-blessing at the place where you ate it, you are considered to NOT have had an interruption of thought (hesech da'at ) when you move and eat more bread or mezonot at the new place, and you may say the after-blessing at the new place.
 
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Traveling
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Traveling
When traveling, the proper practice is to:
  • Finish eating where you begin eating, or
  • Intend, when saying the fore-blessing, to continue eating while traveling.
ExceptionsEven if you did not intend to continue eating along the way, you may say the after-blessing wherever you are if:
  • You are already involved in doing a mitzva, or
  • If you will incur a large loss of money, or
  • By the time you would return to where you ate, it would be past the latest time to say the after-blessing.
After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Food within View

SituationYou eat one item outdoors, then eat food from another category inside your car, which is within view of where you ate the first food.

What To DoYou may say the after-blessings for both foods while in your car (or both outside of your car), even if it is a food that normally would require you to return to the place at which you ate it.

After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Changing Location: Did Not Intend To Continue Eating
Situation You did not, at the time you said the fore-blessing, intend to continue eating along the way. You then ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread or mezonot within four minutes.
What To Do When you say the after-blessing, you should return to where you began eating. However, if you continued eating mezonot or bread while traveling, you may say the after-blessing in either place.
Note It is the proper practice to say a new fore-blessing (since you did not intend to continue eating along the way when you began eating) in the vehicle in which you are traveling. But even if you did not say a new fore-blessing, you may still say the after-blessing in the vehicle.
After-Blessings: Changing Location: Inside Vehicle, Outside Vehicle, Return
Situation You are traveling (driving, riding in a bus, etc.), and you stop and get out of the vehicle in order to eat part of a meal or snack:
What To Do
  • If, when you said the fore-blessing, you had consciously intended to return to the vehicle and continue eating either along the way or at the next stop, you may say the after-blessing wherever you are when you finish eating.
  • If, when you said the fore-blessing, you had not consciously intended to return to the vehicle and continue eating while traveling, it is assumed that you will continue to eat and you do not need to say a new fore-blessing.
  • If you intended NOT to continue eating in your car or along the way, you need to say a new fore-blessing in the vehicle.
The Five After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona)
I. Al HaMichya
Al HaMichya: Type and Volume of Foods
Al HaMichya: Eating Enough
Say al ha'michya after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of non-bread foods baked from the Five Grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt) within four minutes.
 
Al HaMichya: Eating Enough Pie To Say
Say al ha'michya if you ate a total volume of crust + filling of at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) or more within four minutes--even if the total mezonot-based crust you eat is less than 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup).
Al HaMichya: Or Birkat HaMazon
Say birkat ha'mazon instead of al ha'michya if you ate enough bread-like foods (mezonot) or bread-like food combinations (such as crackers with tuna salad) to be the volume of your normal biggest meal of the day. This is true even if:
  • You had not planned to have a meal (for example, you planned to eat only one slice of pizza but then ate two more), and
  • Did not wash your hands before the meal.
 
Al HaMichya: Doubt
Al HaMichya: Doubt If You Said
Don't say al ha'michya after eating mezonot if you are not certain whether you said it or not.
Al HaMichya: Doubt If 72 Minutes Have Passed
Situation You ate some mezonot. It might be more than 72 minutes since you finished eating but you are not certain.
What To Do Doubt about a blessing (safek bracha) does not get a blessing.
Note You may not eat one of the Five Special Fruits in order to say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz and include al ha'michya. You could eat fruit and say the al ha'eitz blessing, but you may not include mezonot food in the blessing by adding al ha'michya.
Al HaMichya: Forgetting V'Zachreinu L'Tova
Al HaMichya: Forgetting To Add V'Zachreinu L'Tova
Don't repeat al ha'michya on Rosh Chodesh if you forget to add v'zachreinu l'tova….
II. Al HaGafen
Al HaGafen: Type and Volume of Drink
Al HaGafen: Drinking Enough Wine/Grape Juice To Say After-Blessing
Say al ha'gafen after drinking at least a revi'it (3.3 fl. oz., or 99 ml) of wine (or grape juice) within 30 seconds.
Al HaGafen: Covering SheHakol Drink
If you drank at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of grape juice or wine water within 30 seconds and then drank some water or another beverage, saying the after-blessing of al ha'gafen on the wine/grape juice covers the water or other beverage.
Al HaGafen: Which Blessing Ending
Al HaGafen: Al Pri HaGafen or Al Pri Gafna
After drinking wine made from grapes grown in Eretz Yisrael (regardless of where you are physically located when you drink the wine), end the after-blessing with al ha'aretz ve'al pri gafna instead of al ha'aretz ve'al pri ha'gafen.
III. Al Ha'Eitz
Introduction to Al Ha’Eitz
Al Ha'Eitz: Type and Volumes of Fruits
Say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup), within four minutes, of the Five Special Fruits:
  • Olive,
  • Date,
  • Grape,
  • Fig,
  • Pomegranate.
Note The after-blessing of al ha'eitz also covers any non-special fruits that you ate while eating the Five Special Fruits.
Situation You ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes of the Five Special Fruits, such as figs, and any amount of non-special fruits, such as walnuts, at about the same time.
What To Do Say:
  • Fore-blessing of borei pri ha'eitz, and
  • After-blessing of al ha'eitz.
Al Ha’Eitz: Figuring Volume
Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special and Non-Special Fruits Sequentially
You may not eat non-special fruits sequentially with or even interspersed with the Five Special Fruits in order to make the minimum volume for saying the after-blessing of al ha'eitz.
Situation You ate a date and then ate the remainder of 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of cherries.
What To Do Say:
  • Fore-blessing of borei pri ha'eitz over the date (and cherries).
  • After-blessing of borei nefashot on all the fruits.
Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special and Non-Special Fruits As a Unit
The volume of special and non-special fruits DO combine for the after-blessing if:
  • They are considered to be one food, AND
  • The main component is the Special Fruit.
Situation You eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes of dates stuffed with almonds.
What To Do
Say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz over both types of fruits.
Al Ha'Eitz: Figuring Volume: Eating Special Fruits Mixed with Other Foods
Situation You say borei pri ha'eitz and eat a few olives, but less than 1.3 fl. oz. Then, you say borei pri ha'adama and eat lettuce mixed with enough olives to constitute the minimum volume when combined with the first olives.  You eat them all within four minutes. It is time to say the after-blessing.
What To Do You may not combine all the olives in order to say the after-blessing of al ha'eitz unless the olives remain distinct from the lettuce and you continue to eat them separately.  Say borei nefashot after finishing eating as long as the total food eaten was at least 1.3 fl. oz.
Al Ha'Eitz: Ve'al HaPeirot or Ve'al Peiroteha
Al Ha'Eitz Ve'al HaPeirot or Ve'al Peiroteha
Situation You ate some of the Five Special Fruits and they were grown in Eretz Yisrael.
What To Do End the after-blessing al ha'eitz with al ha'aretz ve'al peiroteha instead of ve'al ha'peirot.
IV. Borei Nefashot
Borei Nefashot: Type and Volume of Foods
Borei Nefashot: Minimum Requirements
Say borei nefashot after:
  • Eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of non-mezonot food or non-special fruits within four minutes, OR
  • Drinking at least 3.3 fl. oz. (99 ml) of non-grape juice drinks or wine within 30 seconds.
Borei Nefashot: Special Cases: Popcorn
To say the after-blessing on popcorn, you only need to eat a few popped kernels as long as in the popped state they fill 1 fl. oz. (30 ml).
V. Birkat HaMazon
Birkat HaMazon: Source
Birkat HaMazon: Torah Source
The source of birkat ha'mazon is Deuteronomy/Devarim 8:10:  You will eat and be satiated and bless Hashem, your God, for the good land that He gave you.
Birkat HaMazon D'Rabanan: Rabbinic Source
Although the mitzva d'oraita is to thank God only when you are satiated from the meal, chazal decreed that we say birkat ha'mazon even when eating only the volume of a k'zayit and even if not satiated. So you must still say birkat ha'mazon after eating at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread within four minutes--even if you are not full.  This is known as birkat ha'mazon d'rabanan.
Birkat HaMazon: How Much Food
Eating Enough Bread To Say Birkat HaMazon
Say birkat ha'mazon if you ate a “meal” as defined by halacha—that is, if you ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread made of the Five Grains within four minutes.
Note If you didn't eat the minimal amounts within four minutes, don't say birkat ha'mazon (even if you washed and said ha'motzi).
Eating Enough Mezonot To Say Birkat HaMazon
Say birkat ha'mazon after eating mezonot if it constituted a meal—that is, if you ate:
  • The amount a person would eat for his/her dinner meal, OR
  • Mezonot in addition to other foods that are normally eaten with bread in a quantity sufficient to be a normal dinner meal.
Note In either case, you must eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of mezonot made of the Five Grains within four minutes.
Birkat HaMazon: If You Planned To Eat Minimum Amount of Bread and Did
Regardless of how much bread you plan to eat, if you eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) within four minutes, say birkat ha'mazon.
Birkat HaMazon: If You Planned To Eat Minimum Amount of Bread and Did Not
If you planned to, but did not, eat a full meal:
  • Do not say al ha'michya if you did not eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of foods baked from the Five Grains within four minutes--even if you had washed your hands and said ha'motzi.
  • Do say the appropriate bracha achrona for any other foods of which you ate the minimum (1.3 fl. oz.--39 ml, or 1/6 cup) quantity within four minutes, even though you did not say an individual bracha rishona (since you were planning to
Birkat HaMazon: Time Limit
Birkat HaMazon: Time Limit
For time limits on birkat ha'mazon, see After-Blessings (Bracha Achrona): Time Limits.
Birkat HaMazon: Location
Birkat HaMazon: Location: Switching Seats
You should sit down for birkat ha'mazon, but you do not need to sit in your original seat. You may sit anywhere in the room in which you ate, even at a different table.
Birkat HaMazon: Location: Eating in Two Places--No Prior Intention
Situation
  • You said ha'motzi.
  • Ate bread without planning to continue your meal elsewhere.
  • Then changed your mind and wanted to eat at a second place.
What To Do The ideal practice is to:
  • Say birkat ha'mazon where you are, and then
  • Start a new meal--wash, make ha'motzi, and eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup)—of bread in the second place.
B'di'avad, it is OK to say birkat ha'mazon at the second place, but only if you also ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread at the second place (no additional washing or ha'motzi is needed).
Birkat HaMazon: Location: Eating in Two Places--Prior Intention
Say birkat ha'mazon at either place if:
  • You eat in one place, intending to continue your meal in another place, AND
  • You ate at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread at either place.
Note If you intend to eat only a snack only at the second place, you do not need to say birkat ha'mazon before you go there; you only need to say whichever fore-blessings are required for the foods you will eat there. You must return to the first place to say birkat ha'mazon.
 
Birkat HaMazon: Mayim Achronim
Mayim Achronim a Custom?
Many people have the custom of using mayim achronim (water to wash hands after a meal). But according to some opinions, to do so is not required by Jewish law.
Note According to most opinions, women do not wash with mayim achronim.
Birkat HaMazon: Mezuman and Minyan
Birkat HaMazon: Reason for Mezuman
Saying birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman (or a minyan) is important since it gives honor to God.
 
Birkat HaMazon: Seating for Minyan or Mezuman
You may join with other men to make a minyan or mezuman (a mezuman is any group of 3 or more Jewish men 13 years old or older and so a minyan is also a kind of mezuman) for birkat ha'mazon if, while you are eating:
  • You can see any other tables at which the other men are eating, or
  • You had the same waiter as the other men, even if you could not see the rest of the group (such as in an L-shaped room). 
 
Birkat HaMazon: Eating for Mezuman
Say birkat ha'mazon as a mezuman if:
  • You don't have enough men for a minyan (see above), AND
  • Two men wash, said ha'motzi, and ate bread, AND
  • One or more other men ate any food other than water and salt.
Note If the three men's eating overlapped in time with each other, they MAY say birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman
If the three men began eating at the same time, they MUST say birkat ha'mazon with a mezuman.
Birkat HaMazon: Eating for Minyan
You may say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan if:
  • At least seven men washed, said ha'motzi, and ate bread, with
  • Enough other men who ate some food (anything other than water or salt) to total 10 men.
NoteIf the 10 men's eating overlapped in time with each other, they MAY say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan
If the 10 men began eating at the same time, they MUST say birkat ha'mazon with a minyan.
Birkat HaMazon: Women's Mezuman and Minyan
Women (even if 10 or more) do not make a minyan, only a mezumanSo do not say the birkat ha'mazon's minyan introduction but simply say the mezuman introduction if:
  • 10 or more women ate together, without men present;
  • At least two women washed, said ha'motzi, and ate bread; AND
  • At least one more woman ate some type of food.
Note Women are never required to make a mezuman. So when three women are eating together and no men are present, they may say birkat ha'mazon as a mezuman but they are not required to do so.
Birkat HaMazon: Until When To Join Mezuman
You may join a mezuman by eating any food (except water and salt) up until the leader says “rabotai nevareich.” 
 
Birkat HaMazon: How To Join Mezuman and Continue Eating
To join a mezuman and continue eating:
1)  Reply to “rabotai nevareich,” etc.,
2)  Say amen after the leader says the first paragraph's final blessing, and then
3)  Finish eating and say birkat ha'mazon on your own.
 
Birkat HaMazon: How Many Men Needed for Baruch Hu U'Varuch Shemo
Say baruch hu u'varuch shemo before birkat ha'mazon even if only three men are present; you don't need a minyan
Note Only the leader (mezamein) says this, not the other two men.
Birkat HaMazon: Standing Up to Honor God
Stand up a little to honor God when you say God's name in the introduction (nevareich eloheinu) if you ate with 10 men. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
Birkat HaMazon: Table
Birkat HaMazon: Knives on Table
Birkat HaMazon: Covering Knife on Shabbat
You do not need to cover or remove a knife on the table before saying birkat ha'mazon on Shabbat.
Birkat HaMazon: Covering Knife on Weekdays
Cover or remove a sharp knife from the table on weekdays before saying birkat ha'mazon.  This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
Birkat HaMazon: Bread on Table
Birkat HaMazon: Replacing Bread
Place the bread back onto the table before saying birkat ha'mazon if the bread had been removed during the meal. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
Note This is true for any meal, not just for Shabbat.
Birkat HaMazon: When To Repeat
Birkat HaMazon: When To Repeat If Forgot Additions
When saying birkat ha'mazon, you must repeat birkat ha'mazon if you forgot:
  • Retzei on the first two meals of Shabbat.
  • Ya'aleh v'yavo on the first two meals of any Jewish festival day (women only repeat if they forgot it at the Passover seder).
Never repeat birkat ha'mazon if you forgot additions for:
  • Rosh Hashana (during the daytime) or
  • Rosh Chodesh.
Birkat HaMazon: Alternate Wordings
Ba’alat HaBayit HaZeh
Ba'alat HaBayit HaZeh: Woman Head of Household
Say ba'alat ha'bayit ha'zeh if the head of the household is a woman.
Bracha Meruba BaBayit HaZeh
Bracha Meruba BaBayit HaZeh: Inside Jewish Home
Say bracha meruba ba'bayit ha'zeh only when eating in a house or apartment that is occupied by a Jewish family or a Jewish owned public building.
Bracha Meruba BaBayit HaZeh: Outside Jewish Home
If eating outside a Jewish home, including when eating outdoors, say (instead of bracha meruba…):
Ha'rachaman hu yishlach lanu bracha meruba b'halichateinu uv'yeshivateinu ad olam.
Migdol or Magdil
Birkat HaMazon on Musaf Days: Migdol or Magdil
Say migdol (yeshuot) on days when we say musaf (on other days, say magdil).
Birkat HaMazon Once Shabbat Ends: Migdol or Magdil
When saying birkat ha'mazon after Shabbat until halachic midnight (chatzot), say migdol, not magdil.
Note This also applies to birkat ha'mazon after Jewish festivals or Rosh Chodesh--all days when we say musaf.
Ve’al Shulchan Zeh SheAchalnu Alav
Ve'al Shulchan Zeh SheAchalnu Alav When Alone
Say she'achalnu (in the plural) even if you are alone.
Ve'al Shulchan Zeh SheAchalnu Alav If No Table
Skip ve'al shulchan zeh she'achalnu alav if there is no table.
 
Ya'aleh V'Yavo
If You Forgot Ya'aleh V'Yavo
Situation
You forgot to say ya'aleh v'yavo in birkat ha'mazon for a meal that you were required to eat on a Jewish festival.
What to Do
If you have already begun the fourth blessing, you must repeat the entire birkat ha'mazon. If you have not yet said the fourth blessing, you may say a special addition that appears in many siddurim.
SheHecheyanu
Introduction to SheHecheyanu
Introduction to SheHecheyanu: When Obligatory
Say she'hecheyanu for:
  • Acquisitions,
  • Jewish festivals, and
  • New fruits. 
Note You MUST say she'hecheyanu on Jewish festivals; saying she'hecheyanu on acquisitions is subjective and is only required if you enjoy the possession and it is new (for you) and valuable.
HaTov V'HaMeitiv or SheHecheyanu
Say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu when two or more people benefit from or enjoy something. 
Examples
  • If your wife or husband will enjoy and use the new item too.
  • When wine is already on the table and a second bottle of wine that is as good as, or better than, the first bottle is brought to the table (and more than one person will drink that second bottle of wine).
Note When two or more people are eating a new fruit that is in season, each person says the blessings al pri ha'eitz and then she'hechaynu (and not ha'tov v'hameitiv).
SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions
SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: Which Items
On What To Say SheHecheyanu
Say she'hecheyanu on any item that you acquire through any of the following means, as long as the item gives you pleasure:
  • Gifts.
  • Purchases you made. 
  • Used items that you acquire.
Note If the item would be desirable or a luxury to other people, but it is not to you, or if it only has value to you as a useful item, do not say she'hecheyanu
NoteFrom Richard Aiken --I said she'hecheyanu on my scuba diving equipment and on my paragliders, the first time I used them.)
Items on Which Women Say SheHecheyanu
Women say she'hecheyanu on:
  • Engagement rings but not on wedding rings.
  • Valuable candlesticks.
Items on Which Men Say SheHecheyanu
Men say she'hecheyanu on a new talit. Do not say she'hecheyanu on tefilin.
SheHecheyanu and Attire
The only items of attire that get a she'hecheyanu blessing are those that are worn for enjoyment or importance.  These are both subjective: If you don't enjoy new clothes, don't say she'hecheyanu over them.
Note She'hecheyanu is not said on shoes.
SheHecheyanu: House or Apartment
Say she'hecheyanu on a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation that you buy. Don't say she'hecheyanu on a house or apartment that you are renting.
Note If you are married (or living there with any other family members), say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu.
SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When To Bless
SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When You May Say
You may say she'hecheyanu as long as you still feel the exhilaration of having or using the new item (ideally, say the blessing when you purchase the item or receive it as a gift.).
SheHecheyanu: Acquisitions: When To Bless over New Home
If you buy a house, condominium, apartment, or other accommodation, say she'hecheyanu:
  • When you buy it, if it is ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself).
  •  When you move in, if it is not ready to move in when you buy it (if you will live there by yourself). 
Note If you are married, say ha'tov v'ha'meitiv instead of she'hecheyanu.
SheHecheyanu: Jewish Festivals
SheHecheyanu at Candle-Lighting for Jewish Festivals
Say she'hecheyanu when lighting candles for:
  • Both days of Rosh Hashana,
  • Yom Kippur,
  • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Sukkot,
  • Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah,
  • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or both days of Shavuot, and
  • First day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or first two days of Passover.
Note She'hecheyanu is not said on the last day (if in Eretz Yisrael) or last two days of Passover.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Order of Blessings
Borei Pri Ha'Eitz or SheHecheyanu First
Steps for saying she'hecheyanu on a new fruit:
  • Say borei pri ha'eitz first, then
  • Say she'hecheyanu, then
  • (Cut and) Eat it.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: When To Bless
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: When First in Season
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: When Is First in Season
Say she'hecheyanu when eating a fresh (not dried or frozen) fruit for the first time it appears in the market that season (this does not follow Rosh Hashana or any of the other Jewish “years”).
Note If a fruit is available year round, never say she'hecheyanu over it.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: When Travelling
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Visiting Place Where Fruit Is Available Year Round
Situation
  • You live in an area in which a  fresh fruit is not available all year.
  • You visit a place in which that fruit IS available all year.
What To Do You do not say she'hecheyanu when eating this fruit the new place.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Visiting Place Where Fruit Is Not Available Year Round
Situation
  • You visit a country in which a fresh fruit is not available there year round.
  • You have not eaten this fruit that year (either since the fruit season began there or within the past 12 months).
What To Do You may say she'hecheyanu.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Import/Export
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Import/Export
Situation
A fruit is available year-round in one place.
That fruit is taken to a place where it is not available.
What To Do
You may say she'hecheyanu on the fruit in that second place.
 
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Which Types
Varieties of Fruit for SheHecheyanu
If one type of fruit has many varieties--such as navel oranges, Valencia oranges, kumquats, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits-- say she'hecheyanu on each type if the:
  • Trees have different leaves, OR
  • Taste differs from one another (taste must be noticeable to an average person). 
Note Since many fruits are often available year round, it may not be possible to ever say she'hecheyanu on those fruits.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: On Which Forms To Bless
SheHecheyanu: Cooked Fruit
Say she'hecheyanu on cooked fruit in season if that fruit is not normally available all year.  If the fruit is commonly available canned, you may not say she'hecheyanu on it at any time.
 
SheHecheyanu: Dried Fruit
Do not say she'hecheyanu on dried fruit. 
Note She'hecheyanu may be said on carob while it is still chewy.
SheHecheyanu: Imported Fruit
Do not say she'hecheyanu again if:
  • You already said she'hecheyanu on that type of fruit once during that year,
  • The fruit then stops being available, but
  • Later in the year it becomes available again as an import from another country.
 
SheHecheyanu: New Fruit with Juice
Situation
  • You drink the juice of a fruit that you have not eaten for one year.
  • Later, you will eat the actual fruit,
What To Do Say she'hecheyanu on the fruit (if you would normally be required to do so).
Note Having drunk the juice does not affect the status of the fruit's being new and in season.
Note You do not ever say she'hecheyanu on fruit juice!
 
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Two or More
SheHecheyanu for Two or More Fruits
If you eat two new fruits at same sitting, say she'hecheyanu only once.
SheHecheyanu: New Fruits: Might Not Like
SheHecheyanu for New Fruit You Might Not Like
SITUATION
You have a fruit on which you would like to say she'hecheyanu, but you might not like it.
WHAT TO DO
To avoid saying a pointless blessing (bracha l'vatala), you may:
  • Say the blessing borei pri ha'eitz on a different fruit.
  • Eat from the fruit you just blessed over.
  • Taste the new fruit. If you like it—and before you have eaten all of the new fruit—
  • Swallow the small piece you tasted (if you do not like it, you do not need to swallow it).
  • Say she'hecheyanu.
  • Finish eating the new fruit.

NoteWhen saying she'hecheyanu on a new fruit, there is no preference for on which fruit to say borei pri ha'eitz--you may say it on the new fruit or on any other fruit.

The Great Outdoors
Tefilat HaDerech
Tefilat HaDerech: When To Say
Tefilat HaDerech: When To Say: Leaving Your
Say tefilat ha'derech when leaving your “place,” which may be a city, town, village, or even your home if you live in an isolated area. You may only say tefilat ha'derech if you will go at least 2.8 miles outside the inhabited area.
Tefilat HaDerech: When To Say: Starting Journey
If you will certainly leave the city limits at some point in your journey, you may say tefilat ha'derech as soon as you start your journey (when you leave your house or get in your car, etc.). 
Example You may say tefilat ha'derech when leaving your house for a flight, but the optimal time is when the plane begins to taxi.
Tefilat HaDerech: When To Say: City Limits
City limits for tefilat ha'derech means the last house before a gap of 2.8 miles, measured horizontally but not vertically.
Tefilat HaDerech: Boat
Say tefilat ha'derech in a boat that will be going at least 2.8 miles from shore.
Tefilat HaDerech: How Often
Tefilat HaDerech: How Often: Once a Day/Once a Trip
Tefilat HaDerech: How Often: Once a Day/Once a Trip: Vehicles
When riding in a vehicle on a trip, you should say tefilat ha'derech once each day, as long as:
  • You have gone--or will go--at least 2.8 miles past any populated area, and
  • You will be breaking your trip at night.
Note If you will be living in an RV or other vehicle, only say tefilat ha'derech once for the entire trip.
Tefilat HaDerech: How Often: Once a Day/Once a Trip: Boats
If you take a multi-day boat trip, such as a cruise, say tefilat ha'derech only once during the journey—not each day.
Note Any time you stay overnight (on land) along the journey, say tefilat ha'derech again when you resume your travel.
Tefilat HaDerech: What To Say
Tefilat HaDerech: What To Say: Main Blessing
You do not need to say other blessings before tefilat ha'derech. Since tefilat ha'derech begins without a blessing, some people like to say an unrelated blessing before it, but the custom is not to require saying another blessing first.
Tefilat HaDerech: What To Say: For Others
When saying tefilat ha'derech, even if you say it for other people traveling with you, always say “titneini” (in the singular) and not “titneinu” (plural).
Note This is different from most blessings, which are in the plural even when said by just one person for him/herself.
Tefilat HaDerech: What To Say: Phrases (Psukim)
After saying the main blessing of tefilat ha'derech, some people have the custom to say these phrases (psukim) three times each:
  • L'shuatcha kiviti...
  • V'ya'akov halach l'darko...
  • Yivarechecha...
  • Hinei anochi sholei'ach lifanecha...
Al Netilat Yadayim or Al Tevilat Yadayim
Al Netilat Yadayim or Al Tevilat Yadayim: Water Fit or Not Fit
Say al netilat yadayim even if you wash your hands by immersing them in a river, ocean, or other natural body of water.
Note Say al tevilat yadayim if the water is not fit for netilat yadayim (if it smells bad, is salty, a dog would not drink it, etc.). This applies to washing before bread, after sleeping, etc.
Blessings: Scents
Blessings: Scents: When To Say
Say the blessing if you intend to smell something fragrant; you may, but do not need to, say a blessing if you smell a scent in passing.  If you are outdoors and a pleasant scent of flowers comes to you, even if you did not intend to smell the flowers, as long as you enjoy the scent, you may still say the appropriate blessing.
Blessings: Scents: The Four Blessings
Choose the correct smell blessing (Note that these blessings are not said on synthetic scents!): 
  • Borei minei vesamim Generic; this is the default blessing if you are not certain which category applies; also say this when smelling a mixture of scents;
  • Borei isvei vesamim  Plants which do not have stiff stems;
  • Borei atzei vesamim  Trees and stiff-stemmed plants (such as roses); and
  • Ha'notein rei'ach tov ba'peirot  Fragrant fruits, such as lemons and some etrogs.
Blessings: Scents: Minimum Scent
The minimum intensity of scent required to be permitted to say a scent blessing is anything you can smell and that you find pleasant.
 
Blessings: Scents: Sniffing First
Situation You see a flower but do not know whether it has a scent.
What To Do You may sniff the flower and, if it does have a nice scent, you may then say borei minei (or atzei or isvei as appropriate) vesamim and then take a big whiff.
Blessings: Scents: All Scents in that Category
Situation You are visiting a botanical garden or an outdoor area at which you will see many flowers and blossoms.
What To Do You may say the appropriate blessings on pleasant smells once for each category and intend for the blessing to apply to all flowers and blossoms you will smell during that day.
Blessings: Scents: Hesech Da'at
If you say borei isvei vesamim or borei atzei vesamim, you should say the blessing again once you have had a lapse of thought (hesech da'at); that is, once you have stopped thinking about smelling fragrances at that time.
HaGomel
HaGomel: For Which Events
After What To Say HaGomel
Say ha'gomel after:
  • Crossing the ocean (far enough away that you cannot see the shore);
  • Crossing a desert by any means except flying;
  • Getting out of jail; or
  • Recovering from a serious illness.  
In addition, say ha'gomel anytime a catastrophe has been avoided, such as a vehicle crash. Consult a competent halachic authority in these cases.
HaGomel: When To Say
Saying HaGomel within 30 Days
Say ha'gomel within three days of the event; b'di'avad, it is OK to say it within 30 days.
 
Say HaGomel When You Can Walk Normally
You may say ha'gomel after recovering from a serious illness once you are able to walk around normally.
HaGomel: For Whom To Say
For Whom To Say HaGomel
Don't say ha'gomel for anyone other than yourself (not even for your spouse or children). Likewise, one person may not exempt the entire congregation for ha'gomel except b'di'avad.  But when an entire congregation says ha'gomel, use “gemalanu.”
HaGomel: Women
Women and HaGomel
Women customarily do not say ha'gomel. A woman does not say ha'gomel after childbirth.
 
Blessings: Natural Phenomena
Blessings: Comets
Blessings: Comets: How Often
Say oseh ma'aseh v'reishit only once per comet.
Blessings: Earthquakes
Blessings: Earthquakes: Cycle of Earthquakes
Say she'kocho u'gvurato malei olam or oseh ma'aseh v'reishit (either is correct) once per earthquake. Don't say the blessing on aftershocks.
Note One cycle of quakes and aftershocks is still considered just one earthquake, even if it lasts more than one day.
Blessing: Eclipses
Blessings: Eclipses: Solar and Lunar Eclipses
There is no blessing for eclipses.
Blessings: Meteors
Blessings: Meteors: How Often
Say oseh ma'aseh v'reishit once per night.
Blessings: Mountains
Blessings: Mountains Renown for Their Height
Say oseh ma'aseh v'reishit once per month on mountains, but only on very large mountains that are famous for their height and that you have not seen within 30 days.  
Blessings: Oceans
Blessings:
Say she'asa et ha'yam ha'gadol when you can see an ocean or the Mediterranean sea, but only:
  • While you are present, and
  • After not having seen it for at least 30 days.
Note If you forgot to say it and returned the next day, you may not say the blessing.
Blessings: Rainbows
Blessings: Rainbows: Looking and Blessing
The blessing over rainbows is zocheir ha'brit v'ne'eman bi'vrito, v'kayam b'ma'amaro
Note You may not gaze at a rainbow, but you may look at it for up to 2.5 seconds, then look away, and then look back repeatedly an unlimited number of times.

NOTEDon't tell other people that a rainbow is visible. But if they see you looking or hear you saying the blessing, you may tell them that there is a rainbow and you may tell them the correct blessing to say.

Blessings: Storms
Blessings: Thunder
Say the blessing she'kocho u'gvurato malei olam if you hear thunder. (See Blessings: Thunder/Lightning: Which First)
Blessings: Lightning
Start saying the blessing oseh ma'aseh v'reishit within 2 ½ seconds of seeing a lightning flash; otherwise, do not say the blessing at all.
Note You do not need to see the actual lightning bolt--you must just see the light from lightning, even if reflected from something. 
Note The lightning must be from a rainstorm, but you may say the blessing on lightning even if it is not raining where you are, as long as you can hear thunder first. (See Blessings: Thunder/Lightning: Which First and Blessings: Thunder/Lightning: How Often)
Blessings: Thunder/Lightning: Which First
Always say she'kocho u'gvurato malei olam (on thunder) before oseh ma'aseh v'reishit (on lightning.) 
If you see lighting but don't hear thunder, do not say oseh ma'aseh v'reishit at all.
Blessings: Thunder/Lightning: How Often
Say she'kocho u'gvurato malei olam (on thunder) and oseh ma'aseh v'reishit (on lightning) only once per storm. If you hear thunder over telephone or microphone, you may not say kocho u'gvurato.
Note If the storm clouds clear and another storm comes along, you may say blessings again, even on the same day.
 
Kiddush Levana
Introduction to Kiddush Levana
Introduction to Kiddush Levana: Thanksgiving
Kiddush levana expresses our thanks to God for having made the moon, which affects our lives (tides, weather, crops, biological clocks) and provides us benefits in many ways (light at night, basis for determining our calendar and our holidays).
Kiddush Levana: What To See
Kiddush Levana: What To See: How Clear the Moon
You do not need to see the moon completely clearly in order to say kiddush levana, but you must be able to see the outline of the moon.
Kiddush Levana: When To Say
Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Molad
Although the traditional time to say kiddush levana is after Shabbat, you may say kiddush levana from the third day (three periods of 24 hours) after the molad until 14 days and 18 hours after the molad.  Ideal is after seven 24-hour periods.
Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Custom not To Say
It is customary not to say kiddush levana:
  • During the Nine Days before and including Tish'a b'Av;
  • On Friday night, and
  • On the evening of a Jewish festival.
Many people also have the custom not to say kiddush levana during the first 10 days of Tishrei.
However, you should do so if you do not expect to see the moon on any other night (due to weather or other factors), rather than miss the chance to say it that month. If you do say kiddush levana on Friday night or the after nightfall of a Jewish festival, say only the blessing, not the Psalms and other phrases that are normally said.
Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Night
You may say kiddush levana (blessing on the new moon) only at night, after dark/tzeit ha'kochavim.
Kiddush Levana: When To Say: When No Dark
At the high latitudes, you may say kiddush levana during any season when the sky gets dark but not during seasons when the sky does not get dark.
Kiddush Levana: When To Say: Shabbat
You may say kiddush levana on Shabbat, if needed.
Examples
  • Shabbat is the last possible night that month to say kiddush levana.
  • The forecast is for clouds for the other nights until it will be too late that month to say kiddush levana.
 
Note On Shabbat, say only the blessing of kiddush levana, not the psalms or other phrases (psukim).
Kiddush Levana: Who Says
Kiddush Levana: Minyan
You do not need a minyan to say kiddush levana.
Kiddush Levana: Women
Women do not say kiddush levana.
Kiddush Levana: What To Say
Kiddush Levana: Minimum Blessing
The minimum you may say of kiddush levana and fulfill the mitzva is the blessing. The psalms and other psukim are customary but are not required.
Asher Yatzar
Asher Yatzar: Minimum
The minimum amount to urinate or defecate and be able to say asher yatzar is any quantity (kolshehu).
Asher Yatzar: Timing
If you did not say asher yatzar immediately after finishing, you may still say the blessing until the next time you feel the need to urinate or defecate.
Asher Yatzar with No Water
Say asher yatzar, even when you cannot wash your hands, such as when you do not have any water with you.
Note In any case, your hands must be clean; if they are not, you must wipe them off on something before saying the blessing.
Asher Yatzar: Saying for Someone Else
You may say asher yatzar for someone else if you need to say it also.
Asher Yatzar or After-Blessing
If you are eating and stopped to use the toilet, you may say either asher yatzar or the after-blessing on the food first.
Asher Yatzar Underwater
After urinating while scuba diving, say asher yatzar. The water is sufficient as a head covering or, better, you may cover your head with your wetsuit sleeve.
Blessing the Children/Birkat HaBanim
Introduction to Blessing the Children/Birkat HaBanim
The Blessing for the Children has two parts:
  1. Introduction
    For Boys: “Yesimcha Elohim k'Efraim v'chi'Menashe
    (May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe)

    For Girls: “Yesimeich Elohim k'Sara, Rivka, Rachel, v'Leah” 
    (May God make you like Sara, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah)
    Note The formula asks God to make the boys like Ephraim and Menashe but to make the girls like Sarah, Rivka/Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. We might think that Sara, Rivka/Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah should be paired with their husbands, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob instead of with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yet, while Isaac and Jacob had the advantage of growing up in religious homes and in Eretz Yisrael, all of the fore-mothers as well as Ephraim and Menashe lived righteous lives even though all grew up in bad environments outside of Eretz Yisrael.
  2. Priestly Blessing/Birkat Cohanim (Numbers/Bamidbar 6:24-26)
    This is the blessing that the priests (cohanim) use when blessing the Jewish people.  For words to the blessing, please click here and scroll down to "Birkat Cohanim": http://practicalhalacha.com/blessings#B.
Blessing the Children: When To Bless
Bless children on:
  • Friday night,
  • Saturday night (this is so we start the new week with a blessing), and
  • Jewish festival nights.
Note This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.
Blessing the Children: Who Should Bless
Who should bless the children:
  • Anyone may bless children, but it is best for both parents to do so.
  • Parents may ask any other adult to be their emissary to bless their children. 
 
Blessing the Children: How To Bless: How To Place Hands
You may use one or two hands when giving a blessing, such as when blessing children on Shabbat or Jewish festivals. You may hold your hands over the person's head or actually put your hands on their head--either is OK.
Blessing the Children: How To Bless: From Afar
Parents may bless their children by telephone if not nearby. This is a non-binding custom, not a halacha.