Birkat HaMazon: Grace After Meals

Learn How

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Let’s Learn T’fillah: The First Paragraph of Ashkenazi Birkat Hamazon

Let’s Learn T’fillah: The First Paragraph of Ashkenazi Birkat Hamazon

This short animated video from Rabbi David Paskin demonstrates how to sing the first paragraph of the Ashkenazi Grace After Meals clearly and slowly. With on-screen Hebrew text and a narrator suggesting when to pause the video to practice certain parts, this video is an excellent

How to Recite the Reform Abbreviated Grace After Meals

How to Recite the Reform Abbreviated Grace After Meals

In this instructional video, Rabbi Gary Pokras demonstrates how to recite the abbreviated version of the Grace After Meals for Shabbat recited by Reform communities. He sings the blessing slowly and clearly while pointing to the words in a prayer book so that viewers can follow

Laws and Customs Practiced in Preparation for the Grace After Meals

Laws and Customs Practiced in Preparation for the Grace After Meals

In this halachic discourse, Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir of the Orthodox Union, discusses the obligations and customs Jews practice before reciting the Grace After Meals, including washing hands, leaving the leftover bread on the table, and covering up knives on the table. This informative article

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

How to Sing Ashkenazi Grace After Meals for Shabbat (with transliteration)

How to Sing Ashkenazi Grace After Meals for Shabbat (with transliteration)

This 13 minute video demonstrates how to sing the entire Ashkenazi version of the Grace After Meals for Shabbat using a popular tune. With a slow pace and onscreen transliterated captions, this is a helpful resource for anyone who want to learn how to sing the blessing. From a

How to Sing the Abbreviated Grace After Meals for Shabbat (Reform)

How to Sing the Abbreviated Grace After Meals for Shabbat (Reform)

In this 7 minute video, Rabbi Micah Greenstein introduces and sings the abbreviated Grace After Meals for Shabbat according to the Reform tradition, including the introductory Psalm recited on Shabbat, a gender-inclusive version of the invitation (zimmun) recited in a group, and a special line added for

Beginning of Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio & Text)

Beginning of Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio & Text)

These recordings presents the beginning of the Grace After Meals according to Ashkenazi custom, sung with the modern Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew in a slow, clear voice to a popular melody. Chazzan Shoshi Rosenbaum of Mechon Hadar sings Shir Hamaalot (the Psalm sung before the blessing on

Some Technical Laws of the Grace After Meals

Some Technical Laws of the Grace After Meals

In this highly technical article from Aish.com, Rabbis Chaim Gross and Shraga Simmons explain the sources, structure, and intricate halachot (laws) of reciting Bircat Hamazon according to Orthodox Judaism. Part of the “Crash Course in Jewish Blessings” series, this article would be useful for those seeking a

Techincal Laws of the Grace After Meals

Techincal Laws of the Grace After Meals

This highly technical article from Halachipedia.com explains the detailed laws associated with reciting the Grace After Meals according to Orthodox tradition. Some questions answered in this article include: How long do I have to say Bircat Hamazon once I am finished eating? What is the minimum amount of bread

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Customs

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Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio + Text)

Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio + Text)

This recording presents the complete Grace After Meals according to Ashkenazi custom, sung with the modern Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew in a slow, clear voice to a popular melody. Performed by Sandy Bernstein, Chazzan of Congregation Beth El-Ner Tamid (CBENT), and shared by the American Jewish

Abbreviated Grace After Meals: The Four Blessings

Abbreviated Grace After Meals: The Four Blessings

This post includes the Hebrew text of the abbreviated version of the Grace After Meals, along with a printable PDF file that contains the English translation and transliteration. This shortened version of the blessing, which includes the four essential blessings contained within the longer text,

Mizrahi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Audio & Text)

Mizrahi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Audio & Text)

This post presents the Hebrew text and an audio recording of the full weekday Grace After Meals, according to the custom and pronunciation of Edot HaMizrach practiced by many Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jews. The audio is performed by Cantor Moshe Habusha, a Jerusalem-born singer and musician

Al HaNissim for Hannukah

Al HaNissim for Hannukah

Al HaNissim is a short paragraph added to the Amidah prayer and the Grace After Meals on Hannukah, thanking God for the miraculous redemption celebrated on this holiday and briefly retelling the story of Hannukah. The full Hebrew and English text can be seen below. The

A Reform Summer Camp’s Abbreviated Grace After Meals with Hand Motions

A Reform Summer Camp’s Abbreviated Grace After Meals with Hand Motions

This almost 3 minute video from URJ Camp Kalsman demonstrates how the campers and staff at this Reform camp recite a shortened version of the traditional Grace After Meals with hand motions that reflect the meaning of the blessing. Recited clearly and slowly to a

Nusach Ari Grace After Meals (Audio & Hebrew text)

Nusach Ari Grace After Meals (Audio & Hebrew text)

This post presents an almost 5 minute long audio recording and the Hebrew text for the Nusach Ari version of the Grace After Meals. Nusach Ari refers to the prayer customs of 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari, as well as the derivative version of his

Preliminary Psalms Recited Prior to the Grace After Meals

Preliminary Psalms Recited Prior to the Grace After Meals

This short excerpt from Wikipedia briefly presents the various customs as to which Psalms are traditionally recited prior to the Grace After Meals on different days, including the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts below.  Preliminary Psalms Psalm 126, Shir Hama’alot (Song of Ascents), which expresses the Jewish hope

Yemenite/Baladi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Text)

Yemenite/Baladi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Text)

This post presents the Hebrew text for the Nusach Baladi Grace After Meals used by many Yemenite Jews. The blessing is preceded by the recitation of Psalm 23 and Psalm 77. Nusach Baladi uses a unique Yemenite pronunciation of Hebrew, which some scholars regard as

One Line Grace After Meals

One Line Grace After Meals

The one-line version of the Grace After Meals, presented below in Aramaic, English and transliterated, has been adopted for general use in many Conservative communities. Some Conservative prayer books include this Aramaic phrase along with additions in English. There are several different shortened versions of the

By the Sweat of Their Brow: An Alternative Humanist Grace After Meals

By the Sweat of Their Brow: An Alternative Humanist Grace After Meals

This post offers two poems in Hebrew and English, excerpts from Dr. Tzemah Yoreh‘s work, “By the Sweat of their Brow, a Humanist Birkon.” After a brief explanation of the rationale behind his project, Dr. Yoreh offers a poem that references Biblical characters who altruistically fed

Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated: An Ecological Grace After Meals

Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated: An Ecological Grace After Meals

This post provides the PDF file of “Haveri Nevarekh: Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated: A Birkon” by Aharon Varady. Pages 14-30 offer an adapted version of the traditional Hebrew Ashkenazi Grace After Meals with an English translation that emphasizes the deep ecological wisdom

Ya Comimos: Ladino Prayer Following Grace After Meals

Ya Comimos: Ladino Prayer Following Grace After Meals

This post includes the lyrics for “Ya Comimos” in traditional Ladino, modern Ladino, and English. This poetic prayer is recited after the traditional Grace After Meals by some Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent. Also known as Judeo-Spanish, Ladino was initially simply the language of the province in

Conservative Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio + Text)

Conservative Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Audio + Text)

In this audio recording, Rabbi Barry Kenter of the Greenburgh Hebrew Center sings the Shabbat version of the Grace After Meals according to Conservative Ashkenazi tradition. Conveniently separated into 14 audio recordings and accompanied by a PDF file with the Hebrew, English and transliterated text, this is a

Bendigamos Al Altísimo: A Spanish Grace After Meals Hymn (Audio & Text)

Bendigamos Al Altísimo: A Spanish Grace After Meals Hymn (Audio & Text)

Bendigamos (literally “Let Us Bless”) is a Spanish hymn traditionally sung after meals by Jews of Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish descent (in addition to the traditional Grace After Meals.) This post includes a Wikipedia article describing this custom, as well as an audio recording and the lyrics

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Reform Abbreviated Grace After Meals (Audio & Text)

Reform Abbreviated Grace After Meals (Audio & Text)

This post includes an audio recording of an abbreviated version of the Grace After Meals, accompanied by the Hebrew, English, and and transliterated text. According to many opinions, this shortened version is only used when time is lacking. It contains shortened versions of the four essential blessings

Complete Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Text)

Complete Ashkenazi Grace After Meals (Hebrew Text)

The following Hebrew text presents the Ashkenazi custom for the Grace After Meals from Tefillos.com. This is useful resource for Ashkenazi Jews who read Hebrew fluently and simply looking for the text. Tefillos.com is essentially an online weekday prayer book.

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Music

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Rabbi Shefa Gold Chants the Ben Ish Chai’s Shortened Birkat Hamazon

Rabbi Shefa Gold Chants the Ben Ish Chai’s Shortened Birkat Hamazon

This post presents Rabbi Shefa Gold’s meditative Aramaic and English chant based on the Ben Ish Chai’s one-line version of the Grace After Meals. The Ben Ish Chai (Rabbi Yosef Hayim, 1835-1909), was a leading Sephardic rabbi and Kabbalist who lived in Baghdad. He ruled that in extreme

Piamenta’s Rock Song Inspired by the Grace After Meals

Piamenta’s Rock Song Inspired by the Grace After Meals

This video presents Yosi Piamenta’s original rock song inspired by the Grace After Meals. Although most of this 8 minute long song is made up of musical jams, the lyrics (which are shown on the screen in Hebrew and English) are allegedly an ancient form of the Grace

Fortuna Performs “Bendigamos” Sephardic Grace After Meals Hymn

Fortuna Performs “Bendigamos” Sephardic Grace After Meals Hymn

This video clip presents Brazilian singer, songwriter and actress, Fortuna, performing “Bendigamos Al Altísimo,” a Spanish hymn traditionally sung after meals by Jews of Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish descent. Fortuna, a Sephardic Jew who sings mainly in Hebrew and Ladino, researches Sephardic history and customs, with the

Al HaNissim for Hannukah

Al HaNissim for Hannukah

Al HaNissim is a short paragraph added to the Amidah prayer and the Grace After Meals on Hannukah, thanking God for the miraculous redemption celebrated on this holiday and briefly retelling the story of Hannukah. The full Hebrew and English text can be seen below. The

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Shir Hama’alot

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Shir Hama’alot

This audio recording features Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach singing his original melody for Psalm 126, Shir Hama’alot (Song of Ascents), which is widely recited by Ashkenazi Jews before the Grace After Meals on Shabbat, Jewish holidays and other days on which the penitential Tachanun prayer is not recited. It expresses the Jewish hope of return to Zion following their final redemption. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Meydad Tasa: “Al Naharot Bavel” (By the Rivers of Babylon)

Meydad Tasa: “Al Naharot Bavel” (By the Rivers of Babylon)

This music video features Medad Tasa singing a popular tune for the first six verses of Psalm 137 (By the Rivers of Babylon), which is sometimes recited prior to the Grace After Meals on weekdays. This Psalm describes the reactions of the Jews in exile as would have been

Bendigamos Al Altísimo: A Spanish Grace After Meals Hymn (Audio & Text)

Bendigamos Al Altísimo: A Spanish Grace After Meals Hymn (Audio & Text)

Bendigamos (literally “Let Us Bless”) is a Spanish hymn traditionally sung after meals by Jews of Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish descent (in addition to the traditional Grace After Meals.) This post includes a Wikipedia article describing this custom, as well as an audio recording and the lyrics

A Musical Version of Nusach Ari Grace After Meals

A Musical Version of Nusach Ari Grace After Meals

This almost 12 minute long audio recording presents the Nusach Ari version of the Grace After Meals sung slowly by Rabbi Sasson Natan to an upbeat, joyful tune with musical accompaniment. Nusach Ari refers to the prayer customs of 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria,

Spiritual Sustenance: Shoshannah’s Rendition of Popular Grace After Meals on Piano

Spiritual Sustenance: Shoshannah’s Rendition of Popular Grace After Meals on Piano

This audio clip presents internationally acclaimed composer and pianist, Shoshannah, performing the most popular tune for the Grace After Meals. A mindbody therapist, holistic nutritionist, and healing pianist, Shoshannah uses music to bring spiritual unity, peace, and compassion to the world. She invites listeners to

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Informative Articles & Videos

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“Benching” 101: The Origin, Stucture, Customs and History of the Grace After Meals

“Benching” 101: The Origin, Stucture, Customs and History of the Grace After Meals

This comprehensive introductory article by Kate Palley provides a thorough explanation for people of all knowledge levels on the origin, structure, customs, and history of the Grace After Meals. The author clarifies the circumstances under which one is required to recite this blessing and explains the function of a zimmun (invitation

Women and Zimmun

Women and Zimmun

This two page article by Jennifer Breger summarizes the complicated subject of a women’s participation in a “Zimmun,” (literally, “invitation”) the opening verses of the Grace After Meals recited responsively when people have eaten together as a group. Referencing many halachic sources, the author differentiates

A Historical Approach to the Composition and Structure of the Grace After Meals

A Historical Approach to the Composition and Structure of the Grace After Meals

This thorough article by Rabbi Yizchak Etshalom outlines the structure of the Grace After Meals, explaining how the Biblical command to thank God for the food and land is fulfilled through this lengthy prayer, written by multiple authors throughout Jewish history. This historical approach is most

Introduction to the Grace After Meals

Introduction to the Grace After Meals

This thorough and informative article explains the structure, content, and development of the Grace After Meals, as well as some spiritual intentions behind the ritual and explanations of various customs. Due to its use of Hebrew and references to the Hebrew text of the prayer,

Why Say Bircat Hamazon? A Halachic and Spiritual Approach from Maimonides

Why Say Bircat Hamazon? A Halachic and Spiritual Approach from Maimonides

In this ten-minute video featured on Chabad.org, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan discusses the halachic and spiritual significance of the Grace After Meals according to Maimonides (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204), a highly influential leader, philosopher, Torah scholar, and physician. Maimonides points out that Judaism is the only

A Brief Introduction to the Grace After Meals

A Brief Introduction to the Grace After Meals

This short post offers a basic overview of the Grace After Meals, including its biblical sources, an explanation of its structure, and links to the full Hebrew, English and transliterated texts of the traditional Ashkenazi blessing. What is Birkat Hamazon? ‘Birkat Hamazon,’ literally ‘the blessing

An Esoteric, Historical and Halachic Analysis of the Grace After Meals

An Esoteric, Historical and Halachic Analysis of the Grace After Meals

This 46 minute lecture from Chabad.org is an in-depth exploration of some esoteric, historical and halachic ideas around the Grace After Meals by Rabbi Yehuda Leib Schapiro, the dean of the Yeshiva Gedola Rabbinical College of Greater Miami, the Rabbi of Congregation Beis Menachem, and a community

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Rav Kook: Blessings Over Bread and Torah

Rav Kook: Blessings Over Bread and Torah

This excerpt, written by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, explores the dual benefits we gain from both eating and studying Torah, comparing the Grace After Meals and the blessing over studying Torah. Rav Kook, the First Ashkenazi Cheif Rabbi of Israel, was a revered Torah scholar,

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What else?

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Marcia Falk’s Grace After Meals Prayer

Marcia Falk’s Grace After Meals Prayer

This excerpt from Marcia Falk‘s “The Book of Blessings” offers a short prayer based on the basic blessings of the Grace After Meals. The Hebrew, English and transliterated texts inspire gratitude to both the Earth and the Source of all things for our sustenance. Marcia Falk is

Alternative Blessings, Food for Thought, and Thought for Food

Alternative Blessings, Food for Thought, and Thought for Food

This two page PDF document includes a variety of blessings, meditations, teachings and customs to be performed before, during and after eating in order to elevate this seemingly mundane physical act into a spiritual, intentional experience. The ideas come from a wide range of sources,

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s Creative Interpretation of the Grace After Meals

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s Creative Interpretation of the Grace After Meals

This innovative translation of the Ashkenazi Grace After Meals by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the father of the Jewish Renewal movement, brings the English translation to life. Schachter-Shalomi, warmly known as ‘Reb Zalman,’ provides a soulful, vivid interpretation, allowing people to connect to this prayer on a

Mayim Achronim: Washing the Finger Tips Prior to Grace After Meals

Mayim Achronim: Washing the Finger Tips Prior to Grace After Meals

This brief post by Rabbi Baruch Davidson outlines the laws, customs and meaning behind the commandment to wash one’s fingertips after eating, prior to reciting the Grace After Meals. Rabbi Davidson is a writer for Chabad.org, the official website of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement. 

A Poetic Translation of Shir Hama’alot (Psalm 126)

A Poetic Translation of Shir Hama’alot (Psalm 126)

This post presents Shim’on Menachem’s poetic and nuanced translation and interpretation of Psalm 126, which is traditionally recited before the Grace After Meals by Ashkekazi Jews on Shabbat, holidays, and other days on which the penitential Tachanun prayer is not recited. According to Menachem, this post-exilic Psalm switches its narrative

Prayer for the Peace of Two States for Two Peoples (for the Birkat Hamazon)

Prayer for the Peace of Two States for Two Peoples (for the Birkat Hamazon)

This Hebrew and English text by Ira Tick is a prayer for a peaceful, just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict written for inclusion in the Grace After Meals. While the author’s political opinions are clearly stated, people of varying political stances could use this text

A Social Justice Themed Thanksgiving Adaptation of the Grace After Meals

A Social Justice Themed Thanksgiving Adaptation of the Grace After Meals

This post presents an English adaptation of the traditional Grace After Meals written by Interfaith Workers Justice, an American organization that engages faith communities  as allies in advancing workers’ rights. Composed for Thanksgiving, this prayer inspires gratitude to God, America, and food laborers for their food and

Grace After Meals Meditation Based on Traditional Sources

Grace After Meals Meditation Based on Traditional Sources

This post suggests a Grace After Meals mediation for gratitude, intention, and blessing, based on two separate verses from Jewish liturgy. The first is a Hebrew verse from the last paragraph of the Edot Hamizrach Grace After Meals recited by Jews of Sephardic, Middle Eastern,

The Importance of Reciting the Grace After Meals (Yiddish)

The Importance of Reciting the Grace After Meals (Yiddish)

This 8 minute long video, which targets a Yiddish speaking audience, seeks to enlighten Orthodox Jews about the importance of the ritual washing of one’s hands performed before eating bread and the Grace After Meals blessing recited after eating bread. The music video follows a Hasidic

A Creative Lesson Plan to Teach the Grace After Meals to Students

A Creative Lesson Plan to Teach the Grace After Meals to Students

This  twelve-part lesson plan from The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education aims to teach middle school students the meaning and purpose of the Grace after Meals, using it as a gateway to conveying the importance of Jewish prayer as a whole. Through hevruta (learning in pairs), students

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