Rabbi Menachem Genack
Shiur of Achila For Birchat Hamazon Deorita
The verse says, “When you have eaten and are satisfied…” (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Baal HaTurim notes that the gematria of “Veachalta” is “Zehu Kzayit.” There’s an argument among the Rishonim if one has to make a Birkat Hamazon mideorita after eating a Kzayit. Rambam, Tosefos and many other Rishonim hold a Kzayit is only miderabanan, because mideorita you need “seviah.” The Raavad and Ramban hold a Kzayit obligates one mideorita. Therefore, according to the Rishonim who say “seviah” is needed, if one ate a Kzayit and was in doubt whether he said Birkat Hamazon, he would not repeat it as it will be a safek miderabanan lekula, for only eating to “seviah” would require one to repeat. In that case, the words of the Baal HaTurim need explanation, for he says “Veachalta” equals in gematria “Zehu Kzayit,” which should only be mederabanan.
We must say the Tur holds like the Raavad, that a Kzayit is mideorita. In Orach Chaim (Siman 184) the Tur writes with no differentiations, “if one ate and he doesn’t know if he said Birkat Hamazon, he must repeat it.” It would seem to apply then even to a Kzayit, because the Tur holds a Kzayit is mideorita. However, the Shulchan Aruch (Siman 184: Seif 4) writes the same language of the Tur and the Magen Avraham understands this only to apply to a case of “seviah.”
We may however say that even if the Tur holds Kzayit is miderabanan (like his father the Rosh), there is still an aspect of deorita, because besides “seviah,” “achila” is needed. The Minchat Chinuch writes (Mitzvah 430), that if one ate less than a Kzayit and he was satiated, he is not chayav in Birkat Hamazon because a Kzayit is needed to be yotze a “shem” achila because “veachalta” is written. The Minchat Chinuch further writes that he is in doubt in a case where one ate a Kzayit “bechdai achilas pras” and the rest to reach “sevih,” but it wasn’t done “bechdai achilas pras,” whether one is then obligated in Birkat Hamazon deorita or not. For indeed a Kzayit is deorita, for you need “bechdai achilas pras,” but you also need to be full. This must be what the Baal HaTurim means when he alludes to the fact that Kzayit is mideorita, because according to everyone there is an aspect of a Kzayit deorita by Birkat Hamazon.
Tosefos (Brachot 39a s.v. Batzar) brings two opinions regarding one who ate a “predah” of a grape that was less than a Kzayit, if this person must make a bracha achrona since it was a “beriah” (the fruit in totality). It would seem this in fact is the machlokat about a Kzayit for bracha achrona. If the reason for a Kzayit is that “achila” is necessary, then a “beriah” is considered “achila” even without a Kzayit. But if the Kzayit for the bracha achrona is not only because a shem achila is necessary but because “seviah” and benefit is needed as well, then the fact that it’s a “beriah” won’t help.
From the Baal HaTurim it seems there is more of a Kzayit by Birkat Hamazon than “achila” in all of the Torah, because the Baal HaTurim’s remez just relates to Birkat Hamazon even though by “maachulos assuros” and Matzah that are mentioned in the Torah, a Kzayit is required as well, but Rabbi Genack concludes that it is possible to refute this proof.
Birchat Yitzchak – Pages – 257-258
Rav Avraham Genechovsky Zt”l
Shulchan Aruch: Siman 184 Seif 4
A Safek Whether One Ate to a Level of “Seviah” – Must He Make Birkat Hamazon Mesafek
The Aruch Hashulchan writes (Siman 184, Seif 6) that the only time one must repeat Birkat Hamzon mideorita from a safek is when he knows he ate but he remains in doubt whether he actually bentched, for then there is a “chezkat” chiyuv. However, if he is unsure whether he ate, he would not repeat Birkat Hamazon. (As will be mentioned, his sevara is that there is a safek deorita which would go lechumra, but there is also a safek issur derabanan of a bracha levatala which is also assur due to a safek [derabanan] and since he might not have eaten there is no chazaka to bentch).
This opinion of the Aruch Hashulchan is not agreed to by most other opinions. The Beir Heitev (Siman 184, Seif Katan 6) brings in the name of the Tshuvat Kol Ben Levi that one would be required to repeat bentching in the scenario of the Aruch Hashulchan. Also, Rabbi Akiva Eger says that in such a case there is no concern about a bracha levatala in a case where he is unsure whether he bentched since he is obligated me’safek and not based on a chezkat chiyuv. The Pri Megadim echoes this idea as well.
However, the Aruch Hashulachan’s sevara is still worthy, since on the one hand there is a safek deorita but there is also a safek issur derabanan of a bracha levatala which is also assur from a safek. But since we hold like those that say in such a case, me’safek deorita one must bentch again, the sevara of sefaka deorita lechumra will take hold.
(Rav Avrohom then brings a further proof that one must bentch me’safek from another Magen Avraham and a Mate Ephraim).
Rav Venkin Shlita asks on the Aruch Hashulchan that since he has a chiyuv Birkat Hamazon me’safek, but he can’t say it because of the chashash of bracha levatala, let him eat a Kzayit of “pas” or be yotze from someone else, for who exempted one from searching to complete the mitzvah, as we find by shofar, where in a case of safek one must travel to another city.
The Halachos Ketanos argues that this should be a sefek sefeka for maybe he didn’t eat at all and if he did maybe he didn’t eat a Kzayit. However, Rav Avrohom wants to suggest that the safek of Kzayit doesn’t have “mamashos” and in fact there’s only one “shem” here.
In a case where he is in doubt whether he is still within the shiur “ikul” or not, and he ate to a level of “seviah” he would definitely have to repeat bentching, even though it could be a bracha levatala, just as we see in the case of when one is not sure whether he ate and we established most opinions say a repetition is necessary.
Sefer BarAlmugim – Siman 56 – Pages – 292-294
Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Genack)
Brachos Perek 6 Mishna 1
Lechem Min Hashamayim U’min Ha’aretz
Though the Mishnayos of brachos begins with discussing Kriyat Shema, it is not named for that nor is it named for Tefillah, even though it is discussed often. Instead it’s named for the sixth Perek, Mishna Aleph regarding the topic of how one recite blessings for fruits. On fruits growing on a tree, one says, “Who created the fruit of the tree,” for wine; one says, “Who created the fruit of the vine.” On fruits growing from the earth, one says, “Who created the fruit of the ground,” on bread, one says, “Who brings forth bread from the earth.” On vegetables, one says, “Who created the fruit of the ground.” Rabbi Yehudah says: [One should say instead,] “Who created various types of herbs.” (For a deeper discussion of this theme see Nishmat Hamishna: Pages 81-82).
It’s clear that one central aspect gleaned from this Mishna is that the fruits of Eretz Yisroel are the point of emphasis. The brachos in the Mishna are discussing blessing G-d for his creations. The question then remains, what is the connection between blessing creation and the land of Eretz Yisroel. The answer can be found in the manna that sustained Bnei Yisroel in the desert. The manna is called “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4).
Deutoronomy tells us the lesson we must take form this manna upon entering Eretz Yisroel, as it says: And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy G-d chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy G-d, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy G-d bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy G-d for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy G-d, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy G-d, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. (Deuteronomy 8: 3-17).
The story of “creation” and the blessings on the foods of creation teaches about the direct connection of the giving between G-d and man. However, as generations passed man forgot that G-d was the provider of everything. Towards that end, G-d changed nature and brought manna from the heavens, teaching us what we forgot from the beginning of creation. Upon entering the land therefore, we must remember this miraculous giving and realize all fruits from the ground are given directly from G-d as well. This is the foundation of these aforementioned pesukim, to make a blessing after we eat, as it says, “thou shalt bless the LORD thy G-d for the good ‘land’ which he hath given thee” (Id. 8:10).
Further, it can be noted, the bracha we say before we eat bread is “hamotzei lechem min haaretz,” (for not only does G-d deliver bread from “shamayim” but also min “haaretz”).
Translated excerpt from Nishmat HaMishna Pages – 89-90