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By Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld | Series: | Level:

It is desirable to hold a cup of wine while saying grace after a meal, especially if three or more people are saying grace together (182:1;201:4). It is preferable to use wine, rather than other beverages, for this purpose (182:2). If only one cup of wine is available at the meal, if possible it should be used when saying grace (174:3). Wine that has been drunk from should not be used, if possible, unless it is replenished; see 182:3-7. The cup should not be imperfect (183:3), and if it is not clean, it should be rinsed (see 183:1). It should be filled completely, and for this purpose (183:2). The person who says grace should receive the cup with both hands, should then hold it up in his right hand and not touch it with his left, and should look at it while saying grace (see 182:2;183:4-5). After finishing grace, he recites the blessing on the wine and someone drinks from it; on giving some of it to others see 190:1,4,5. At least one person should drink at least a mouthful of it (see 190:3) and should then recite the blessing after wine (190:2-3; see Ch.16).

When three or more men eat together, one of them must call on the group to say grace. On the wording used see 192:1-2; when there are ten or more, the wording includes G-d’s Name. Two men who eat together should attempt to find a third who can join them; if not, they should say grace separately if they both know how (see 193:1). A group who ate together should not subdivide to say grace unless there are at least three (and if possible, ten) in each subgroup (see 193:1;200:1). However, a majority of a group may say grace even if someone has not finished eating (see 200:1); that person may resume eating after listening to the beginning of their grace (see 200:2). On the definition of “together” in connection with saying grace see 193:2-6;194:1-2;195:1-3;197:1; see also 196:1-4 and 197:2-4 on the types and amounts of food that were eaten. A person who does not know the blessings may participate in the group (194:3;199:3,10), and so may a person who is serving (199:1); but non-Jews (see 199:2,4), women (see 199:6-9), children (see 199:6,10), people who are exempt from saying grace (see 196:4;199:5), and people who are under a ban (199:11) must not participate. On who should lead the group see 183:7;197:2,4;201:1-3. It is preferable that a guest should lead, so he can bless the host; see 201:1. On how a person responds if he is not part of the group see 198:1.

On the wording of grace after meals see 187:1-4;188:1-4;189:1. On the passages that are added if the meal began on a Sabbath, New Moon, holiday, CHANUKAH or PURIM see 187:4;188:5,10;271:6; on omissions and errors see 188:6-9. On grace in the house of a mourner see 189:2. Grace may be said in any language (185:1); it should be recited audibly if possible (185:2). A person may fulfill the obligation of saying grace by listening to another person (who is required to say it; see 186:1-2) without interruption (see 183:6) and answering “Amen” to each blessing (see 185:3;198:1); but if possible, he too should recite each blessing silently (see 183:7).

Saying grace is a Biblical requirement; a person must recite it if he is uncertain whether he has already done so (184:4). A person who has eaten less than a KE-ZAYIS (a piece the size of olive) is exempt from reciting it (168:9;184:6). A woman is required to recite it, at least rabbinically (186:1); a child is rabbinically required to recite it so he can learn it (186:2). A drunk person may recite it, but if he was very drunk he may be required to repeat it later (see 185:4-5). On reciting it in the presence of excrement see 185:5; on workmen saying grace see 191:1-2.

A person must say grace in the place where he finishes eating (178:4-5; 184:1-3) and before he gets hungry again (see 184:5). He should recite it sitting down, even if he ate standing or lying down, but he need not sit down if he ate while walking (183:9,11). [According to some, these rules also apply to the blessings after other types of food (178:5;183:10;184:3,5); see Ch.16.] Grace should not be said while engaged in any other activity (183:12;191:3), and it should not be interrupted by speaking (see 183:6,8

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.