In 2010, while working with Nili Simhai and the other Jewish environmental educators at the Teva Learning Center, I began working on a Birkon containing a translation of the birkat hamazon that emphasized the deep ecological wisdom contained within the Rabbinic Jewish tradition. I continued working on it over the next several years adding two additional sections of source texts to illuminate the concept of ḥesronan (lit. absence or lacking) and the mitsvah of lo tashḥit (bal tashḥit). I invite you to include these works into your birkon along with other work that I’ve helped to share through the Open Siddur — especially Perek Shirah and other prayers that express delight in the created world and our role in it, l’ovdah u’lshomrah — to cultivate and preserve this living and magnificent Earth.
|Source (Hebrew)||Translation (English)|
לימודי תורה לפני המזון
Some Torah to Review Before Eating
וְֽאוּלָ֗ם שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בְהֵמֹ֣ות וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ
וְעֹ֥וף הַ֝שָּׁמַ֗יִם וְיַגֶּד־לָֽךְ׃
אֹ֤ו שִׂ֣יחַ לָאָ֣רֶץ וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ
וִֽיסַפְּר֥וּ לְ֝ךָ֗ דְּגֵ֣י הַיָּֽם׃
You need only ask the domesticated animals and they will teach you;
The birds of the sky and they will tell you;
Or speak with the Earth and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea, they will tell you.  Iyov 12:7-8
All of life lives by virtue of every creature satisfying another creature’s needs. We rely on each other and we depend upon one another. Not one of us was created so self-sufficient that we could live independently without one another. Only the plants (including the trees) and some bacteria can make their own food out of the combination of soil minerals, water, sunlight, and atmospheric gases available on our planet. All of life on Earth (including human beings) depends on plants and bacteria for their life. We were all created lacking, with ḥesronan lit. “absence,” — dependencies — and through fulfilling each other’s needs, all the diverse multiplicity of living creatures on Earth becomes interconnected in a living Oneness. While we are obligated not to lay waste or to be callously wasteful, our bodies create the breath and food for other lifeforms to live and our choices in diet, settlement, transportation, and recreation create opportunities for other lifeforms to flourish.
What do you think is the relationship between your feeling satiated (sova) and being created with ḥesronan?
What is the connection between not being wasteful and being mindful about what we are lacking?
In the first blessing of the Birkat haMazon, in Borei Nefashot, and in the blessing on flowering fruit trees, the idea of ḥesronan is explicit. Why do these blessings all speak of our ḥesronan — our dependence?
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כָּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאָכְלָֽה׃ וּֽלְכָל־חַיַּ֣ת הָ֠אָרֶץ וּלְכָל־ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וּלְכֹ֣ל׀ רוֹמֵ֣שׂ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה אֶת־כָּל־יֶ֥רֶק עֵ֖שֶׂב לְאָכְלָ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ (בראשית א: כט-ל)
And Elohim exclaimed: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed — to you it shall be for food; and to every wild creature of the land, and to every bird in the sky, and to everything that creeps upon the ground wherein there is a living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food.’ And it was so.  Bereishit 1:29-30
Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: The first Earthling (Adam haRishon) was not permitted to eat flesh, for it is written, “[Behold I have given you all the herbs, etc.] to you it shall be for food, and to all the domesticated animals of the earth, Genesis 1:29f implying, but the wild creatures of the earth shall not be for you.  Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 59b
Rivi Yosi ben Rivi Bun said, “It is forbidden to live in a town in which there is no vegetable garden.”  Talmud Yerushalmi Ḳiddushin 4:12
When Rav Huna began to eat bread, he would open the doors of his house and and proclaim, “Whoever is in need of food may come in and eat at my table.”  Talmud Bavli Ta’anit 20b
וַעֲבַדְתֶּ֗ם אֵ֚ת יְיָ אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵרַ֥ךְ אֶֽת־לַחְמְךָ֖ וְאֶת־מֵימֶ֑יךָ וַהֲסִרֹתִ֥י מַחֲלָ֖ה מִקִּרְבֶּֽךָ׃ (שמות כג׃כה)
You shall worship haShem Eloheikhem and G‽D shall bless your bread and your water, and remove illness from your midst  Shemot 23:25 .
MISHNAH What blessing do we say over fruit? Over the fruit of trees, one says, “[Blessed are you, YHVH Eloheinu, cosmic majesty] Who forms the fruit of the tree,” except over wine; for over wine one says, “…Who forms the fruit of the vine.” Over the fruits of the Earth one says: “…Who forms the fruit of the ground,” except over bread; for over bread one says, “…Who brings forth bread from the Earth.” Over vegetables one says, “…Who forms the fruit of the ground” ; but Rebbi Yehuda declares: “…Who forms diverse kinds of herbs (desha’im).”  Talmud Bavli Tractate Brakhot 35a-b
Rabbi David Seidenberg: The Talmud (Brakhot 35a-b) teaches that eating food without saying a brakhah (a blessing) beforehand is like stealing. A lot of people know that teaching, and it’s pretty deep. But here’s an even deeper part: the Talmud doesn’t call it “stealing”, but מעילה (“me’ilah“), which means taking from sacred property that belongs to the Temple. So that means that everything in the world is sacred and this Creation is like a HOLY TEMPLE.
If me’ilah means that you can’t use property that’s sanctified, that’s because sanctified property must be used for a sacred purpose and it must be used by the priests. So if saying a brakhah changes the status of something so that you can now eat it, what status is the brakhah changing? Is it turning the food into something that’s no longer sacred and can therefore be used by an ordinary person (a הֶדיוֹט “hedyot“)? OR, is it turning the person from a hedyot into a priest?
I think it means that by saying a blessing before we eat–or before we take in any pleasure that has a brakhah–we become like priests administering to Creation, which means we take on an awesome responsibility: that we should act not just for our own sake but for the sake of all people and all beings. That’s the role of the priest in the Temple.
I bless us that we all merit to really see the world through such eyes, and that our every act of eating, of taking, from this world, be an act of sanctification and blessing — meaning, not just blessing God, but bringing blessing, to all the creatures that we share this planet with. Or, in Rabbi Moshe Cordovero‘s words, זֶה הַכְּלָל, הַחֶמְלָה עַל כָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים שֶׁלֹּא לְחַבְּלָם, תְּלוּיָה בְּחָכְמָה — may we live and work and act so that our actions “cause life to stream forth, to all beings”.
וַיַּ֥עַל מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹ֑ן נָדָב֙ וַאֲבִיה֔וּא וְשִׁבְעִ֖ים מִזִּקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ וַיִּרְא֕וּ אֵ֖ת אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְתַ֣חַת רַגְלָ֗יו כְּמַעֲשֵׂה֙ לִבְנַ֣ת הַסַּפִּ֔יר וּכְעֶ֥צֶם הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לָטֹֽהַר׃ וְאֶל־אֲצִילֵי֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לֹ֥א שָׁלַ֖ח יָד֑וֹ וַֽיֶּחֱזוּ֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיֹּאכְל֖וּ וַיִּשְׁתּֽוּ׃ (שמות כד: ט-יא)
Then ascended Moshe and Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, and the seventy elders of Israel; and they saw Elohei Yisrael; and there was under G‽D’s feet, something like a dais of sapphire, the color of pure sky. And G‽D’s hand did not lay upon the nobles of the children of Yisrael; they beheld G‽D and ate and drank.  Exodus 24:9-11
R’ Yeshayahu Horowitz (d. 1630) taught, “While you are eating, think of how you are eating before G!D, and how there is no veil between you and the Holy One.” We remind ourselves that we too are responsible to provide for others, and that we have some will over how to direct our desires when we say, פּוֺתֵחַ אֶת יָדֱךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכֹל חַי רָצוֺן, “Open your hand and satisfy all that Life desires!” When we open our hand, we are expressing lovingkindness and walking in the ways of G!D, as expressed in this midrash aggadah from Bavli Ta’anit 20b:
Not only through satisfying each other’s needs with tsedakah, but also in satisfying your own needs with consideration and thoughtfulness can you better yourself and the world. When you buy fruits, grains and vegetables tended with care by farmers who love the Earth, and who are conscious to minimize the harm and suffering of all living creatures, you are helping to heal this world. By fulfilling each other’s needs with lovingkindness we help to express a more loving Nature. This is an important lesson. Through an esoteric reading of the Rambam (d. 1204), both R’ Avraham Abulafia (d. after 1291) and R’ Yosef Gikatalia (d. 1310) independently taught that the underlying meaning of the divine name Elohim (אלֹהים) is ha-Teva (הטבע) – Nature, “for Nature exhibits the Divine will”  R’ Moshe Cordovero, Pardes Rimmonim, Shaar 12, ch. 2, f. 66a . The Nature of this world can seem cruel and disturbing, but by cultivating the earth with love and with consideration for all of its creatures, we can bring about a more peaceful world.
וְגָ֤ר זְאֵב֙ עִם־כֶּ֔בֶשׂ וְנָמֵ֖ר עִם־גְּדִ֣י יִרְבָּ֑ץ וְעֵ֨גֶל וּכְפִ֤יר וּמְרִיא֙ יַחְדָּ֔ו וְנַ֥עַר קָטֹ֖ן נֹהֵ֥ג בָּֽם׃וּפָרָ֤ה וָדֹב֙ תִּרְעֶ֔ינָה יַחְדָּ֖ו יִרְבְּצ֣וּ יַלְדֵיהֶ֑ן וְאַרְיֵ֖ה כַּבָּקָ֥ר יֹֽאכַל־תֶּֽבֶן׃ וְשִֽׁעֲשַׁ֥ע יוֹנֵ֖ק עַל־חֻ֣ר פָּ֑תֶן וְעַל֙ מְאוּרַ֣ת צִפְעוֹנִ֔י גָּמ֖וּל יָד֥וֹ הָדָֽה׃לֹֽא־יָרֵ֥עוּ וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁחִ֖יתוּ בְּכָל־הַ֣ר קָדְשִׁ֑י כִּֽי־מָלְאָ֣ה הָאָ֗רֶץ דֵּעָה֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כַּמַּ֖יִם לַיָּ֥ם מְכַסִּֽים׃ (ישעיהו יא: ו-ט)
And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the basilisk’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of haShem, as the waters cover the sea.  Yeshayahu 11:6-9
Not like this world (olam hazeh) is the world to come (olam haba). In the world to come there is neither eating nor drinking; no procreation of children or business transactions; no envy or hatred or rivalry; but the righteous sit enthroned, their crowns on their heads, and enjoy the lustre of the Shekhinah; as it is said, “And they beheld Elohim, and did eat and drink.” Exodus 24:ll
…As it is with a single individual so is it in general, that exile derives from forgetfulness and from recollection comes redemption. And the words of the wise are gracious. Ya’akov Yosef of Polonoye, Zafnat Paneah (1st ed.) 77a. With gratitude to Elly Moseson for locating the source of this incredible quote: על פי ששמעתי ממורי זלה”ה בשם כתבי הרמב”ם שהשיב תשובה למדינה א’ שכפרו בתחיית המתים ותשובתו נוצחת להם. כי השכל נעשה מברירת הדמים כו’ יעו”ש והנה ר”מ מקוצי חולק על הרמב”ם ומנה בין הלאוין אזהרה לגסי הרוח כו’. כי נגלה אליו האלד”ים בחלום כי הזכירה כו’. וההיפוך השכחה כו’ יעו”ש וביאר הוא כי כאשר יש עכירות בדם אז האדם הוא בבחי’ אחוריים גי’ תשכ”ח כי הזכירה נמשך משמות זכו”ר. והשכחה מאחוריים דאו”א גי’ תשכ”ח כמו שכתוב ביחודים. וכמו שהוא בפרטות אדם א’ כך הוא בכללות שנמשך הגלות מהשכחה ומהזכירה בא הגאולה ודפח”ח — “According to what I heard from my Master [the Baal Shem Tov] in the name of the writings of Maimonides who replied in a responsum to a particular country that had denied the resurrection and his reply defeated them. For the intellect is made from the refining of the blood etc. see there (Zafnat Paneah, 50a). And Rabbi Moses of Coucy disagrees with Maimonides and counts among the  prohibitions a prohibition for the haughty of spirit etc. for God revealed to him in a dream that recollection etc. and the opposite is the case with forgetfulness etc. see there (Smag, Prohibition 64). And he [the Baal Shem Tov] explained that when there is coagulation in the blood, then the person is in a state of the [divine] backside which is numerically equivalent to the word “you will forget” (tishkaḥ = 728) for recollection derives from the masculine [divine] names [zahor = masculine = recollect] and forgetfulness from the backside [i.e. feminine] of the Father (the Sefirah of Hokhmah) and the Mother (the Sefirah of Binah) [the divine names associated with which] are numerically equivalent to the word “you will forget” [i.e. YVD YVD HY YVD HY VYV YVD HY VYV HY (Hokhmah) ALF ALF HY ALF HY YVD ALF HY YVD HY (Binah) = 728 = Tishkaḥ) as is written in [the Lurianic] Yiḥudim. And as it is with a single individual so is it in general, that exile derives from forgetfulness and from recollection comes redemption. And the words of the wise are gracious.”
The essential idea of blessing after eating is this: in feeling satisfied (שֹׂבַע), we can become forgetful (שָׁכַח). Through blessing (בְּרָכָה), we cultivate a mindful awareness so that we may never forget all of that which our lives depend, the Earth and the interconnected Oneness of all life. As it says in Tehillim 16:8, שִׁוִּיתִי יְיָ לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד וכו׳ – “I will set the Tetragrammaton before me always…” and in Devarim 4:35, אַתָּה֙ הָרְאֵ֣תָ לָדַ֔עַת כִּ֥י יהוה ה֣וּא הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ין עֹ֖וד מִלְבַדֹּֽו׃ (Unto you it was shown that you might know that יהוה is הָאֱלֹהִים; there is nothing else besides).
Binyamin the Shepherd made a sandwich and [afterward] said, “Blessed is the Source of this Food.” Rav says, “He has satisfied his obligation!” Rav also said, it is not a brakha if one fails to remember to include the divine Name. [Therefore say] “Blessed is haRaḥaman, the Compassionate Womb [Cosmic Majesty] Source of this Food.”  Talmud Bavli Berakhot 40b
Preparing for the Meal
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֺתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם:
Blessed are you, YHVH Elohenu, who made us holy through mitsvot and commanded us to elevate/accept responsibility for our hands.
Blessings After Eating and Feeling Satiated: Borei Nefashot
ברכת בורא נפשות
Blessing the Creator of All Beings
After eating all meals not containing wheat, barley, or grape ingredients, say this blessing.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא נְפָשׁוֹת רַבּוֹת וְחֶסְרוֹנָן עַל כָּל מַה שֵּׁבָּרָאתָ לְהַחֲיוֹת בָּהֶם נֶֽפֶשׁ כָּל חָי: בָּרוּךְ חַי הָעוֹלָמִים:
Blessed are you, haShem Eloheinu, Cosmic Majesty, who creates a diverse multitude of creatures, each with a dependency (lit. absence) through which it is enlivened with the Spirit of Life. Blessed is the Life of the Worlds.
barukh ’attah ’adonai ’eloheinu melekh ha‘olam borei’ nefashot rabot ṿeḥesronan ‘al kol mah shebara’ta lehaḥayot bahem nefesh kol ḥay barukh ḥey ha‘olamim
The Three-Faceted Blessing
After eating all meals containing grapes, wine, or wheat and barley (except for bread), say this blessing.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
Blessed are you haShem Eloheinu, cosmic majesty,
על אחד מחמשת מיני דגן: עַל הַמִּחְיָה וְעַל הַכַּלְכָּלָה
for the sustenance and nourishment,
על היין: (וְ)עַל הַגֶּֽפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּֽפֶן
for the Vine (of the Tree of Knowledge), and for the fruit of the Vine,
על פירות: (וְ)עַל הָעֵץ וְעַל פְּרִי הָעֵץ
for the Tree (of Life) and for the fruit of the Tree,
וְעַל תְּנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה וְעַל אֶֽרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה שֶׁרָצִֽיתָ וְהִנְחַֽלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ לֶאֱכֹל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְלִשְׂבֹּֽעַ מִטּוּבָהּ:
and for the produce of the field, for the desirable, good and spacious Earth that You were pleased to give our ancestors as a heritage, to eat of its bounty and to be satiated with its excellence.
רַחֶם יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּֽךָ וְעַל יְרֽוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִירֶֽךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶֽךָ וְעַל מִזְבַּחֲךָ וְעַל הֵיכָלֶֽךָ: וּבְנֵה יְרֽוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִיר הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽינוּ וְהַעֲלֵֽנוּ לְתוֹכָהּ וְשַׂמְּחֵֽנוּ בְּבִנְיָנָהּ וְנֹאכַל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְנִשְׂבַּע מִטּוּבָהּ וּנְבָרֶכְךָ עָלֶֽיהָ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה:
Have compassion, haShem Eloheinu, on Yisrael your people, and on your City of Peace, Yerushalayim, and on Tsiyon, the dwelling of your Radiance, and on your altar, and on your Sanctuary. Rebuild your holy City of Peace, Yerushalyim, speedily in our days. Lift us into her and gladden us with her renovation, and let us eat from her fruit and be satiated with her excellence, and bless you upon her in holiness and purity.
לשבת: (וּרְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵֽנוּ) בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת הַזֶּה:
And be pleased to let us rest on this Shabbat day
לראש חודש: (וְזָכְרֵֽנוּ לְטוֹבָה) בְּיוֹם רֹאשׁ הַחֹֽדֶשׁ הַזֶּה:
And remember us for the good on this Rosh Ḥodesh
לפסח: (וְשַׂמְּחֵֽנוּ) בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה:
And gladden us on this day of Festival of Matzot
לשבועות: (וְשַׂמְּחֵֽנוּ) בְּיוֹם חַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת הַזֶּה:
And gladden us on this day of Shavuot
לראש השנה: (וְזָכְרֵֽנוּ לְטוֹבָה) בְּיוֹם חַזִּכָּרוֹן הַזֶּה:
And remember us for the good on this Day of Rememberance
לילדים ולחולים האוכלים ביום כפור: בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים הַזֶּה:
And on this Day of Atonement
לסוכות: (וְשַׂמְּחֵֽנוּ) בְּיוֹם חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת הַזֶּה:
And gladden us on the day of Sukot
לשמיני עצרת ושמחת תורה: (וְשַׂמְּחֵֽנוּ) בְּיוֹם שְׁמִינִי חַג הָעֲצֶֽרֶת הַזֶּה:
And gladden us on the day of Shemini Atzeret
כִּי אַתָּה (אֵל) טוֹב וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וְנֽוֹדֶה לְךָ עַל הָאָֽרֶץ…
For you haShem are good and do good for all and we thank you for the Earth
and for its sustenance,
and for its fruit,
וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּֽפֶן׃
and for its fruit of the Vine,
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ עַל הָאָֽרֶץ…
Blessed are you haShem for the Earth,
and for its sustenance,
וְעַל הַפֵּרוֹת (ועל פרות א”י : פֵּרוֹתֶֽיהּ)…
and for its fruit,
וְעַל פְּרִי הַגָּֽפֶן (ועל יין א”י : גַּפְנָהּ):
and for its fruit of the Vine.
סדר לברכת המזון
The Order of Blessing After Meals
After eating all meals in which bread was eaten, begin here.
Song of Ascents
בּשבּת וביום טוב׃ שִׁ֗יר הַֽמַּֽ֫עֲל֥וֹת׃ בְּשׁ֣וּב יְיָ אֶת־שִׁיבַ֣ת צִיּ֑וֹן הָ֝יִ֗ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִֽים אָ֤ז יִמָּלֵ֢א שְׂחֹ֡ק פִּינוּ֘ וּלְשׁוֹנֵ֢נוּ רִ֫נָּ֥ה אָ֭ז יֹֽאמְר֣וּ בַגּוֹיִ֑ם הִגְדִּ֥יל יְיָ לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת עִם־אֵֽלֵּה הִגְדִּ֥יל יְיָ לַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת עִמָּ֑נוּ הָ֜יִ֗ינוּ שְׂמֵחִֽים: שׁוּבָ֣ה יְיָ אֶת־שְׁבִיתֵ֑נוּ כַּֽאֲפִיקִ֥ים בַּנֵּֽגֶב: הַזֹּֽרְעִ֥ים בְּדִמְעָ֗ה בְּרִנָּ֥ה יִקְצֹֽרוּ: הָ֘ל֤וֹךְ יֵלֵ֨ךְ׀ וּבָכֹה֘ נֹשֵׂ֢א מֶֽשֶׁךְ־הַ֫זָּ֥רַע בֹּֽ֬א־יָבֹ֥א בְרִנָּ֗ה נֹ֝שֵׂ֥א אֲלֻמֹּתָֽיו׃ (תהלים קכו)
On Shabbat and Yom Tov: A Song of Ascending Terraces. When haShem returns us to Her dwelling place, Tzion, we will be like dreamers: our mouths filled with laughter, our tongues with ululations! All the other peoples of the world will say: “haShem does amazing things for Her people.” haShem does awesome things for us – we are ecstatic! Return our lost tribes, haShem, like (water fills) desert streams. Those who plant with tears shall reap with joy. Though one may go to their field weeping, carrying a pail full of seeds, they shall return home with joy, bearing a mighty harvest.  Tehilim 126
Verses of Torah to Elevate the Meal
רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה שֶׁאָכְלוּ עַל שֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד וְלֹא אָמְרוּ עָלָיו דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, כְּאִלּוּ אָכְלוּ מִזִּבְחֵי מֵתִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי כָּל שֻׁלְחָנוֹת מָלְאוּ קִיא צֹאָה בְּלִי מָקוֹם (ישעיה כח:ח). אֲבָל שְׁלשָׁה שֶׁאָכְלוּ עַל שֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד וְאָמְרוּ עָלָיו דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, כְּאִלּוּ אָכְלוּ מִשֻּׁלְחָנוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלַי זֶה הַשֻּׁלְחָן אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי ה׳ (יחזקאל מא:כב). (משנה אבות ג:ג)
Rabbi Shimon exclaimed: If three have eaten at one table and have not spoken over it words of Torah, it is as though they had eaten of the sacrifices of the dead, for it is written  Yishayahu 28:8 “All tables are covered with filthy vomit; no place is clean.” But if three have eaten at one table and have spoken over it words of Torah, it is as if they had eaten from the Blessed Holy One’s table space for it is written  Yeḥezkel 41:22 “He said to me, “This is the table that stands before haShem.”  Mishna Avot 3:3
תְּהִלַּת יְיָ יְדַבֵּר פִּי, וִיבָרֵךְ כָּל בָּשָׂר שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד׃ (תהלים קמה:כא)
My mouth shall speak the praise of haShem and all creatures shall bless G‽D’s holy name forever  Tehilim 145:21 .
וַאֲנַחְנוּ נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם, הַלֲלוּיָהּ׃ (תהלים קטו:יח)
We will bless Yah now and forever, Halleluyah!  Tehilim 115:18
הוֹדוּ לַיְיָ כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃ (תהלים קלו:א)
Thank haShem for haShem is good, always kind and loving.  Tehilim 136:1
מִי יְמַלֵּל גְּבוּרוֹת יְיָ יַשְׁמִֽיעַ כָּל תְּהִלָּתוֹ׃ (תהלים קו:ב)
Who can tell of the mighty acts of haShem and make all of divine praise be heard?  Tehilim 106:2
זימון לברכת המזון
Beckoning everyone to bless the meal
When three or more people with understanding eat together, initiate the blessing with the following invitation. If there are more than ten present, add the divine name Eloheinu in parentheses.
The leader enjoins:
Friends, let us Bless!
Everyone then says and the leader repeats after them:
יְהִ֤י שֵׁ֣ם יְיָ מְבֹרָ֑ךְ מֵֽ֝עַתָּ֗ה וְעַד־עוֹלָֽם׃ (תהלים קיג:ב)
May the name haShem be blessed from here to the ends of the world!  Tehilim 113:2
The leader then gives respect to all of those in attendance:
בִּרְשׁוּת חֲבֵרַי נְבָרֵךְ (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֵּׁלוֹ.
With the permission of my friends, let us bless (Eloheinu) from whose bounty we have eaten.
Everyone then says and the leader repeats after them:
בָּרוּךְ (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֵּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִינוּ!
Blessed is (Eloheinu) the One whose food we have eaten, and through whose goodness our life depends!
Together, everyone says:
בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּבָרוּךְ שְׁמוֹ.
Blessed is G‽D and blessed is G‽D’s Ineffable Name.
ברכת המקור של השפע
Blessing the Source
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶֽסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים הוּא נֹתֵ֣ן לֶ֭חֶם לְכָל־בָּשָׂ֑ר כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ (תהלים קלו:כה)׃ וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָֽנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָֽנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל: כִּי הוּא זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. כָּאָמוּר: פּוֹתֵ֥חַ אֶת־יׇדֶ֑ךָ וּמַשְׂבִּ֖יעַ לְכָל־חַ֣י רָצֽוֹן(תהלים קמה:טז)׃ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.
Blessed are you, haShem Eloheinu, Protector of the World, who feeds the whole world with goodness, with grace, with lovingkindness, and with compassion. You feed all creatures because your lovingkindness is everywhere and always  Tehilim 136:25 . Through your great goodness we have never been lacking for food: May we never ever be lacking – for the sake of your great name – because you nourish and sustain all beings, you are so good to everything, and you provide food for all your creatures. As it is written, “You open your hand, and satisfy the desires of all living creatures”  Tehilim 145:16. From a meditation of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan on Tehilim 145:16: don’t read yadekha (your hand), read yodekha (your yud) – the yud of the Tetragrammaton corresponding to Keter Elyon, the root of the Tree of Life. . Blessed are you haShem, who feeds everything.
נוֹדֶה לְּךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַֽלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ אֶֽרֶץ חֶמְדָה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֵאֶֽרֶץ מִצְרַֽים וּפְדִיתָֽנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַֽמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵֽנוּ וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּֽנוּ וְעַל חֻקֵּֽיךָ שֶׁהוֹדַעְתָּֽנוּ וְעַל חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד שֶׁחוֹנַנְתָּֽנוּ וְעַל אֲכִילַת מָזוֹן שָׁאַתָּה זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָֽנוּ תָּמִיד בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה.
We thank you, haShem Eloheinu, for the lovely, good and expansive world you gave to our ancestors; and for our liberation, haShem Eloheinu, from a land of constrictions, redeeming us from a house of slavery; and for the promise we made with each other — a promise you made part of our very being; and for your Torah that you teach us, and for your mysteries which you reveal to us, and for the life, grace and lovingkindness that you bestow on us, and for the food with which you constantly nourish and sustain us — every day, in every season, and in every moment…
וְעַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַפֻּרְקָן וְעַל הַגְּבוּרוֹת וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת וְעַל הַנִפְלָאוֹת שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְּמַן הַזֶּה:
We thank you also for the miracles, for the redemption, for your mighty deeds, rescuing acts, and wonders, you made for our ancestors in days of old, in this season:
בחנוכה: בִּימֵי מַתִּתְיָֽהוּ בֶּן יוֹחָנָן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל, חַשְׁמֹנַי וּבָנָיו, כְּשֶׁעָמְדָה מַלְכוּת יָוָן הָרְשָׁעָה, עַל עַמְּךָ יִשְֹרָאֵל, לְהַשְׁכִּיחָם תּוֹרָתֶֽךָ וּלְהַעֲבִירָם מֵחֻקֵּי רְצוֹנֶֽךָ׃ וְאַתָּה בְּרַחֲמֶֽיךָ הָרַבִּים, עָמַדְתָּ לָהֶם בְּעֵת צָרָתָם. רַֽבְתָּ אֶת רִיבָם, דַֽנְתָּ אֶת דִּינָם, נָקַֽמְתָּ אֶת נִקְמָתָם׃ מָסַֽרְתָּ גִבּוֹרִים בְּיַד חַלָּשִׁים, וְרַבִּים בְּיַד מְעַטִּים, וּטְמֵאִים בְּיַד טְהוֹרִים, וּרְשָׁעִים בְּיַד צַדִּיקִים, וְזֵדִים בְּיַד עוֹסְקֵי תוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃ וּלְךָ עָשִֹֽיתָ שֵׁם גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ בְּעוֹלָמֶֽךָ, וּלְעַמְּךָ יִשְֹרָאֵל עָשִֹֽיתָ תְּשׁוּעָה גְדוֹלָה וּפֻרְקָן כְּהַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: וְאַֽחַר כַּךְ בָּֽאוּ בָנֶֽיךָ לִדְבִיר בֵּיתֶֽךָ, וּפִנּוּ אֶת הֵיכָלֶֽךָ, וְטִהֲרוּ אֶת מִקְדָּשֶֽׁךָ, וְהִדְלִֽיקוּ נֵרוֹת בְּחַצְרוֹת קָדְשֶֽׁךָ. וְקָבְעוּ שְׁמוֺנַת יְמֵי חֲנֻכָּה אֵֽלּוּ, לְהוֹדוֹת לְהַלֵּל לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל.
On Ḥanukkah: In the days of the Ḥashmonai, Mattityahu ben Yoḥanan, the Kohen Gadol, and his sons (ca. 164BCE) when the wicked Seleucid Empire rose against your people Yisrael to make them forgetful of your Torah, and to force them to transgress the statutes you commanded them. Then, in your abundant mercy, you rose up for them in their time of trouble; you plead their cause, you judged their complaint, you avenged their wrong; you delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the arrogant into the hands of those who occupied themselves in your Torah. For yourself you made a great and holy name in your world, and for your people Yisrael you didst work a great deliverance and redemption as at this day. And thereupon your children came into the innermost of your house, cleansed your temple, purified your sanctuary, kindled lights in your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Ḥanukkah (house warming) in order to give thanks and praises unto your great name.
בפורים: בִּימֵי מָרְדֳּכַי וְאֶסְתֵּר בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה, כְּשֶׁעָמַד עֲלֵיהֶם הָמָן הָרָשָׁע, בִּקֵּשׁ לְהַשְׁמִ֡יד לַֽהֲרֹ֣ג וּלְאַבֵּ֣ד אֶת־כָּל־הַ֠יְּהוּדִים מִנַּ֨עַר וְעַד־זָקֵ֨ן טַ֤ף וְנָשִׁים֙ בְּי֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁ֥ה עָשָׂ֛ר לְחֹ֥דֶשׁ שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֖ר הוּא־חֹ֣דֶשׁ אֲדָ֑ר וּשְׁלָלָ֖ם לָבֽוֹז (אסתר ג:יג)׃ וְאַתָּה בְּרַחֲמֶֽיךָ הָרַבִּים הֵפַֽרְתָּ אֶת עֲצָתוֹ, וְקִלְקַלְתָּ אֶת מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ, וַהֲשֵׁבֽוֹתָ לּוֹ גְּמוּלוֹ בְרֹאשׁוֹ. וְתָלוּ אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת בָּנָיו עַל הָעֵץ.
On Purim: In the days of Mordeḥai and Esther (ca. 486 BCE), in Shushan the capital (of the Persian empire), when the wicked Haman rose up against them, and sought to destroy, to slay, and to cause all the Jews to perish, both young and old, little children and women, on one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to prey upon their belongings  Esther 3:13 . Then in your abundant mercy you brought his counsel to nought, frustrated his design, and returned his evil upon his own head; and they hung him and his sons upon the tree.
בימים חילונים של הודיה: לְמִי הָאֲרֶץ לָרֶשֶׁת וּלִכְבּוֹשׁ? שִׂ֣יחַ לָאָ֣רֶץ וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ! (איוב יב:ח) לְךָ הָאָרֶץ וּמְלֹואָהּ תֵּבֵל וְיֹשְׁבֵי בָֽהּ (תהילים כד:א). כְּפִי שֶׁאָדָם וְחַוָּה נוֹצְרוּ בְּבֶטֶן, בָּרֶחֶם בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת הָאֲדָמָה, (תהילים קלט:יא-טו) כָּךְ גַם נוֺלָדְנוּ בְּנֵי אָדָמָה עִם רַחָמִים לְעׇבְדָהּ וּלְשׇׁמֵר אֶת גַנָּהּ (בראשית ב:טו). כִּמְהַגְּרִים בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה נְהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים בְּעֵינֵי בְּנֵי עֲנָק (במדבר יג:לג). כִּ֤י לֹ֪א בְחַרְבָּ֡ם יָ֥רְשׁוּ אָ֗רֶץ וּזְרוֹעָם֮ לֹא־הוֹשִׁ֪יעָ֫ה לָּ֥מוֹ (תהילים מד:ד חלק). אַתָּ֤ה ׀ יָדְךָ֡ גּוֹיִ֣ם ה֭וֹרַשְׁתָּ וַתִּטָּעֵ֑ם תָּרַ֥ע לְ֝אֻמִּ֗ים וַֽתְּשַׁלְּחֵֽם (תהילים מד:ג). הָאֲדָמָה אֵפוֹא זוֹעֶקֶת בְּשֶׁקֶט מִדְּמֵי אָחִינוּ אֲשֶׁר הִיא סוֹפֶגֶת (בראשית ד:י) וְאִלּוּ אֲנוּ בּוֹכִים חֲרִישִׁית דְּמָעוֹת שֶׁל תּוֹדָה עַל הַשֶּׁפַע וְהַמִּקְלָט שֶׁמָּצָאנוּ בָּהּ (תהילים קכו). בָּרוּךְ הַמִּשְׁמָר אֶת הָאֲרֶץ עֲבוּר הָחוֹלְקִים בְּשֶּׁפְעַהּ.
On secular & national days of thanksgiving: For whom is the Garden to seize and occupy? Speak to the Earth and she will teach you! Job 12:8 Yours, HaShem, is the Earth, and the fullness thereof. Psalms 24:1, cf. Psalm 50:11, and Deuteronomy 10:14. This land is not yours, and it is not mine. The land is the Garden of HaShem. Just as Adam and Ḥava were knit together in the womb, within the innermost depths of Adamah (the Earth), cf. Psalms 139:11-15 so too were we born as children of the Earth with compassion to cultivate and preserve her Garden. cf. Genesis 2:15, l’ovdah ul’shomrah. We are commanded to be responsible stewards of this Garden, the earth’s biosphere. As immigrants in a foreign land, we saw ourselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of predatory overlords. Numbers 13:33. Seeing oneself as an underling should not validate excuses for conquest or privilege. By grasshoppers, the verse suggests that the Bnei Anak, the giant children of the Nephilim, see newcomers as fast food, i.e., easy pickings. The Nephilim first referenced in Genesis ch. 6, are the bnei elohim — children of G‽D — who descend to Earth, take what they wish, and with their children, introduce predation into nature. Thematically, the Nephilim and their children are archetypal of any group or person who makes themselves into an oppressive bigshot.
“Not by their own sword did they seize land and possess it, nor did their own arm save them.” Psalms 44:4 (partial).
“Through your own hand, HaShem, were the nations driven out and planted in; you separated the peoples and spread them abroad.” Psalms 44:3. My central point here is that a humanity that is not acting as a proper steward of the Earth (as the Garden of Hashem) cedes the role of “gardener” to G‽Δ who, as the one god of both suffering and joy, drives out, spreads, and plants humanity in a manner that might seem just as arbitrary and capricious to us as a human farmer ploughing and planting might seem to the wild creatures of the fields and forests.
Consequently, the Earth screams silently from the blood of humanity which it cannot help but soak up, from Genesis 4:10. Either the dahm (blood) of Kayin’s brother Abel cries out from Adamah (the earth) or the Adamah itself cries out. HaShem loves the Earth, and the Earth is ever burdened with the sins that humans cannot bear — and HaShem takes note.
while we cry with gratitude for the bounty and sanctuary we have found in her. cf. Psalms 126. As we should, but we need to reciprocate for our gratefulness by taking responsibility for our actions and the errors of the generations who came before us that acted with callous ignorance and neglect of the systems supporting life on earth and the welfare of the creatures we share this world with. Blessed is the One who preserves the Earth for those who share in her bounty.
וְעַל הַכֹּל יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים לָךְ וּמְבָרֲכִים אוֹתָךְ יִתְבָּרַךְ שִׁמְךָ בְּפִי כָל חַי תָּמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: כַּכָּתוּב: וְאָֽכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְיָ אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ עַל־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַטֹּבָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָֽתַן־לָֽךְ (דברים ח:י)׃ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ עַל הָאָֽרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן.
For all this, haShem Eloheinu we thank and bless you. May your name be blessed by all life, by each creature in its own way, continually and for all time. As it is written, “and eat and be satisfied and bless haShem your Elo’ah for the good Earth given you”  Devarim 8:10 . Blessed are you haShem for the Earth and for its food.
בקשה לעולם של צדק ושלום
Request for a Just and Peaceful World
רַחֵם יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִירֶֽךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶֽךָ וְעַל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד מְשִׁיחֶֽךָ וְעַל הַבַּֽיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא שִׁמְךָ עָלָיו: אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ אָבִֽינוּ רְעֵֽנוּ [בשבת: רוֹעֵנוּ] זוּנֵֽנוּ פַרְנְסֵֽנוּ וְכַלְכְּלֵֽנוּ וְהַרְוִיחֵֽנוּ וְהַרְוַח לָֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מְהֵרָה מִכָּל צָרוֹתֵֽינוּ וְנָא אַל תַּצְרִיכֵֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ לֹא לִידֵי מַתְּנַת בָּשָׂר וָדָם וְלֹא לִידֵי הַלְוָאָתָם כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה הַפְּתוּחָה הַקְּדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה שֶׁלֹּא נֵבוֹשׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.
Have compassion, haShem Eloheinu, on us and upon Yisrael your people, on the City of Peace (Yerushalayim) and upon Tzion the place upon which your Kavod – your Radiance – dwells, on the kingdom of the house of David your chosen servant and upon the great and holy house wherein your Ineffable Name was pronounced. Eloheinu – our Protector, refresh us, nourish us, sustain, support and relieve us. Speedily, haShem Eloheinu, relieve us from all our troubles. We beg you, haShem Eloheinu let our bodies never be indebted to others. Rather, may we only ever rely on your helping hand that is full, open, holy and ample, so that we may never be ashamed nor ever be put to shame.
בשבת: רְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בְּמִצְוֺתֶֽיךָ וּבְמִצְוַת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַשַּׁבָּת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ הַזֶּה. כִּי יוֹם זֶה גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ הוּא לְפָנֶֽיךָ לִשְׁבָּת בּוֹ וְלָנֽוּחַ בּוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה כְּמִצְוַת רְצוֹנֶךָ. בִּרְצוֹנְךָ הָנִֽיחַ לָֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ שֶׁלֹא תְהֵא צָרָה וְיָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה בְּיוֹם מְנוּחָתֵֽנוּ וְהַרְאֵֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בְּנֶחָמוֹת צִיּוֹן עִירֶֽךָ וּבְבִנְיַן יְרוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִיר קָדְשֶֽׁךָ כִּי אַתָּה הוּא בַּֽעַל הַיְשׁוּעוֹת וּבַֽעַל הַנֶּחָמוֹת.
On Shabbat: Take pleasure, haShem Eloheinu to nurture us through your mitzvot, and especially through the mitsvah of the seventh day, this great and holy Shabbat, since this day is great and holy before you, that we may relax and nap thereon in love in accordance with the command of your will. In your favor, haShem Eloheinu, grant us such relief that there be no trouble, grief or mourning on the day of our rest. Let us, haShem Eloheinu, witness the comfort of Tzion, your city, and the rebuilding of your holy City of Peace, Yerushalayim, for you are the Master of rescue and of comfort.
ביום טוב׃ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ, יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא וְיַגִּיעַ וְיֵרָאֶה וְיֵרָצֶה וְיִשָּׁמַע וְיִפָּקֵד וְיִזָּכֵר זִכְרוֹנֵֽנוּ וּפִקְדּוֹנֵֽנוּ וְזִכְרוֹן אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד עַבְדֶּֽךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן יְרוּשָׁלַםִ עִיר קָדְשֶֽׁךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן כָּל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפָנֶיךָ, לִפְלֵיטָה וּלְטוֹבָה וּלְחֵן וּלְחֶֽסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וּלְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם…
On Yom Tov: Eloheinu — Elohei of our Ancestors! May we rise and come before you and be accepted with the memory of our holy ancestors, with the memory of the Moshiaḥ – the child of David your servant, of the your holy City of Peace, Yerushalayim, and of all your people – the community called Yisrael. (Please) save us with goodness, with grace and lovingkindness, with compassion, with life, and with peace, on this day of…
בְּיוֹם רֹאשׁ הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה׃
the New Moon (Rosh Ḥodesh)
בְּיוֹם הַזִכָּרוֹן הַזֶּה׃
Rememberance (Rosh Hashanah)
בְּיוֹם קִיפּוּרִים הַזֶּה׃
Atonement (Yom Kippur)
בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה׃
the Festival of Matzot/Liberation (Pesaḥ)
בְּיוֹם חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת הַזֶּה׃
the Festival of the Sukkot
בְּיוֹם חַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת הַזֶּה׃
the Festival of the Weeks [of the Barley Harvest] (Shavuot)
בְּיוֹם שְׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת הַחַג הַזֶּה:
the Eighth Gathering (Shemini Atzeret)
זָכְרֵֽנּוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בּוֹ לְטוֹבָה (אָמֵן). וּפָקְדֵֽנוּ בוֹ לִבְרָכָה (אָמֵן). וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ בוֹ לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים (אָמֵן). וּבִדְבַר יְשׁוּעָה וְרַחֲמִים חוּס וְחָנֵּנוּ וְרַחֵם עָלֵֽינוּ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ, כִּי אֵלֶֽיךָ עֵינֵֽינוּ, כִּי אֵל מֶֽלֶךְ חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָֽתָּה.
Remember us, haShem Eloheinu, for our well-being, (Amen) and (please) keep us in mind for a blessing. (Amen.) Save our lives as you promised to save us with compassion. (Amen.) Spare us and be gracious to us; have mercy on us and save us; for our eyes look to you, because you are a loving and compassionate protector.
וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִיר הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵֽינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ בֹּֽנֶה בְרַחֲמָיו [וּבְשָׁלוֹם] יְרוּשָׁלָֽםִ. אָמֵן.
And rebuild the holy City of Peace, Yerushalayim, speedily in our days. Blessed are you haShem who with compassion (and with peace) builds the City of Peace. Amen.
ברכת המשלים: טוב והמטיב
Supplementary Blessing: For Goodness Sake
 From Talmud Bavli Gittin 57a: אשקא קא דריספק חריב ביתר דהוו נהיגי כי הוה מתיליד ינוקא שתלי ארזא ינוקתא שתלי תורניתא וכי הוו מינסבי קייצי להו ועבדו גננא יומא חד הוה קא חלפא ברתיה דקיסר אתבר שקא דריספק קצו ארזא ועיילו לה אתו נפול עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו: (Through the axle of a carriage Betar was destroyed. It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a wedding canopy made of the branches. One day the daughter of the Emperor was passing when the axle of her carriage broke, so they lopped some branches off a cedar tree and brought it to her [to repair her carriage]. The Jews thereupon fell upon them and beat them. They reported to the Emperor that the Jews were rebelling, and he marched against them.) From Eikha Rabba 4: הורגים בהם עד ששקע הסוס בדם עד חוטמו והיה הדם מגלגל אבנים של ארבעים סאה והולך בים ארבעה מילין ואם תאמר שקרובה לים והלא רחוקה מן הים ארבעה מילין וכרם גדול היה לו לאדריאנוס שמונה עשר מיל על שמונה עשר מיל כמן טבריא לציפורי והקיפו גדר מהרוגי ביתר ולא גזר עליהם שיקברו עד שעמד מלך אחד וגזר עליהם וקברום ר’ הונא אמר יום שניתנו הרוגי ביתר לקבורה נקבעה הטוב והמטיב הטוב שלא הסריחו והמטיב שנתנו לקבורה(They slew the inhabitants until the horses waded in blood up to their nostrils, and the blood rolled along stones of the size of forty se’ah and flowed into the sea, staining it for a distance of four mil. Should you say that Betar is close to the sea; was it not in fact four miles distant from it? Now Hadrian possessed a large vineyard eighteen mil square, as far as from Tiberias to Tzipori, and they surrounded it with a fence consisting of the slain of Betar. Nor was it decreed that they should be buried until a certain king arose and ordered their burial. Rabbi Huna said: On the day when the slain of Betar were allowed burial, the blessing, “hatov v’hameitiv | Who is kind and deals kindly” was instituted – “hatov — Who is kind” because the bodies did not rot, and “v’hameitiv — Who deals kindly‟ because they were allowed burial.)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הָאֵל אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ אַדִּירֵֽנוּ בּוֹרְאֵֽנוּ גֹאֲלֵֽנוּ יוֹצְרֵֽנוּ קְדוֹשֵֽׁנוּ קְדוֹשׁ יַעֲקֹב רוֹעֵֽנוּ רוֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב לַכֹּל שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הוּא הֵטִיב הוּא מֵטִיב הוּא יֵיטִיב לָֽנוּ: הוּא גְמָלָֽנוּ הוּא גוֹמְלֵנוּ הוּא יִגְמְלֵנוּ לָעַד לְחֵן לְחֶֽסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וּלְרֶֽוַח הַצָּלָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּרָכָה וִישׁוּעָה נֶחָמָה פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם וְכָל טוֹב וּמִכָּל טוֹב אַל יְחַסְּרֵֽנוּ.
Blessed are you haShem Eloheinu Cosmic Majesty, the god that is our Guide, our Majesty, our Mighty One, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Maker, our Holy One, the Holy One of Yaakov, our Shepherd, the Shepherd of Yisrael. O King who is kind and acts kindly with all creation, day by day you act kindly, are kind, and will be kind with us. You brought, you bring, and you will always bring goodness to us – with grace, lovingkindness, compassion and relief, deliverance and prosperity, blessing and salvation, with comfort and food, compassion, life, and peace – you bring everything that is really really good. For everything good that we need let us never be needy.
Share your own requests here, using the formula, “May haRaḥaman (the Compassionate One).” Everyone participating affirms the request by saying, Amen, afterward.
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִמְלֹךְ עָלֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד׃
May the Compassionate Womb’s majesty watch over us for ever and ever. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ בַּשָּׁמַֽיִם וּבָאָֽרֶץ׃
May the Compassionate Womb be blessed throughout the cosmos and on this Earth. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִשְׁתַּבַּח לְדוֹר דּוֹרִים וְיִתְפָּֽאַר בָּֽנוּ לָעַד לָנֵֽצַח נְצָחִים וְיִתְהַדַּר בָּֽנוּ לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים׃
May the Compassionate Womb be praised throughout all generations, glorified among us at all times, and honored among us in every age and in every world. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יְפַרְנְסֵֽנוּ בְּכָבוֹד׃
May the Compassionate Womb grant us an honorable livelihood. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִשְׁבּוֹר עֹל גָלוּת מֵעַל צַוָּארֵֽנוּ וְהוּא יוֹלִיכֵֽנוּ קוֹמֲמִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵֽנוּ׃
May the Compassionate Womb remove the yoke of alienation from our necks, reconnecting us with the Earth we rely upon. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה מְרֻבָּה בְּבַֽיִת הַזֶה וְעַל שֻׁלְחָן זֶה שֶׁאָכַֽלְנוּ עָלָיו׃
May the Compassionate Womb send a plentiful blessing upon this dwelling place and upon this table at which we have eaten. (Amen)
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָֽנוּ אֶת אֵלִיָּֽה הַנָּבִיא זָכוּר לַטּוֹב, וִיבַשֵּׂר לָנוּ [בִּמְהֵרָה] בְּשׂוֹרוֹת טוֹבוֹת יְשׁוּעוֹת וְנֶחָמוֹת׃
May the Compassionate Womb send us Eliyah the prophet – may he be remembered for good – who will bring us good news, salvation, and comfort. (Amen)
בלחש: הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יְבָרֵךְ (אֶת….וְ)אֶת כָּל בַמְסֻבִּין כָּאן, אוֹתָם וְאֶת בֵּיתָם וְאֶת זַרְעָם וְאֶת כָּל אַשֶׁר לָהֶם…
Quietly: May the Compassionate Womb bless each and every one of those here (especially those honored…), their families, the seeds they carry, and all that is theirs…
אוֹתָנוּ וְאֶת כָּל אַשֶׁר לָֽנוּ,
כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּרֲכוּ אִמּוֺתֵֽינוּ שָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְבִּלְהָה, לֵיאָה וְזִלְפָּה:
הֵיטִיב (בראשית יב:טז)
טֹבַת (בראשית כד:טז)
טוֺב (בראשית כט:יט)
טוֺב (בראשית ל:כ)
וְאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק יַעֲקֹב:
בַּכֹּל (בראשית כד:א)
מִכֹּל (בראשית כו:לג)
כֹּל (בראשית לג:יא)
כֵּן יְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָֽנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ יַֽחַד בִּבְרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.
בַּמָּרוֹם [נ”א: מִמָּרוֹם] יְלַמְּדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְעָלֵֽינוּ זְכוּת, שֶׁתְּהֵא לְמִשְׁמֶֽרֶת שָׁלוֹם, וְנִשָּׂא בְרָכָה מֵאֵת יְיָ וּצְדָקָה מֵאֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעֵנוּ. וְנִמְצָא חֵן וְשֵֽׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱלֹהִים וְאָדָם.
May the merit of our blessed ancestors advocate in Heaven on our behalf and bring us a lasting peace on Earth. May we receive a blessing from haShem and justice from the god that intervenes at times of danger. May we be considered graceful and thoughtful in the vision of Elohim and in the perception of our fellow earthlings.
בשבת: הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יַנְחִילֵֽנוּ לְיּוֹם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ שַׁבָּת וּמְנוּחָה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים׃
On Shabbat: May the Compassionate Womb grant us a complete Shabbat, a gift to life everlasting.
בראש חודש: הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יְחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵֽינוּ אֶת הַחֹֽדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לְטוֹבָה וְלִבְרָכָה׃
On Rosh Ḥodesh: May the Compassionate Womb renew upon us this month for goodness and bounty.
בשלש רגלים׃ הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ לְיוֹם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב׃
On Pesaḥ, Shavuot, and Sukkot: May the Compassionate Womb grant to us the day that is completely excellent!
בראש השנה: הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יְחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵֽינוּ אֶת־הַשָּׁנָה הַזֹּאת לְטוֹבָה וְלִבְרָכָה׃
On Rosh Hashsanah: May the Compassionate Womb renew this year for goodness and blessing.
בסוכות: הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יָקִים לָֽנוּ אֶת־סֻכָּ֥ת דָּוִ֖יד הַנֹּפֶ֑לֶת (עמוס ט:יא)׃
On Sukkot: May the Compassionate Womb restore for us the fallen sukkah of David. Amos 9:11
בשנת השמיטה: הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יָשִׁיב לִבֵּינוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ, לְמַעַן נֵשַׁב יָחַד עִמָהּ, בְּשָׁבְתָהּ, כָּל שְׁנַת הַשְׁמִיטָה׃
During the Shmita Year: May the Compassionate Womb turn our hearts toward the land,
so that together we may dwell with her, in her sabbath-rest, the entire Shmita year. adapted from the formulation of Rabbi David Seidenberg
הָרַחֲמָן. הוּא יְזַכֵּֽנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִֽׁיחַ וּלְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם הַבָּא:
May the Compassionate Womb make us worthy of the days of the moshiaḥ and of a life in the next Age.
מַגְדִּיל֘ [בשבת וביום טוב׃ מִגְדּ֖וֹל (שמואל ב׳ כב:נא)] יְשׁוּע֢וֹת מַ֫לְכּ֥וֹ וְעֹ֤שֶׂה חֶ֨סֶד ׀ לִמְשִׁיח֗וֹ לְדָוִ֥ד וּ֝לְזַרְע֗וֹ עַד־עוֹלָֽם (תהלים יח:נא)׃ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל (וְעַל כָּל יוֺשְׁבֵי תֵבֶל). וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.
She intervenes for Her king, [On Shabbat, Rosh Ḥodesh, and Yontov: She is a tower for Her king,  II Shmuel 22:41 ] bringing lovingkindness to Her chosen servant, to David and to his descendants, throughout the world  Tehilim 18:51 . The One who makes peace in lofty places, may He make peace here below for us and for all Yisrael (and for everyone in the world) – and let us say, Amen!
פסוקים קסומים סופיים
Auspicious Final Verses
יְר֣אוּ אֶת־יְיָ קְדשָׁ֑יו כִּ֘י אֵ֥ין מַ֝חְסּ֗וֹר לִֽירֵאָֽיו: כְּ֭פִירִים רָשׁ֣וּ וְרָעֵ֑בוּ וְדֹֽרְשֵׁ֥י יְיָ לֹֽא־יַחְסְר֥וּ כָל־טֽוֹב׃ (תהלים לד:י-יא)
Be in awe of haShem you holy ones; for those in awe suffer no want. Young lions will suffer the pangs of hunger: but those who seek haShem shall not lack anything good  Tehilim 34:10-11 .
הוֹד֣וּ לַֽיְיָ כִּי־ט֑וֹב כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃ (תהלים קמה:טז)
Give thanks to haShem for goodness is G‽D’s unconditional ceaseless lovingkindness  Tehilim 136:1 .
פּוֹתֵ֥חַ אֶת־יׇדֶ֑ךָ וּמַשְׂבִּ֖יעַ לְכָל־חַ֣י רָצֽוֹן׃(תהלים קמה:טז)
You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing  Tehilim 145:16 .
בָּר֣וּךְ הַגֶּ֔בֶר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְטַ֖ח בַּֽיְיָ וְהָיָ֥ה יְיָ מִבְטַחֽוֹ׃ (ירמיהו יז:ז)
Blessed is the one that trusts in haShem and whose trust is haShem  Yirmiyahu 17:7 .
נַ֤עַר הָיִ֗יתִי גַּם־זָקַ֥נְתִּי וְֽלֹֽא־רָאִ֣יתִי צַדִּ֣יק נֶעֱזָ֑ב וְ֝זַרְע֗וֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ־לָֽחֶם׃ (תהלים לז:כה)
I have been young and now I am old; yet have I not seen a righteous person forsaken, nor their children begging for bread  Tehilim 37:25 .
יְיָ עֹ֖ז ׀ לְעַמּ֣וֹ יִתֵּ֑ן יְיָ ׀ יְבָרֵ֖ךְ אֶת־עַמּ֣וֹ בַשָּׁלֽוֹם׃ (תהלים כט:יא)
haShem will give strength to people; haShem will bless his people with peace  Tehilim 29:11 .
Abbreviated Birkat haMazon
ברכת המזון בקצרה
Abbreviated Blessing after the Meal
השפחות והנשים שמלאכתן בתבשיל ואינן יכולות בהמ”ז הכוונה מוטב שיברכו אותה בקצור ובכוונה, וזה נוסחה:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶֽסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶֽחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ: וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָֽנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָֽנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוּא זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל:
נוֹדֶה לְךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַֽלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ אֶֽרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה: וְנָתַתָּ לָֽנוּ בְּרִית וְתּוֹרַת חַיִים וּמָזוֹן: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ עַל הָאָֽרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן:
רַחֵם יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עָלֵֽינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּֽךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַֽםִ עִירֶֽךָ וְעַל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד מְשִׁיחֶֽךָ וּתְגַדֵּל מְהֵרָה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת וּתְנַחֲמֵֽנוּ בְּכִפְלַיִם: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ בּוֹנֶה בְרַחֲמָיו יְרוּשָׁלַֽםִ: אָמֵן:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב לָנוּ הוּא הֵטִיב הוּא מֵטִיב הוּא יֵיטִיב לָֽנוּ: הוּא גְמָלָֽנוּ הוּא גוֹמְלֵינוּ הוּא יִגְמוֹל בַּעֲדֵינוּ לָעַד לְחֵן לְחֶֽסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וְיְזַכֵּֽנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִֽׁיחַ: עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָּׁלוֹם עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן:
Torah to Review After Eating
עוד לימודי תורה על ברכת המזון
Some more Torah after the Birkat Hamazon
Rebbi Yoḥanan said: If we had not received the Torah, we would have learned modesty from watching a cat, honesty from the ant, and loyalty from the dove.  Bavli Eruvin 100b
The Maggid of Mezeritch was a great Rabbi and an even greater storyteller. People would come from far and wide to sit and hear his stories. But every morning at dawn, before any of his students were awake, the Maggid would begin his day by going alone to a pond on the edge of town. The Maggid’s students often wondered about the Rabbi’s strange habits, but no one dared to ask him and he never mentioned it. One day a new student asked the Maggid about his daily trips. The Master replied, “I go there daily to learn the song that frogs use to praise the Holy One. Even as a Rabbi and a storyteller, it takes a very long time to learn that song.”  The Alter Rebbe, Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Even though you may think them superfluous in this world, creatures such as flies, bugs and gnats, have their allotted task in the scheme of creation, as it says ‘And G!D saw everything that G!D had made, and behold, it was very good’.  Bereshit Rabbah 10:7
Upon considering all the work of creation, G!D said: These human beings have life, and those other creatures have life. These have breath and those have breath; these have desire for food and drink, and those have desire for food and drink. Human beings ought to be deemed as important as cattle, as beasts, at least as important as the variety of lizards, amphibians, and other creeping things which I created upon the Earth. At once the Blessed Holy One felt some measure of contentment and resolved not to annihilate humanity. And so you see that reptiles, creeping things, and all of life was created in the world dependent on one another, and so too sustains humanity on Earth.  adapted from Tanna d’bei Eliyahu, end of Chapter 1 – disputation with Zorastrian priest in Ctesiphon
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, מְֹשַֹנּה הַבְּרִיּוֹת:
Blessed are you YHVH Elohenu Cosmic Majesty who diversified the creatures. (Blessing upon seeing strange or unusual creatures)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶכָּכָה לוֹ בָּעוֹלָמוֹ:
Blessed are you YHVH Elohenu Cosmic Majesty who has such things in the cosmos. (Blessing upon seeing beautiful creatures)
יִרְעַ֤ם הַיָּם֙ וּמְלֹואֹ֔ו יַעֲלֹ֥ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־בֹּֽו׃ אָ֥ז יְרַנְּנ֖וּ עֲצֵ֣י הַיָּ֑עַר מִלִּפְנֵ֣י יְיָ כִּי־בָ֖א לִשְׁפֹּ֥וט אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; Let the field exult, and all that is therein; Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy, Before YHVH for G!D is come to judge the earth.…  א Divrei Hayamim 16:32-33
If not for the trees, human life could not exist.  Midrash Sifre on Devarim 20:19
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלוֹ חִסַּר בָּעוֹלָמוֹ דָּבָר, וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבִים, לְהַנּוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם׃
Blessed are you YHVH Elohenu Cosmic Majesty, for in your cosmos there lacks nothing, and you have fashioned goodly creatures and trees that give people pleasure.
(The Blessing on Flowering Fruit Trees, said only at the outset of the spring season on two or more flowering fruit trees)
כִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְֽהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתָפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹתֹ֖ו לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֹֽור׃
When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees, for from them will you eat, do not cut them down; for is the tree of the field an earthling that can run away from you?  Devarim 20:19
Tseno Ureno on Deuteronomy 20:19 (Rabbi Yaakov ben Yitsḥak Ashkenazi (1550-1625)
“Is the tree of the field the Adam (earthling)”? Deuteronomy 20:19 . The Torah says: You shall not chop down a tree which bears fruit, for you can eat from it. Particularly when you come to do battle with a city, and there are trees in front of the city, those you shall most certainly not chop down, so that you can eat from them. You may not cut off even a twig.
Rebbe Naḥman of Bratzlav was once traveling with his ḥasidim by carriage, and as it grew dark they came to an inn, where they spent the night. During the night Rebbe Naḥman began to cry out loudly in his sleep, waking everyone up in the inn. Everyone came running to see what happened. When he awoke, the first thing Rebbe Naḥman did was to take out a book he had brought with him. Then he closed his eyes and opened the book and pointed to a passage. And there it was written “Cutting down a tree before its time is like killing a soul.”
Then Rebbe Naḥman asked the innkeeper if the walls of that inn had been built out of saplings cut down before their time. The innkeeper admitted that this was true, but how did the rabbi know?
Rebbe Naḥman said: “All night I dreamed I was surrounded by the bodies of those who had been murdered. I was very frightened. Now I know that it was the souls of the trees that cried out to me.”  Sihot Moharan 535 in Hayei Moharan
The root reason for this mitsvah (bal tashḥit) is known (evident): it is in order to train our spirits to love what is good and beneficial and to cling to it; and as a result, good fortune will cling to us, and we will move well away from every evil thing and from every matter of destructiveness. This is the way of kindly pious people and the conscientiously observant; they love peace and are happy at the good fortune of people, and bring them near the Torah. They will not destroy even a mustard seed in the world and they are distressed at every ruination and spoilage they see; and if they are able to do any rescuing, they will save anything from destruction, with all their power.  Sefer Haḥinuch: D’varim 20:19 number 529
In everything, even in the minutest circumstance which we created beings reckon as nothing and do not take at all into account, there is a Divine intention, a Divine will; and Divine Providence arranges the circumstances that will enable this intention to be realized in a certain way.
One day in the summer of 5656 (1896 CE) I was strolling with my father in a field in the country resort of Bolivke, near Lubavitch. In this story, retold by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Yosef Yitzḥok Schneerson (1880-1950) recalls when he was a teenager walking in the fields near Bolivke with his father, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn (1860-1920). The crops were almost ripe, and the grain and the grass were nodding in a gentle breeze.
“Behold Godliness!” said my father. “Each movement of every single ear of grain and blade of grass was included in the Primal Thought of the partzuf of Adam Kadmon Primordial Reality – in Him Who watches and gazes until the end of all the generations; and Divine Providence brings this thought to realization for the sake of a certain Divine intention.”
As we walked on, we found ourselves in a forest. Deep in contemplation of what I had just been told concerning Divine Providence, and overwhelmed by the tenderness and the earnestness of my father’s explanation, I plucked a leaf from a tree as I passed by and held it in my hand. As people often do and without taking particular notice, I tore off little pieces from the leaf every so often as I walked on, ensconced in thought, and tossed them to the ground.
My father now said, “The Ari z”l says that not only is every leaf of a tree a creature with Divine vitality, which the Almighty created with a certain end as part of the ultimate purpose of creation; but, moreover, every leaf contains the spark of a soul that descends to this world for the sake of a tikkun – in order to attain restitution.
“Just see how ‘man is always liable for damages, whether awake or asleep.’ The difference between being awake or asleep is to be found in the inward faculties of seichel and middos, in the person’s intellect and in his emotional attributes. The external faculties are to be found in a sleeping person, too; only his inward faculties are confused – which explains the presence of the paradoxes to be found in dreams. And where does the difference between one who is awake and one who is asleep become apparent? In the faculty of vision. One who is asleep does not see; one who is awake can see.
“When a person is awake, he sees Godliness; when he is asleep, he does not. But ‘man is liable for damages whether he is awake or asleep.’ Just now we discussed the subject of Divine Providence – and quite without thinking, you plucked a leaf, held it in your hand, played around with it, turned it around, squashed it, tore it up in little pieces and scattered it in different places. How can a person be so light-minded in relation to a creature of the Almighty? This leaf is something created by the Almighty for a particular reason. It has a God-given vitality; it has a body, and it has life. In what way is the leaf’s ‘I’ smaller than your ‘I’?
“True, the difference is a big one. The leaf is tzome’ach (vegetation) and you are medaber (a human being), and there is a great difference between the two categories. Nevertheless, one must always remember the mission and the Divine intention of every created thing – what is the task that the tzome’ach has to fulfill in this world, and what is the task that the medaber has to fulfill in this world.” Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. I, 4a:4, p.112-113 (Hebrew), p.177 in English (1957-1958) trans. Rabbi Uri Kaploun
לַֽ֭יְיָ הָאָ֣רֶץ וּמְלֹואָ֑הּ תֵּ֝בֵ֗ל וְיֹ֣שְׁבֵי בָֽהּ׃
For YHVH’s is the Earth and the fullness thereof  Tehillim 24:1
וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְיָ אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעָבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃
And YHVH Elohim placed the Earthling in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and to protect it (l’ovdah ul’shomrah).  Bereishit 2:15
Rav Simōn said: Every single blade of grass has a mazal lit. constellation. Idiomatically, a numinous, angelic force. In Antiquity, a common belief had it that angels were essentially the souls of stars. Cf. Job 38:7, Origen. in the rakia (heavenly firmament) which strikes it and says, ‘Grow!’ This is the meaning of the verse (Job 38:33), ‘Do you know the laws of the heavens, and can you place their control (mishtar) over the earth?’ Mishtar is an expression of shoteir (an enforcing officer).  Bereishit Rabbah, 10:6, translation by Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
While the angels are the souls of stars reside in the rakia, human beings — the children of Adam born out of Adamah — reside on the Earth. (Cf. Psalms 139 attributed to Adam, verse 13 — כִּֽי־אַ֭תָּה קָנִ֣יתָ כִלְיֹתָ֑י תְּ֝סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי׃ “For you have made my reins; you have knit me together in my mother’s womb.”) We have a special relationship to the earth and have a special responsibility in cultivating and preserving her, l’ovdah ul’shomrah. The mythic tale of the Nephilim — the angels who descend to Earth — is a cautious lesson for those who perceive creation as a natural resource to be exploited. It is essentially, an etiology of predation, the origin myth explaining how carnivorous predation entered into Nature through a cascading tragedy born of insatiable, untempered appetites.
ወኮነ አመ ወጠኑ ደቂቀ እጓለ እመሕያው ይብዝኁ ዲበ ገጸ ኵላ ምድር ወአዋልድ ተወልዳ ሎሙ። ወርእይዎን መላእክተ እግዚአብሔር በአሐቲ ዘኢዮቤልዉ ዝንቱ እስመ ሠናያት ለርኢይ እማንቱ ወነሥእዎን ሎቶን ሎሙ አንስትያ እምኵሎን እለ ኀረዩ ወወለዳ ሎሙ ውሉደ ወእሙንቱ ረዓይት። ወልህቀት ዐመፃ ዲበ ምድር ወኵሉ ዘሥጋ አማሰነት ፍኖታ እምሰብእ እስከ እንስሳ ወእስከ አራዊት ወእስከ አዕዋፍ ወእስከ ኵሉ ዘያንሶሱ ውስተ ምድር ኵሎሙ አማሰኑ ፍኖቶሙ ወሥርዓቶሙ። ወአኀዙ ይትባልዑ በበይናቲሆሙ ወዐመፃ ልህቀት ዲበ ምድር ወኵሉ ኅሊና አእምሮ ለኵሎሙ እጓለ እመሕያው ከመዝ እኵይ ኵሎ መዋዕለ።
And when the children of men began to multiply on the surface of the earth and daughters were born to them that the angels of YHVH saw in a certain year of that jubilee that they were good to look at. And they (the Nephilim) took wives for themselves from all of those whom they chose. And they bore children for them; and they were the giants. And injustice increased upon the earth, and all flesh corrupted its way; man and domesticated creatures and wild animals and birds and everything which walks on the earth. And they all corrupted their way and their ordinances, and they began to eat one another. And injustice grew upon the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all mankind was thus continually evil.  Jubilees 5:1-2
እሉ ፡ በልዑ ፡ ኵሎ ፡ ፃማ ፡ ሰብእ ፡ እስከ ፡ ስእንዎሙ ፡ ሴስዮተ ፡ ሰብእ ። ወተመይጡ ፡ ረዓይት ፡ ላዕሌሆሙ ፡ ይብልዕዎሙ ፡ ለሰብእ ። ወወጠኑ ፡ የአብሱ ፡ በአዕዋፍ ፡ ወዲበ ፡ አራዊት ፡ ወበዘይትሐወስ ፡ ወበዓሣት ፡ ወሥጋሆሙ ፡ በበይናቲሆሙ ፡ ይትባልዑ ፡ ወደመ ፡ ይስትዩ ፡ እምኔሃ ። አሜሃ ፡ ምድር ፡ ሰከየቶሙ ፡ ለዐማፅያን ።
These (giants) consumed the produce of all the people until the people detested feeding them. So the giants turned against (the people) in order to eat them. And they began to sin against birds, wild beasts, reptiles, and fish. And their flesh was devoured the one by the other, and they drank blood, And then the earth brought an accusation against the oppressors.
 1 Enoch 7:3-6
Aramaic fragments of I Enoch ch. 7:3-6 early pre-Maccabean “Fragments of the Book of Noah”  Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls .
ὁ οὖν θεὸς εἰδὼς αὐτοὺς πρὸς τὸ θηριῶδες ἐξηγριωμένους καὶ πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτῶν πλησμονὴν τὸν κόσμον οὐκ ἔχοντας αὐτάρκη (πρὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπων ἀναλογίαν ἐδημιουργήθη καὶ χρῆσιν ἀνθρωπίνην), ἵνα μὴ ἐνδείᾳ τροφῆς ἐπὶ τὴν παρὰ φύσιν τῶν ζῴων βορὰν τρεπόμενοι ἀνεύθυνοι δοκῶσιν εἶναι, ὡς δι’ ἀνάγκην τοῦτο τετολμηκότες, μάννα αὐτοῖς ὁ παντοδύναμος θεὸς ἐπώμβρισεν ἐκ ποικίλης ἐπιθυμίας, καὶ παντὸς οὗπερ ἐβούλοντο ἀπήλαυον· οἱ δ’ ὑπὸ νόθου φύσεως τῷ καθαρῷ τῆς τροφῆς οὐκ ἀρεσκόμενοι, μόνης τῆς τῶν αἱμάτων γεύσεως ἐγλίχοντο. διὸ καὶ πρῶτοι σαρκῶν ἐγεύσαντο. οἱ δὲ σὺν αὐτοῖς ἄνθρωποι τὸ ὅμοιον τότε πρῶτον ποιεῖν ἐζήλωσαν. οὕτως εἴτε ἀγαθοὶ εἴτε κακοὶ οὐ γεννώμεθα, ἀλλὰ γινόμεθα καὶ ἐθισθέντες δυσαποσπάστως ἔχομεν. τῶν δὲ ἀλόγων ζῴων τότε ἐπιλιπόντων, οἱ νόθοι ἄνθρωποι καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων σαρκῶν ἐγεύσαντο· οὐκέτι γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἦν μακρὰν τὴν ἰδίαν διαφθεῖραι σάρκα, πρότερον ἐν ἑτέραις μορφαῖς αὐτῆς γευσαμένοις. ἐπὶ δὲ τῇ πολλῇ τῶν αἱμάτων ῥύσει ὁ καθαρὸς ἀὴρ ἀκαθάρτῳ ἀναθυμιάσει μιανθεὶς καὶ νοσήσας τοὺς ἀναπνέοντας αὐτὸν νοσώδεις ἀπειργάζετο, ὡς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους λοιπὸν ἀώρους ἀποθνῄσκειν. ἡ δὲ γῆ ἐκ τούτων σφόδρα μιανθεῖσα πρῶτον τότε τὰ ἰοβόλα καὶ λυμαντικὰ ζῷα ἐξέβρασεν. τῶν οὖν πάντων πρὸς τὸ χεῖρον χωρησάντων διὰ τοὺς θηριώδεις δαίμονας, ὁ θεὸς αὐτοὺς ὥσπερ κακὴν ζύμην ἐξελεῖν ἐβουλεύετο, ἵνα μὴ ἀπὸ σπορᾶς κακῆς κατ’ ἀκολουθίαν ἑκάστη γενεὰ τῇ πρὸ αὐτῆς ἐξομοιουμένη, ὁμοίως ἀσεβοῦσα τὸν ἐσόμενον αἰῶνα σῳζομένων ἀνδρῶν κενώσῃ.
Therefore God, knowing that they were barbarized to brutality, and that the world was not sufficient to satisfy them (for it was created according to the proportion of men and human use), that they might not through want of food turn, contrary to nature, to the eating of animals, and yet seem to be blameless, as having ventured upon this through necessity, the Almighty God rained manna upon them, suited to their various tastes; and they enjoyed all that they would. But they, on account of their bastard nature, not being pleased with purity of food, longed only after the taste of blood. Wherefore they first tasted flesh. And the men who were with them there for the first time were eager to do the like. Thus, although we are born neither good nor bad, we become one or the other; and having formed habits, we are with difficulty drawn from them. But when irrational animals fell short, these bastard men tasted also human flesh. For it was not a long step to the consumption of flesh like their own, having first tasted it in other forms. But by the shedding of much blood, the pure air being defiled with impure vapour, and sickening those who breathed it, rendered them liable to diseases, so that thenceforth men died prematurely. But the earth being by these means greatly defiled, these first teemed with poison-darting and deadly creatures.
All things, therefore, going from bad to worse, on account of these brutal demons, God wished to cast them away like an evil leaven, lest each generation from a wicked seed, being like to that before it, and equally impious, should empty the world to come of saved men. Clementine Homilies 8:15-17
Immediately Metatron [chief of the angels], sent a messenger to Shemḥazai (first of the Nephilim) and said to him: ‘The Blessed Holy One is about to destroy His world and to bring a deluge (over) the world.’ [Shemḥazai] began at once, weeping continually and grieved, because of the world and of his [giant] sons. What would his sons do? What would they eat should the world be destroyed? For every day each of them ate a thousand camels, a thousand horses, and a thousand oxen.  Yalkut Shimoni
אַךְ־בָּשָׂ֕ר בְּנַפְשׁ֥וֹ דָמ֖וֹ לֹ֥א תֹאכֵֽלוּ׃ וְאַ֨ךְ אֶת־דִּמְכֶ֤ם לְנַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶם֙ אֶדְרֹ֔שׁ מִיַּ֥ד כָּל־חַיָּ֖ה אֶדְרְשֶׁ֑נּוּ וּמִיַּ֣ד הָֽאָדָ֗ם מִיַּד֙ אִ֣ישׁ אָחִ֔יו אֶדְרֹ֖שׁ אֶת־נֶ֥פֶשׁ הָֽאָדָֽם׃
Every moving thing that lives shall be for food for you; as the green herb have I given you all. Only flesh with its lifeblood [still flowing in it], you shall not eat. Bereishit 9:3-4
Rav Yehudah said in Rab’s name: the first Earthling (Adam haRishon) was not permitted to eat flesh, for it is written, “[Behold I have given you all the vegetation, etc.] to you it shall be for food, and to all the wild creatures of the earth,” Genesis 1:29f. implying, but the wild creatures of the earth shall not be for you. But with the advent of the sons of Noaḥ, it was permitted (as a concession), for it is said, [Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you;] even as the green herb have I given you all things. Genesis 9:3 Now one might think that ever min haḥai (the prohibition against devouring living creaturea) does not apply to them [the Noaḥides]: therefore the Torah teaches, “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, you shall not eat.” Genesis 9:4 One might think that this prohibition applies even to reptiles; therefore it is stated — “but.” How is this implied? — Rav Huna said “[But flesh with the life thereof, which is] the blood thereof” — this shows that the prohibition applies only to those creatures whose flesh is distinct from their blood [in its prohibition]; excluding reptiles, whose flesh is not distinct from their blood. i.e. cold-blooded creatures?
מיתיבי ורדו בדגת הים (בראשית א:כו) מאי לאו לאכילה לא למלאכה ודגים בני מלאכה נינהו אין כדרחבה דבעי רחבה הנהיג בעיזא ושיבוטא מאי ת”ש ובעוף השמים (בראשית א:כו) מאי לאו לאכילה לא למלאכה ועופות בני מלאכה נינהו אין כדבעי רבה בר רב הונא דש באווזין ותרנגולין לר’ יוסי ברבי יהודה מאי
An objection is raised. Here, the idea of dominion is related to the practice of domestication for labor rather than for food. “And rule over the fish of the sea;” Genesis 1:26 surely that means that they should serve as food? — No. It refers to toil. But can fish be made to work? — Yes, even as Raḥabah propounded: What if one drove [a waggon] with a goat and a shibbuta (fish)? Cf. Deuteronomy 22:10. A shibbuta may be a mullet. Come and hear: and over the birds of the sky. Surely this is in respect of food? — No. It refers to toil. But can fowl be made to work? — Yes, even as Rabbah ben Rav Huna propounded: According to the ruling of Rebbi Yossi ben Rebbi Yehudah, what if one threshed [corn] with geese or chickens? Cf. Deuteroneomy 25:4. Bava Metsia 91b
תא שמע ובכל חיה הרומשת על הארץ (בראשית א, כח) ההוא לאתויי נחש הוא דאתא דתניא ר”ש בן מנסיא אומר חבל על שמש גדול שאבד מן העולם שאלמלא (לא) נתקלל נחש כל אחד ואחד מישראל היו מזדמנין לו שני נחשים טובים אחד משגרו לצפון ואחד משגרו לדרום להביא לו סנדלבונים טובים ואבנים טובות ומרגליות ולא עוד אלא שמפשילין רצועה תחת זנבו ומוציא בה עפר לגנתו ולחורבתו
Come and hear: “And over every living creature that moveth upon the earth!” — That refers to the Naḥash (Edenic serpent). For it has been taught: — Rebbi Shimon ben Manassia said: Woe for the loss of a great servant. For had not the Naḥash been cursed, every Israelite would have had two valuable serpents, sending one to the north and one to the south to bring him costly gems, precious stones and pearls. Moreover, one would have fastened a thong under its tail, with which it would bring forth earth for his garden and waste land.
מיתיבי היה ר’ יהודה בן תימא אומר אדם הראשון מיסב בגן עדן היה והיו מלאכי השרת צולין לו בשר ומסננין לו יין הציץ בו נחש וראה בכבודו ונתקנא בו התם בבשר היורד מן השמים מי איכא בשר היורד מן השמים אין כי הא דר”ש בן חלפתא הוה קאזיל באורחא פגעו בו הנך אריותא דהוו קא נהמי לאפיה אמר הכפירים שואגים לטרף (תהלים קד, כא) נחיתו ליה תרתי אטמתא חדא אכלוה וחדא שבקוה אייתיה ואתא לבי מדרשא בעי עלה דבר טמא הוא זה או דבר טהור א”ל אין דבר טמא יורד מן השמים בעי מיניה ר’ זירא מר’ אבהו ירדה לו דמות חמור מהו א”ל יארוד נאלא הא אמרי ליה אין דבר טמא יורד מן השמים:
A [further] objection is raised: Rebbi Yehudah ben Tema said: the first Earthling (Adam haRishon) reclined in the Garden of Eden, whilst the ministering angels roasted flesh and strained wine for him. Thereupon the Naḥash looked in, saw the honor accorded him, and became envious? — The reference there is to flesh that descended from heaven. But does flesh descend from heaven? — Yes; as in the story of Rebbi Shimon ben Ḥalafta, who was walking on the road, when lions met him and roared at him. Thereupon he quoted: The young lions roar after their prey; Psalms 104:21. and two lumps of flesh descended [from heaven]. They ate one and left the other. This he brought to the schoolhouse and propounded: Is this clean [fit for food] or not? — They [sc. the scholars] answered: Nothing ritually impure descends from heaven. Rebbi Zera asked Rebbi Abbahu: What if something in the shape of an ass were to descend? — He replied: You howling yorod!: Yarod is a bird of solitary habits, or a jackal (Rashi). The meaning is: what a foolish question to ask! did they not answer him that no ritually impure thing descends from heaven?
וְהָֽאסַפְסֻף֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ הִתְאַוּ֖וּ תַּאֲוָ֑ה וַיָּשֻׁ֣בוּ וַיִּבְכּ֗וּ גַּ֚ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ מִ֥י יַאֲכִלֵ֖נוּ בָּשָֽׂר׃ זָכַ֙רְנוּ֙ אֶת־הַדָּגָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־נֹאכַ֥ל בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם חִנָּ֑ם אֵ֣ת הַקִּשֻּׁאִ֗ים וְאֵת֙ הָֽאֲבַטִּחִ֔ים וְאֶת־הֶחָצִ֥יר וְאֶת־הַבְּצָלִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַשּׁוּמִֽים׃ וְעַתָּ֛ה נַפְשֵׁ֥נוּ יְבֵשָׁ֖ה אֵ֣ין כֹּ֑ל בִּלְתִּ֖י אֶל־הַמָּ֥ן עֵינֵֽינוּ׃וְהַמָּ֕ן כִּזְרַע־גַּ֖ד ה֑וּא וְעֵינ֖וֹ כְּעֵ֥ין הַבְּדֹֽלַח׃
And the Asafsuf lit. mixed multitude, a gathering of people. that were among them fell a lusting; and the children of Yisrael also wept on their part, and said: ‘Would that we were given flesh to eat! We remember the fish, which we were wont to eat in Egypt for nought; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all; we have nought save this manna to look to.’  Numbers 11:3-4
וַיָּ֣קָם הָעָ֡ם כָּל־הַיּוֹם֩ הַה֨וּא וְכָל־הַלַּ֜יְלָה וְכֹ֣ל׀ י֣וֹם הַֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת וַיַּֽאַסְפוּ֙ אֶת־הַשְּׂלָ֔ו הַמַּמְעִ֕יט אָסַ֖ף עֲשָׂרָ֣ה חֳמָרִ֑ים וַיִּשְׁטְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ שָׁט֔וֹחַ סְבִיב֖וֹת הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃ הַבָּשָׂ֗ר עוֹדֶ֙נּוּ֙ בֵּ֣ין שִׁנֵּיהֶ֔ם טֶ֖רֶם יִכָּרֵ֑ת וְאַ֤ף יְהוָה֙ חָרָ֣ה בָעָ֔ם וַיַּ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ בָּעָ֔ם מַכָּ֖ה רַבָּ֥ה מְאֹֽד׃
And the people rose up all that day, and all the night, and all the next day, and gathered the quails; he that gathered least gathered ten heaps; and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of haShem was kindled against the people, and haShem smote the people with a very great plague.  Numbers 11:32-33
“Slaughter from your cattle…as I have commanded you”: Not at all times, but only periodically, when the desire becomes strong. And what was said, “just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so may you eat them”  Deuteronomy 12:22 , and as it said, “When one hunts game of an animal or bird”  Leviticus 17:13 , and our Sages said, “the Torah taught proper behavior, that a person should eat meat only on this kind of occasional basis”  Talmud Bavli Chullin 84a:46 . The explanation of the matter is that if people accustom themselves to eating the animals present in the home, ox, sheep, or goat, then all day they will have desire and will accustom themselves to eat it on a daily basis, but they don’t eat it until they hunt game of animals or birds in the forest or desert, where there is danger and great effort to hunt them, then their desire will be calmed, because the eating isn’t worth the great pain and effort.  Kli Yakar on Deuteronomy 12:21
Rabbi Moshe Cordovero from Tomer Devorah, ch. 2, circa 16th century:
G‽D provides from the re’eimim  enormous myth-historical herd mammals to the eggs of lice, despising no creature, for if G‽D were to despise His creatures because of their insignificance they could not exist even for one moment, so G‽D shows compassion to them all. Just the same, a person should be good to all creatures, despising none, so that even the most insignificant assumes importance in their eyes and they be concerned with it. And they should do good to all in need of their goodness.
Rabbi Moshe Cordovero from Tomer Devorah, ch. 3 (end):
In addition, Ḥokhmah (Wisdom) is the ‘father’ of all existence. As it is written: “How great are Your works, Hashem: You have made them all with Ḥokhmah.” Tehillim 104:24 Thus, everything lives and exists from there (from that source). Likewise, one should act as a father to all of the creatures of the Blessed Holy One, particularly to the Bnei Yisroel, for they are holy souls which emanate from there. One should constantly pray for mercy and blessing for the world, the same say that the Supernal ‘Father’ has mercy on all His beings. And they should constantly pray for the salvation of those who are in distress, as if they were actually one’s own children and they, themself, had formed them, for this is what the Blessed Holy One desires. As in the way the faithful shepherd Moshe said: “Did I conceive this nation…that You say to me, ‘Carry it in your breast’?” Bamidbar 11:12 In this way, a person should carry all of God’s nation “as a nurse carries a nursing infant.” ibid. “They should gather the lambs in his arm, lifting them to his bosom, and lead the young nursing ones.” Isaiah 40:11 They should remember to recover the forgotten, look after the desolate, heal the broken, nourish the incapacitated, and return the lost. One should have mercy on Bnei Yisroel, bearing its burdens cheerfully, just as the Merciful Supernal Father bears all. One should not tire or look away or get disgusted; rather, they should lead each and every one according to their needs. These are the qualities of Ḥokhmah – to be like a merciful parent toward their children.
Furthermore, one’s compassion should extend to all creatures and they should neither despise nor destroy them, for the Supernal Ḥokhmah spreads over all of creation: inanimate objects, plants, animals and humans. For this reason, we are warned by our Sages against treating food disrespectfully. This is a proper concept, for just as the Supernal Ḥokhmah does not despise anything that exists, since everything is created from it – as it is written, “You have made them all with Ḥokhmah,” Tehillim 104:24 so, too, a person’s compassion should be upon all the creations of the Blessed Holy One. For this reason, Rabbi Yehudah “the Holy One” was punished, because he did not have pity on a calf that hid by him under his cloak, in order to evade slaughter, and he said to it, “Go! You were created for this purpose.” Bava Metzia 85a Suffering – which derives from the aspect of strict judgment – came upon him. For only compassion shields against strict judgment. Thus, when he had mercy on a weasel, and said “His compassion is upon all His creations,” Tehillim 145:9 he was delivered from strict judgment, for the light of Ḥokhmah spread over him, and his suffering was removed. ibid.
Similarly, one should not disparage any creature that exists, for all of them were created with Ḥokhmah. Nor should one uproot plants or kill animals unless they are needed. And one should choose a noble death for them, using a carefully inspected sharp knife, in order to be merciful as much as possible.
This is the general principle: Having pity on all beings not to hurt them, is contingent on Ḥokhmah.
|2||lit. “absence,” — dependencies|
|5||Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 59b|
|6||Talmud Yerushalmi Ḳiddushin 4:12|
|7||Talmud Bavli Ta’anit 20b|
|9||Talmud Bavli Tractate Brakhot 35a-b|
|11||R’ Moshe Cordovero, Pardes Rimmonim, Shaar 12, ch. 2, f. 66a|
|14||in Devarim 8:10|
|15||Talmud Bavli Berakhot 21a|
|16||Ya’akov Yosef of Polonoye, Zafnat Paneah (1st ed.) 77a. With gratitude to Elly Moseson for locating the source of this incredible quote: על פי ששמעתי ממורי זלה”ה בשם כתבי הרמב”ם שהשיב תשובה למדינה א’ שכפרו בתחיית המתים ותשובתו נוצחת להם. כי השכל נעשה מברירת הדמים כו’ יעו”ש והנה ר”מ מקוצי חולק על הרמב”ם ומנה בין הלאוין אזהרה לגסי הרוח כו’. כי נגלה אליו האלד”ים בחלום כי הזכירה כו’. וההיפוך השכחה כו’ יעו”ש וביאר הוא כי כאשר יש עכירות בדם אז האדם הוא בבחי’ אחוריים גי’ תשכ”ח כי הזכירה נמשך משמות זכו”ר. והשכחה מאחוריים דאו”א גי’ תשכ”ח כמו שכתוב ביחודים. וכמו שהוא בפרטות אדם א’ כך הוא בכללות שנמשך הגלות מהשכחה ומהזכירה בא הגאולה ודפח”ח — “According to what I heard from my Master [the Baal Shem Tov] in the name of the writings of Maimonides who replied in a responsum to a particular country that had denied the resurrection and his reply defeated them. For the intellect is made from the refining of the blood etc. see there (Zafnat Paneah, 50a). And Rabbi Moses of Coucy disagrees with Maimonides and counts among the  prohibitions a prohibition for the haughty of spirit etc. for God revealed to him in a dream that recollection etc. and the opposite is the case with forgetfulness etc. see there (Smag, Prohibition 64). And he [the Baal Shem Tov] explained that when there is coagulation in the blood, then the person is in a state of the [divine] backside which is numerically equivalent to the word “you will forget” (tishkaḥ = 728) for recollection derives from the masculine [divine] names [zahor = masculine = recollect] and forgetfulness from the backside [i.e. feminine] of the Father (the Sefirah of Hokhmah) and the Mother (the Sefirah of Binah) [the divine names associated with which] are numerically equivalent to the word “you will forget” [i.e. YVD YVD HY YVD HY VYV YVD HY VYV HY (Hokhmah) ALF ALF HY ALF HY YVD ALF HY YVD HY (Binah) = 728 = Tishkaḥ) as is written in [the Lurianic] Yiḥudim. And as it is with a single individual so is it in general, that exile derives from forgetfulness and from recollection comes redemption. And the words of the wise are gracious.”|
|17||Talmud Bavli Berakhot 40b|
|21||Mishna Avot 3:3|
|28||Tehilim 145:16. From a meditation of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan on Tehilim 145:16: don’t read yadekha (your hand), read yodekha (your yud) – the yud of the Tetragrammaton corresponding to Keter Elyon, the root of the Tree of Life.|
|31||Psalms 24:1, cf. Psalm 50:11, and Deuteronomy 10:14. This land is not yours, and it is not mine. The land is the Garden of HaShem.|
|32||cf. Psalms 139:11-15|
|33||cf. Genesis 2:15, l’ovdah ul’shomrah. We are commanded to be responsible stewards of this Garden, the earth’s biosphere.|
|34||Numbers 13:33. Seeing oneself as an underling should not validate excuses for conquest or privilege. By grasshoppers, the verse suggests that the Bnei Anak, the giant children of the Nephilim, see newcomers as fast food, i.e., easy pickings. The Nephilim first referenced in Genesis ch. 6, are the bnei elohim — children of G‽D — who descend to Earth, take what they wish, and with their children, introduce predation into nature. Thematically, the Nephilim and their children are archetypal of any group or person who makes themselves into an oppressive bigshot.|
|35||Psalms 44:4 (partial).|
|36||Psalms 44:3. My central point here is that a humanity that is not acting as a proper steward of the Earth (as the Garden of Hashem) cedes the role of “gardener” to G‽Δ who, as the one god of both suffering and joy, drives out, spreads, and plants humanity in a manner that might seem just as arbitrary and capricious to us as a human farmer ploughing and planting might seem to the wild creatures of the fields and forests.|
|37||from Genesis 4:10. Either the dahm (blood) of Kayin’s brother Abel cries out from Adamah (the earth) or the Adamah itself cries out. HaShem loves the Earth, and the Earth is ever burdened with the sins that humans cannot bear — and HaShem takes note.|
|38||cf. Psalms 126. As we should, but we need to reciprocate for our gratefulness by taking responsibility for our actions and the errors of the generations who came before us that acted with callous ignorance and neglect of the systems supporting life on earth and the welfare of the creatures we share this world with.|
|40||From Talmud Bavli Gittin 57a: אשקא קא דריספק חריב ביתר דהוו נהיגי כי הוה מתיליד ינוקא שתלי ארזא ינוקתא שתלי תורניתא וכי הוו מינסבי קייצי להו ועבדו גננא יומא חד הוה קא חלפא ברתיה דקיסר אתבר שקא דריספק קצו ארזא ועיילו לה אתו נפול עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו: (Through the axle of a carriage Betar was destroyed. It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a wedding canopy made of the branches. One day the daughter of the Emperor was passing when the axle of her carriage broke, so they lopped some branches off a cedar tree and brought it to her [to repair her carriage]. The Jews thereupon fell upon them and beat them. They reported to the Emperor that the Jews were rebelling, and he marched against them.) From Eikha Rabba 4: הורגים בהם עד ששקע הסוס בדם עד חוטמו והיה הדם מגלגל אבנים של ארבעים סאה והולך בים ארבעה מילין ואם תאמר שקרובה לים והלא רחוקה מן הים ארבעה מילין וכרם גדול היה לו לאדריאנוס שמונה עשר מיל על שמונה עשר מיל כמן טבריא לציפורי והקיפו גדר מהרוגי ביתר ולא גזר עליהם שיקברו עד שעמד מלך אחד וגזר עליהם וקברום ר’ הונא אמר יום שניתנו הרוגי ביתר לקבורה נקבעה הטוב והמטיב הטוב שלא הסריחו והמטיב שנתנו לקבורה(They slew the inhabitants until the horses waded in blood up to their nostrils, and the blood rolled along stones of the size of forty se’ah and flowed into the sea, staining it for a distance of four mil. Should you say that Betar is close to the sea; was it not in fact four miles distant from it? Now Hadrian possessed a large vineyard eighteen mil square, as far as from Tiberias to Tzipori, and they surrounded it with a fence consisting of the slain of Betar. Nor was it decreed that they should be buried until a certain king arose and ordered their burial. Rabbi Huna said: On the day when the slain of Betar were allowed burial, the blessing, “hatov v’hameitiv | Who is kind and deals kindly” was instituted – “hatov — Who is kind” because the bodies did not rot, and “v’hameitiv — Who deals kindly‟ because they were allowed burial.)|
|49||adapted from the formulation of Rabbi David Seidenberg|
|50||II Shmuel 22:41|
|58||Bavli Eruvin 100b|
|59||The Alter Rebbe, Shneur Zalman of Liadi|
|60||Bereshit Rabbah 10:7|
|61||adapted from Tanna d’bei Eliyahu, end of Chapter 1 – disputation with Zorastrian priest in Ctesiphon|
|62||א Divrei Hayamim 16:32-33|
|63||Midrash Sifre on Devarim 20:19|
|66||Sihot Moharan 535 in Hayei Moharan|
|67||Sefer Haḥinuch: D’varim 20:19 number 529|
|68||בנאות דשא באליווקא הסמוכה לליובאוויטש.|
|69||ענינו ידוע ללומדי חסידות.|
|70||בבא קמא ג,ב.|
|72||In this story, retold by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Yosef Yitzḥok Schneerson (1880-1950) recalls when he was a teenager walking in the fields near Bolivke with his father, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn (1860-1920).|
|74||Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. I, 4a:4, p.112-113 (Hebrew), p.177 in English (1957-1958) trans. Rabbi Uri Kaploun|
|77||lit. constellation. Idiomatically, a numinous, angelic force. In Antiquity, a common belief had it that angels were essentially the souls of stars. Cf. Job 38:7, Origen.|
|78||Bereishit Rabbah, 10:6, translation by Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner|
|80||1 Enoch 7:3-6|
|81||Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls|
|82||Clementine Homilies 8:15-17|
|88||i.e. cold-blooded creatures?|
|89||Here, the idea of dominion is related to the practice of domestication for labor rather than for food.|
|91||Cf. Deuteronomy 22:10. A shibbuta may be a mullet.|
|92||Cf. Deuteroneomy 25:4. Bava Metsia 91b|
|94||Yarod is a bird of solitary habits, or a jackal (Rashi). The meaning is: what a foolish question to ask!|
|95||lit. mixed multitude, a gathering of people.|
|100||Talmud Bavli Chullin 84a:46|
|101||Kli Yakar on Deuteronomy 12:21|
|102||enormous myth-historical herd mammals|
|108||Bava Metzia 85a|
“ברכת המזון | Ḥaveri Nevarekh: Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated, a Birkon by Aharon Varady (2016)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.