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☞   Blessings After Eating

Some presentations and translations of the birkat hamazon may be found in the Barekh section of compiled Haggadot (some of which are still awaiting transcription or decompilation).

צוּר מִשֶּׁלּוֹ אָכַֽלְנוּ | Tsur Mishelo Akhalnu, a paraliturgical Birkat haMazon (rhymed translation by Alice Lucas, 1898)

A rhymed translation of Tsur Mishelo, a paralitugical Birkat haMazon. . . .

ברכת המזון לחול ולשבת | Birkat haMazon for Weekdays and on Shabbat from the Cairo Genizah fragment Or.1080 15.4

A birkat haMazon found in the collection of Cairo Geniza fragments at the University of Cambridge library. . . .

ברכת המזון לסעודה מפסקת ערב תשעה בעב | Birkat haMazon for the Seudah Mafseqet (Pre-Fast Meal) of Tisha b’Av, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Birkat haMazon with additions for the pre-Fast meal of Tisha b’Av . . .

Prière de table d’un enfant | A Child’s Table Prayer, by Jonas Ennery & Rabbi Arnaud Aron (1852)

A birkat hamazon for children. . . .

Ya Komimos (We have eaten), a Ladino piyyut for the Birkat haMazon

A paraliturgical birkat hamazon in Ladino. . . .

הָרַחֲמָן עַל שְׁנַת הַשְׁמִיטָה | Haraḥaman for the Shmitah Year, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This Haraḥaman (prayer to the merciful or compassionate One) for the Shmitah or sabbatical year can be added to Birkat Hamazon (blessing after meals) during the whole Shmitah year, in order to remember and open our hearts to the sanctity of the land. Say it right before the Harachaman for Shabbat, since Shmitah is the grand shabbat, and right after the paragraph beginning with Bamarom (a/k/a, Mimarom). . . .

ברכת המזון השלם עם טעמי מקרא | Full Birkat haMazon with Ta’amei haMiqra (cantillation), by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (Nusaḥ Ashkenaz)

The full Birkat haMazon (or Grace after Meals) according to Nusach Ashkenaz with optional additions for egalitarian rites, fully marked with ta’amei miqra (also known as cantillation marks or trope). Ta’amei miqra originally marked grammar and divisions in any Hebrew sentences, and older Hebrew manuscripts such as those from the Cairo Geniza often show ta’amei miqra on all sorts of texts, not just the Biblical texts we associate them with today. This text includes the full tradition for Birkat haMazon, including texts for weekdays, Shabbatot, and festivals, as well as additions for a wedding meal, a circumcision meal, and a meal in a mourner’s house. . . .

בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן בִּקְצָרָה | Birkat HaMazon Biqtsarah :: Abbreviated Blessing after the Meal

The formula for the abbreviated Birkat Hamazon, in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

Bendigamos al Altísimo, a Ladino song for the Birkat haMazon

Bendigamos is a hymn sung after meals according to the custom of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. It has also been traditionally sung by the Jews of Turkish descent. It is similar in meaning to the Birkat Hamazon that is said by all Jews. Bendigamos is said in addition to Birkat Hamazon, either immediately before or immediately after it. The text is in modern Spanish, not Ladino. The prayer was translated by David de Sola Pool. Below is the actual text as well as the translation by de Sola Pool. The melody is one of the best known and loved Spanish and Portuguese melodies, used also for the Song of the Sea (in the Shabbat morning service) and sometimes in “Hallel” (on the first day of the Hebrew month and on festivals). . . .

תהלים קכ״ו | Shir Hama’alot :: Psalms 126, a poetic translation by Shim’on Menachem

This Psalm is straightforwardly post-exilic (for which see Sefer haWiki) but switches in its narrative perspective between before and after the return from Babylon, between gratitude and longing for return, helped by the profoundly non-linear mechanics of verbal tense and aspect in biblical Hebrew. The Psalmist chooses words associated with joy (s’ḥoq, rinah) that are tinged with other, more complicated emotions. Here’s what came out. . . .

תהלים קל״ז | Psalms 137 (Al Naharot Bavel :: By the Rivers of Babylon), translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalm 137 is traditionally recited before the Birkat Hamazon (the Blessing [after eating] the Meal) on a weekday. Psalms 137 (with Psalms 138:1) is read on the day of the Fast of Tisha b’Av. . . .

ברכת המזון | Thanks for the Food, an interpretive translation of the Birkat Hamazon by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The style by which Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l translated Jewish liturgy in English was neither literal nor idiomatic, but highly interpretive and interspersed with his own ḥiddushim (innovations). Showing Reb Zalman’s translation side-by-side with the Jewish liturgy helps to illuminate his understanding of the liturgy — it’s deeper meaning as well as how it might be communicated to a contemporary audience. In the version I have prepared below, I have set the interpretive translation of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l side-by-side with the liturgical Hebrew that may have inspired it. In several places, Reb Zalman’s formulation departs from the traditional Ashkenazi nusaḥ. Where there is no Hebrew, we can more easily observe where Reb Zalman has expanded upon the blessing. Still, my work was not exhaustive and I appreciate any corrections to the nusaḥ (liturgical custom) of the Hebrew that may have inspired Reb Zalman’s interpretation in English. . . .

ברכת המזון | Ḥaveri Nevarekh: Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated, a Birkon by Aharon Varady (2016)

Unlike most plant and bacterial life, we human beings cannot process our own food from the sun, soil, water, and air. And so, as with the other kingdoms of life on Earth, we are dependent on vegetation to live, either directly by consuming plants, or indirectly by predating on other creatures that consume vegetation. Being nourished and seeking nourishment is so basic to us, that our practical desperation for survival undergirds most of our ethics relating to non-human life. But Judaism demands that our human propensity towards predation be circumscribed. Indeed, it is my understanding that the ultimate goal of Torah is to circumscribe and temper our our predatory appetites, and to limit and discipline our predatory behavior. In this way, our predatory instinct may be redeemed as a force for goodness in the world, and we might become a living example to others in how to live in peace and with kindness towards the other lifeforms we share this planet with. 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. . . .

ברכת המזון לשבועות ‬| Birkat haMazon for Shavuot, according to the Cairo Geniza fragment ‫T-S H6.37 vocalized and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Birkat haMazon for Shavuot presenting an alphabetic acrostic from a manuscript preserved in the Cairo Geniza. . . .

הרחמן הוא ישבור עול כיבוש | Prayer to the Compassionate One for the Peace of Two States for Two Peoples (for Inclusion in the Birkat Hamazon) by Ira Tick

A prayer for the peaceful resolution of Israel’s conflicts with her neighbors and a mutually agreeable end to her dominion over the Palestinians, in Hebrew and in English, appropriate for inserting in the Birkat HaMazon especially on Shabbat and Festivals, or for reciting at any time. . . .

ברכת המזון לסעודת ההבראה במוצאי תשעה באב | Birkat Hamazon additions for the Break Fast Meal after Tisha b’Av, by Gabriel Wasserman

Supplemental prayers for the Birkat Hamazon for the break fast meal after Tisha b’Av. . . .

ברכת המזון לסעודת טו באב | Birkat Hamazon additions for the Feast of Tu b’Av, by Gabriel Wasserman

Supplemental prayers for the Birkat Hamazon on Tu b’Av by Gabriel Wasserman . . .

ברכת המזון לשבת א׳ דנחמתא (נחמו)‏ | Birkat Hamazon additions for Shabbat Naḥamu, by Gabriel Wasserman

Supplemental prayers for the Birkat Hamazon on Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Av, and Shabbat Naḥamu by Gabriel Wasserman . . .