Safek Brachot LeHaKel

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If one's in doubt if one made a bracha

  1. If one is in doubt whether one can make a Bracha the general rule is that one shouldn’t make the Bracha. [1]
  2. If one is in doubt whether one made a Bracha Rishona or not, one may not make the Bracha, rather it’s permissible to eat without a Bracha because of Safek Brachot LeHakel. [2]
  3. If there’s a doubt whether one interrupted his eating (with a Hesech Hadaat) one shouldn’t make another Bracha and it’s permissible to continue eating. [3]

Alternatives to saying the actual bracha

  1. It’s preferable to make the same Bracha on another food upon which one didn’t originally intend to eat and have intent to cover the doubt one is in. [4]
  2. Alternatively it’s preferable to listen to someone making that Bracha, while the one making the Bracha has intent to fulfill the obligation of the one listening and the one listening should intend to fulfill the obligation. [5]
  3. Another preferable option is to obligate oneself to make another Bracha by making a proper Shinui Makom. [6]
  4. In these situations there are a number of suggestions of how to make the Bracha without making an unnecessary Bracha.
    1. Some say that one can say the Bracha in a language other than Hebrew, however, many great authorities disagree and forbid this. [7]
    2. Some say that one may say the Bracha as part of learning (reading it from Shulchan Aruch or Rambam), however, many argue that this too is forbidden. [8]
    3. Some say that one should think of the Bracha or at the name of Hashem and not verbalize it. [9]
    4. Some say to read the פסוק of Vayivarech David until the words MeOlam VeAd Olam and then conclude the Bracha according to the appropriate ending. [10]

Bracha Levatala

  1. One should be very careful not to say a Bracha Levatala, a Bracha in vain, or cause oneself to make a Bracha Sheina Tzaricha, an unnecessary Bracha. If one said a Bracha Levatala or say Hashem's name in vain, one should say "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuto LeOlam VaEd". [11]
  2. If after saying Baruch Atta Hashem one realizes that one shouldn't say that Bracha, one should conclude with the words "Lamdeni Chukecha", which is a pasuk in Tehillim and the Bracha isn't Levatala.[12]
  3. If one already said Elokey and didn't say the last syllable, Nu, then one should conclude with the words "Yisrael Avinu MeOlam VeAd Olam", however, in this case one should also say Baruch Shem afterwards.[13]
  4. If one recited a Bracha Rishona while holding a specific food and it fell on the floor (rendering it inedible) before one has the chance to take a bit from it, it depends on the situation as to whether one's original bracha was invalid and a new bracha is necessary if one wants to eat food of the same kind.
    1. If one intended not to include any other food with that Bracha, one's original bracha is a Bracha Levatala. In such a case, one should recite Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuto LeOlam VaEd. [14]
    2. If one intended to include other food in one's bracha, then even if that food is somewhere else, one's original bracha is valid.[15]
    3. If one didn't specifically mean to include or exclude other food that was in front of him from his bracha, one's original bracha is valid.[16]

Birkat HaMazon

  1. If one had a bread meal, was full, and is in doubt whether one made Birkat Hamazon, one should say Birkat HaMazon since Birkat HaMazon is Deoritta. [17] However, if one’s not full or isn’t sure if one’s full, one doesn’t make Birkat HaMazon. [18]

Al HaMichya

  1. If one had a Kezayit of mezonot and is in doubt whether one made Al HaMichya, one should and may not go ahead make Al HaMichya out of doubt rather one should be careful to eat another Kezayit (without a Bracha Rishona) and then make Al HaMichya. [19] See Bracha Achat Mein Shalosh#Al Hamichya for details.

Mistaken Brachot

Bracha Rishona

  1. After the fact if one recited mezonot on anything besides water or salt one fulfilled one's obligation.[20]
  2. After the fact if one recited shehakol on anything one fulfilled one's obligation.[21]

Bracha Achrona

  1. After the fact if one recited Birkat Hamazon on wine or dates one fulfills one's obligation.[22]
  2. After the fact if one recited Birkat Hamazon on mezonot, even though there is a dispute whether one fulfilled one's obligation one should not recite a new bracha since according to many poskim one fulfilled one's obligation.[23]
  3. After the fact if one recited Al Hamichya for Birkat Hamazon one fulfills one's obligation.[24]

Sources

  1. Rif Brachot 12a, Shulchan Aruch 209:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:6; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu 6:6
  2. S”A in 167:9 and 209:3 writes clearly that if one is in doubt whether one made a Bracha one doesn’t not go back and say it except for Birkat HaMazon. Mishna Brurah 167:49 adds that it’s forbidden to make a Bracha in a case whether there’s a doubt.
  3. VeZot HaBracha (beginning of chapter 10, pg 87)
  4. Vezot HaBracha (pg 87, chapter 10)
  5. Mishna Brurah 167:49, Vezot HaBracha (pg 87, chapter 10)
  6. Vezot HaBracha (beginning of chapter 10, pg 87) in name of Rav Elyashiv
  7. Mishna Brurah 215:11, Piskei Teshuvot 209:7. Pri Megadim (M”Z 319:3), Sh”t Igrot Moshe 4:49, and Chazon Ovadyah Sukkot (pg 245) in cases of doubt forbid saying Bracha with the language of Barich Rachmana Malka DeAlma and continuing with the text of the bracha.
  8. Piskei Teshuvot 209:7
  9. Piskei Teshuvot 209:7, Kaf HaChaim 157:10, Vezot HaBracha (beginning of chapter 10, pg 87)
  10. Halichot Shlomo (end of chapter 22)
  11. Rabbi Tanchum in Yerushalmi Brachot 6:1 explains that if one made a bracha levatala he should say baruch shem kavod malchuto lolam vaed. Tosfot Brachot 39a s.v. basar, Rabbenu Yonah Brachot 28a s.v. ubyerushalmi, Rosh 6:20, Rambam Brachot 4:10, Rambam Shevuot 12:11, Shulchan Aruch OC 206:6, and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:4 codify this Yerushalmi. Rambam Shevuot explains that it is effective so that the mentioning of Hashem's name shouldn't be in vain but that it should be mentioned for a praise. Chazon Ish OC 137 thinks that this reason can only if bracha levatala is derabbanan and not deoritta. Aruch Hashulchan 206:16 implies that baruch shem is a fix for bracha levatala completely.
  12. Rabbenu Yonah Brachot 28a ubyerushalmi, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:4, Aruch Hashulchan 206:16
  13. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:4
  14. Shulchan Aruch and Rama 206:6
  15. Rama 206:6, Mishna Brurah 206:26. See Yeshuot Dovid ch. 2 who quotes the Halacha Brurah Minchat Shmuel who says fundamentally Shulchan Aruch agrees with the Rama when a person has direct intent to exempt other food. See there for his proof from Shulchan Aruch 206:2.
  16. Mishna Brurah 206:26 writes that if one didn't specifically intend to include or exclude any food one had in front of him, then if the food which one's holding falls, one should not recite a new bracha because of Safek Brachot LeHakel.
  17. S”A 209:3
  18. Mishna Brurah 209:10 writes that one makes Birkat HaMazon out of doubt only if one’s full. Kaf HaChaim 184:20 (quoted by VeZot HaBracha (pg 87, beginning of chapter 10) adds that even if one is in doubt whether one’s full, one doesn’t make Birkat HaMazon.
  19. Mishna Brurah 209:10
  20. Chaye Adam (v. 1, 58:3), Halacha Brurah 206:7, Igrot Moshe OC 4:40. Ritva Brachot 2:16 writes that after the fact Mezonot is effective even for bread.
  21. Chaye Adam (v. 1, 58:5)
  22. Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 6a s.v. iy nami) proves from Brachot 12a that birkat hamazon exempts dates and from Brachot 35b that it covers wine. He reiterates the point in Brachot 29b s.v. miyhu. Rosh (Brachot 1:14) agrees. Rashba (Brachot 41b s.v. heviyu) shows that the Yerushalmi and Bahag hold that birkat hamazon doesn't exempt dates. Shuchan Aruch 208:17 rules like the Rabbenu Yonah and Rosh.
  23. Based on 41b, both the Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 29b s.v. lacher) and Rashba (Brachot 48a s.v. ha) write that birkat hamazon doesn't exempt mein shalosh even after the fact. Shulchan Aruch 208:17 codifies their opinion. Rabbi Akiva Eiger 208:17 comments that for pat haba bkisnin certainly birkat hamazon does exempt it. Mishna Brurah 208:75 concludes that since many achronim disagree with the Shulchan Aruch and hold that birkat hamazon exempts any mezonot since they are more filling than dates which the birkat hamazon covers. He adds that certainly we accept Rabbi Akiva Eiger regarding pat haba bkisnin. Birkat Hashem 2:3:22 agrees.
  24. Raah (Brachot 44a) explains that since Al Hamichya is Biblical and the pasuk which indicates the obligation for Birkat Hamazon includes the obligation for Al Hamichya if one says Al Hamichya in place of Birkat Hamazon after the fact one fulfills one's obligation. This is also the opinion of the Bet Yosef 168:6 who rules that for all forms of pat haba bkisnin one should recite Al Hamichya even though potentially it could be bread. Gןinat Veradim 1:24, Birkei Yosef 167:10, and Birkat Hashem 2:3:18 agree. The Ginat Veradim explains that this idea is based on the Kesef Mishna Brachot 2:1 who quotes the Rambam and Ramban that Birkat Hamazon is deoritta but the number of brachot are derabbanan.