Safek Brachot LeHaKel

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If one is in doubt whether one can make a Bracha the general rule is that one shouldn’t make the Bracha. [1]

If one's in doubt if one made a bracha

  1. 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]
  2. 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]

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. [14] However, if one’s not full or isn’t sure if one’s full, one doesn’t make Birkat HaMazon. [15]

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. [16]

References

  1. S”A 209:3
  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. Kitzur S"A 6:4
  12. Kitzur S"A 6:4
  13. Kitzur S"A 6:4
  14. S”A 209:3
  15. 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.
  16. Mishna Brurah 209:10