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Saturday 8:00 AM–10:30 AM

Bentching 101

Grace after Meals

Victoria Sutton

Saturday 8:00 AM–9:15 AM Ballrooms A, C

101, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Shabbat

Birkat HaMazon, or Grace After Meals, is a millenia old text that remains today one of the most familiar blessings. It is traditionally sung after communal meals, and is required by Jewish Law to be recited after consuming bread as was the practice for Jews all over the world for centuries. Birkat HaMazon is a lenghty "super-blessing", comprised of four individual blessings, embedded in a rich and complex text. Why do we say Birkat HaMazon? What is the basis for this multi-blessing structure? We will examine the text of Birkat HaMazon and will look at Biblical and Talmudic sources that shed light on the significance of these blessings in order to uncover the meaning and relevance of the ritual. We will also discuss its social and spiritual significance particularly as a blessing for plenty in a world where hunger and need still exist.

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