Blessings: General Rules

Doubt (Safek) Whether You Said Blessings

If you are not sure if you said ANY blessing in ANY category, don’t repeat it.


* Birkat ha’mazon.

* You may also include the first blessing over reading the Torah (Asher bachar banu mi’kol ha’amim.)

* Even the blessing for mezonot is not an exception.

Reason: The only blessing commanded in the Torah is birkat ha’mazon (some say also the blessings on the Torah); all others are from Chazal.

Say birkat ha’mazon if: You are not certain that you said birkat ha’mazon, and You were satiated from your meal.

Note: You are considered to be “satiated” after eating food if you no longer have an appetite.

If you are not certain that you have said any of the morning blessings on studying Torah (from la'asok b’divrei Torah to notein haTorah), you should not say them later. But when you say “ahava raba” before the morning shema, you may intend it to cover such blessings; then after the amida, you should say some Torah verses (psukim).

Saying Blessings for Someone Else

You may say any blessing on a mitzva—such as kiddush, hallel, Torah—for another person, even if you have already fulfilled the mitzva for yourself, as long as that other person is required to do that mitzva.

Example: Girls (12 years old and more) and women must fulfill all of the positive commandments of Shabbat including kiddush. So even after they have already said Kiddush for themselves, they may say kiddush for other Jews, including adult men.

Exception: You may not say birkat ha’mazon for someone else.

You may say these blessings for someone else only if you also need to say the blessing for yourself:

Blessings for Enjoyment (“birchot nehenin”—such as for food or drink), and

Blessings of Praise and Thanks (shevach v'hoda’a--such as on rainbows or seeing large mountains)

Answering Amen

When someone is saying a blessing on your behalf, you may say amen as long as you have heard at least:

The first six words of the blessing; and At least a few words of substance in the middle of the blessing; and The complete final line.

Example: For the al ha’michya blessing, you must hear:

The first six words, Al ha’michya, and The final blessing line.

Correcting a Mistaken Blessing

If you make a mistake when saying any blessing or in any prayer, you may correct it within 2.5 seconds by simply saying the correct blessing.

Note: If you did not correct the blessing within 2.5 seconds, see next halacha.

If you start an incorrect blessing:

If you have said the third word (God’s name), say lamdeini chukecha.

If you have already said the third syllable of the fourth word (elohei…), say Yisrael avinu mei’olam v’ad olam.

If you said more than the third syllable of the fourth word, say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l’olam va’ed.

How Many Blessings To Say

Try to say 100 blessings a day. This is easy on weekdays since Ashkenazim say about 89 blessings just in the prayer services.

Note: Saying 100 blessings each day is a halacha drabanan.

On Shabbat and some Jewish festivals, you might want to fulfill some of the quota for making 100 blessings by:

* Eating extra fruit or other foods, * Hearing and saying amen to the blessings over the: - Torah reading, - Reader’s repetition of the amida for shacharit and musaf, and - Haftara by the maftir.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L'Maaseh appears courtesy of Visit their web site for more information.

This material is provided for informational purposes only - not a substitute for the consultation of a competent rabbi.