Posted on 08/10/2012 @ 01:18 PM
It has become a tradition that after meals at BBYO, the teens sing Birkat Hamazon, Grace after Meals, with hand motions and enthusiasm. Ever wonder why we say Birkat Hamazon in the first place?
It says in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Eikev (Deuteronomy 8:10): And you will eat, and you will become satiated, and you will bless Hashem your G-d for the good land that G-d has given you. So, we could understand Birkat Hamazon in a few different ways:
• It is a mitzvah from the Torah to bless G-d after eating meals – so an answer can be, quite simply, that we say Birkat Hamazon because it says to in the Torah.
• Gratitude or Hakarat HaTov – הטוֹבָ תרַכָּהַ – is a central Jewish value, and Birkat Hamazon is a Jewish way of expressing our gratitude for having eaten and being satiated.
• Birkat Hamazon is a call to action to end hunger in the world. We say Birkat Hamazon knowing that others are still hungry, and that we should all work towards a world in which no person suffers from hunger.
Thinking and learning about why we do the things that we do is an excellent way to engage with our Jewish practice and identity. MyJewishLearning.com is a great resource to learn more about Birkat Hamazon, blessings, and other Jewish topics.
This Shabbat Message was written by Ira J. Dounn, Director of Jewish Enrichment of the Northeast Hub