Jun 8, 2009

A Few Questions + My Guest Post!

I am pleased to announce that a guest post by your blog's faithful leader (that's me) is up over at A Simple Jew.

On an unrelated note, but an important note none the less, I have a couple of questions. Of course, I know that asking my rav is the key route for answering such questions, but I like to hear what you guys have to say about some of these things because I think you all are a wealth of information and you also allow me to come up with even more in-depth questions. So let me know what you think about some of the following. They're weighing on me!

  • Why are there so many different versions of the Kaddish? Rabbi's, reader's, mourner's? Significance of each?
  • How come when we have kiddush at shul after Saturday services we don't bensch afterward? How much food must you consume to require bensching? 
  • If you say a b'racha (borei p'ri ha'gafen), but not the motzei at kiddush, do you have to re-say it at home? Also, if you say a wine/grape juice blessing at kiddush, do you have to say anything else? 
  • Um ... what else ... I had so many questions! 
I'm going to look about today for some books on kashrut, brachot, and the like. I'm a little worried about my knowledge of brachot over various foods since it's been one of the most difficult things for me to get into the swing of doing. Kashrut, as you'll note in my guest post at A Simple Jew, is something that, in my mind, allows an individual to fully envelope themselves in the holiness of all things. I'm the kind of person who seeks to practice what she preaches, so this is going to be my ultimate focus until I scoot off to Middlebury and can only read in Hebrew. 

8 comments:

B. Spinoza said...

people only bensch after eating bread. although in theory, i think, if you eat a lot of cake you may have to, but i have never seen any one do this. There is a smaller blessing to say after eating cake (al hamichya)

In order to be yotsei kiddush you must eat a kizayit of mezonos (cake etc) or eat bread. If you don't eat that, then you must make kiddush again

The wine/grape juice blessing is good enough. Some do it over whiskey too

rabbifink said...

How come when we have kiddush at shul after Saturday services we don't bensch afterward? How much food must you consume to require bensching?

you only bentch the whole birkat hamazon after bread, but there is still an "after food" blessing you make, for grape juice / wine, mezonos foods and the 7 species of israel you say a "Meyein Shalosh" and after everything else you say a "Borei Nefashos". both are in the siddur and bentcher.

If you say a b'racha (borei p'ri ha'gafen), but not the motzei at kiddush, do you have to re-say it at home? Also, if you say a wine/grape juice blessing at kiddush, do you have to say anything else?

R' Moshe Feinsten held that you can make kiddush as many times (in as many different places) as you want without hamotzi, but when you make your hamotzi and are going to eat your meal, you must make a new kiddush. The wine blessing only covers you for wine so you need to make separate before and after blessings on the rest of the food.

Avi Kaplan said...

Check out Halachos of Brachos aka "the grapefruit book".

Pretty useful reference for all sorts of bracha related questions.

Anat said...

You should know that also those of us who are ffb (frum from birth) don't always know which bracha to say in each situation. There are foods, such as rice and cornflakes, that can become quite cofusing. There are very good guide books, but I don't know if they are in English. I am sure we have some in Hebrew at home if you would like to take to your ulpan. I warn you however, that I find these books more useful at a moment of doubt as reference books, since they are very detailed and it is very hard to remember all the info they provide when reading them straight through.

Anat said...

With regard to your kaddish question, all the versions are intended to praise g-d.

The mourner's kaddish praises g-d to show that even when we can't see it, such as when in mourning, the things g-d does are for the good.

Kaddish Titkabal (not sure what it is called in English) ends with the phrase "titkabal zlotehon ubaoothon dkol beit yisrael" - accept the prayers and requests of all of the house of Israel, and is therefore logical to recite at the end of services - after we pray, we request that the prayers be accepted by the almighty.

All this is from my own understanding of the Aramaic words and their placement in the services. You got me curious, so I will try to look up information about the other types of kaddish, and will let you know what I think.

Elianah-Sharon said...

I got a handy dandy keychain electronic blessing prompter from Judaism.com. It has pictures of the food and then you press the button and it helps you recite the blessing. A little corny sure but keeps your mind on the task. I also got a little book called "Guide to Blessings" (same store but in Pittsburgh that's what it is) which helps a LOT in determining which blessing to say.

Chaviva said...

So many stellar answers and explanations. You guys rock. I actually posed this question -- and so much more on b'rachot -- to my rabbi last night. I'm feeling a lot better and more confident about undertaking kashrut more fully with the various b'rachot. (Thanks @Fink @BSpinoza!)

I just need to get a book to develop my knowledge! @Avi That is one I'm looking at. That, and the "Laws of Brachos." Basically the same thing!

@Anat I am interested to hear what you find. There seem to be so many different versions. For some reason, it seems that when I was doing Reform services, the kaddish versions were always the same.

@Elianah-Sharon Is that the Say-a-Blessing? I can download that for my iPod Touch, but I hear the accent is REALLY heavy.

Mottel said...

There are four standard versions of Kaddish:
-Chatzi Kaddish: This the one said before baruch hu by shachris and maariv. Before shmone esrei by mincha and ma'ariv etc. In other words it's a demarcation between various points in the service.

-Kaddish Shalem (tiskabel) is said at the 'end' of the davening, asking that our prayers (specifically the shmone esrei) be received above.

-Kaddish Yasom: Like Kaddish shalem, but with out the line begining with tiskabel. This Kaddish is said to praise G-d. In the merit of the act, it - like all mitzvos performed in honor of the departed - brings merit to the soul.

-Kaddish D'rabanin: Said after learning (or in the davening after the recital of mishanyos at various points).

There are variants of kaddish that may come up - by a burial, r"l, or upon the public completion of a tractate of the Talmud - but they do not figure into the regular service of the day.

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