Grace after Meals – Birkat HaMazon

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It is with great joy and thanks to the Holy One Blessed be He, that Ellen Miller Braun and family shares this micro calligraphy creation with you. This magnificently flowing design was created for the wedding of Ellen’s daughter. The delicate, graceful flowers, along with the seven species (grape, fig, pomegranate, olive, date, wheat and barley), form the shape of a beautiful wedding canopy.

Even at our happiest moments, we are invoked to remember Jerusalem and place the memory of the destruction above all. Thus, a rebuilt Jerusalem fills the wine goblet in the center of the piece. The text of the goblet includes the blessing of the miracle of Chanuka when the Temple was rededicated after the successful Maccabean revolt. The seven special blessings, recited for the Bride and Groom in celebration of their marriage, are also included here. One of the blessings is the blessing over wine – as wine is a symbol of joy and celebration.
Besides the main body of text, this elegant, original, Grace After Meals includes:

Shir HaShirim-Psalms 126- a song of ascents, when HaShem will return us from captivity to Zion.

Al HaNissim-On the Miracles: Prayer of thanks for the miracles of Chanuka and Purim.

Shabbat (Sabbath) blessing and Ya’aleh V’yavo-Blessings over the new month and Festivals.

Bracha Achrona/Meyain Shalosh-The Three Faceted Blessing: A condensed version of the three scripturally ordained blessings recited when one or more of the seven species is eaten, but not with, or in, bread form.

Boreh Nefashot-Blessing recited after eating/drinking items not from the seven species (and when not eaten with bread).

BIRKAT HAMAZON– Grace After Meals: This main text comes from Deuteronomy 8:10 as it is written: “And then, when you have eaten and are satisfied, bless G-d for the good land which He has given you.” This Biblical commandment is the basis for Birkat HaMazon, the Grace recited after eating bread made from wheat, barley, spelt, oats or rye. It consists of four “brachot” –blessings. The first three are scripturally commanded, while the fourth was instituted by the sages.

Birkat HaZan: The Blessing of Nourishment. Written by Moses. The blessing of nourishment is a verbal expression of our conviction that HaShem compassionately gives careful, loving, individual attention to every single soul – giving food, clothing and shelter to fill the present and future needs of each.

Birkat HaAretz: Blessing the Land: Written by Joshua. The Heritage of the Land of Israel is passed to Am Yisrael through the promise to our Forefathers. We thank HaShem for the fulfillment of this promise after our redemption from slavery to freedom. We remember the covenant of “milah,” circumcision, which is preserved by Abraham and his descendents for all time – a constant reminder that we recognize and acknowledge HaShem forever as the One and Only G-d. The basic condition for our possession of the Promised Land is the “brit” – covenant. Our continued possession of the Land is dependent on whether or not we fulfill our obligations toward the Torah and its Mitzvot – commandments.

Boneh Yerushalayim- Build Jerusalem: Composed in stages by David and Solomon. Their Blessing was a prayer that HaShem continue peace in the Land. Following the destruction of the Temple and the exile, the blessing was modified to include a prayer for the return of the Land, the Temple and the Davidic Line.

HaTov V’haMaitiv- Who is Good and Does Good: This blessing was composed by the court of Rabban Gamliel the Elder in Yavneh, in gratitude to HaShem for preserving the bodies of the victims of the Roman massacre at Betar, and for allowing them – eventually – to be buried. In this section, we do not only thank HaShem for the past, we express our thanks for the goodness that he extends to us on a constant daily basis.

Just as the miracle of heavenly Manna was a direct gift from HaShem to Bnei Israel as they were traveling in the wilderness, so HaShem blesses Am Yisrael with care and concern now. Every piece of bread is no less a direct gift from HaShem than the Manna sent to our Forefathers while they journeyed in the wilderness.

Grace after Meals concludes with: “Hashem will give might to his people; HaShem will bless His people with peace.” – “B’Shalom.” As the Tosfot Yom Tov wrote: “HaShem wishes to give might and strength to his people and what did He do? He blessed them with Peace, as all blessings in the world cannot be fulfilled if there is no peace.” (Uktzim 3:12). Amen.