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Ask the rabbi Halacha Meals and Brachot

Ba’al Tshuva and Brachot

Rabbi Elchanan LewisElul 17, 5768
316
Question
I am a Ba’al Tshuva just returning, even though my name is obviously Jewish my family have always maintained we weren’t now my grandmother has passed away a cousin and I have discovered we are. Its wonderful but scary, I want to be Jewish and I want to live as a Jew, hence I am leaving NZ and moving to Australia but meantime I would like some help with food blessings. I have the list of different foods and the appropriate blessing but I dont understand how it works, like if I say the blessing before eating when do I say the grace after and is there a different one for each food, how do I know what to do? Also can you tell me please which prayers I should say and when. Thank you for your help, I want to do this properly, I just dont know where to begin
Answer
First congratulations for your awesome discovery, it might seem scary but it is really a very fulfilling and satisfying feeling. I will suggest you meet the Beth Din in Australia [you have one in Sidney Melbourne or Perth] and let them issue a document that proves you are Jewish, you will obviously need to provide them with proof. As for Blessings – there are many details you will come to know over time as you gradually increase you Torah and Halachic knowledge. In general – before you eat you say the blessing, after you say the blessing you can eat all you planned of the same blessing. For instance if you say Boreh Pri Haetz for an apple you can eat the pear without an additional btracha. When you finish eating you will say the blessing after the food [Boreh Nefashot in our case] and that will count for both. If now you want to eat a vegetable you will need another Bracha [Blessing] even if you haven’t yet blessed the blessing after meal since it is a different Bracha all together. In the case of eating bread you will say the Bracha before the bread and this will cover all the main courses of the meal [dessert may require a Bracha for itself depending on what it is and how it is eaten] Again the details are many but don’t be stressed, with time all will be sorted out.
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