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Ask the rabbi Halacha The Meal and Mezuman

Mezuman

Rabbi Jonathan Blass4 Tammuz 5763
3078
Question
What is the meaning of a mezuman? Where is its origin? Is a legitimate mezuman acceptable if two/three men answer? (i.e. one who can hardly read Hebrew).
Answer
When three or more adult men eat together a meal that includes bread they are obligated to begin the blessings after the meal with a “zimun” (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayyim 192 1). The wording of the “zimun” can be found in the siddur or “bencher”. The source of the “zimun” is the mishna Brachot 45a and is based on Biblical verses. All three men must participate in the “zimun” (Pri Megadim Orach Chayyim 199 regarding the participation of a mute in the “zimun”). The person who has difficulties with Hebrew can read the transliteration or repeat the words he hears from his colleague.
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