Source #2: Brachot 44a, 45a | ברכות מד, מה


Click here for a translation of this source from Sefaria:

This gemara represents another function of popular practice within halakha. In specific, minhag here is used not to create new halakhot, but rather, to decide between competing opinions about a halakhic matter. In this case, the mishnah recites a dispute about what bracha to make over water. The Tanna Kamma states that the bracha is שהכל נהיה בדברו, while Rabbi Tarfon states that the proper bracha is בורא נפשות. In order to resolve this dispute, Raba bar Rav Hanan instructs Abaye to go see what the popular practice is.

  1. How does popular practice function as a decision making tool within Halakha?
  2. Besides majority rule, what is another way that we can determine the “right” answer in halakha?
  3. Does relying upon the popular practice and allowing humans to play a role in deciding halakha give too much power to human beings? What if we get the answer wrong?

Here's what students will take away from this source:


  1. A מנהג is not just used to create a new halakha, rather it is used to decide between competing opinions about a halakhic matter. This use of מנהג is actually the most common use of מנהג as halakhic debates are often decided by the determination of the people through popular practice.
  2. The Tanna Kamma and Rabbi Tarfon are having an argument about what bracha to make over water and so Raba bar Rav Hanan tries to figure out what the popular practice is in order to solve the dispute.

(See below for downloadable Word and PDF versions of students worksheets that can be used in the classroom)

Reading and Navigation

  1. By now students should be able to easily identify and distinguish between the Mishna and the Gemara’s commentary on the Mishna.
  2. Students should use Rashi’s commentary on the Mishna and on the Gemara in their analysis of these texts.

History / Important Figures

  1. Rabbi Tarfon
  2. Raba bar Rav Hanan


הלכות ברכת המזון

  1. שולחן ערוך קסח:ט
  • Full ברכת המזון is only required if a כזית or more of bread is eaten, but ברכה ראשונה of המוציא is required for any amount that is eaten
  1. שולחן ערוך קפד:ו עם משנה ברורה ס״ק כב
  • Only obligated מדאורייתא to recite ברכת המזון if you at a כזית and you're fully satiated
  1. שולחן ערוך רט:ג עם משנה ברורה ס״ק ט-י
  • Makhloket in Rishonim whether על המחיה is דאורייתא or not. Shulhan Arukh indicates that only full ברכת המזון on bread is דאורייתא, while משנה ברורה quotes Rishonim who disagree and think that the פסוק of ואכלת ושבעת וברכת is also talking about ז׳ מינים
  1. שולחן ערוך רח:א-ב, יא עם משנה ברורה ס״ק א-ב
  • ברכה אחד מעין שלוש is required after eating foods of the ז׳ המינים - grapes, dates, pomegranite, olives, figs - as well as foods made from any of the five grains - wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye
  1. משנה ברורה ס׳ רח ס״ק נ
  • נוסח of ברכה אחד מעין שלוש
  1. שולחן ערוך רז:א עם משנה ברורה ס״ק א-ה
  • For all other fruits, foods, and drinks that are not one of the ז׳ מינים, the ברכה אחרונה for them is בורא נפשות רבות וחסרונן
  1. שולחן ערוך רח:יג
  • If one ate fruit from the ז׳ מינים and regular fruit as well (i.e. grapes and apples), the regular fruit is covered by the ברכה אחרונה on the ז׳ מינים, and he is required only to make the ברכה אחד מעין שלוש - but בורה נפשות is not required. But, for foods that are dissimilar (i.e. pretzels and cheese), a separate ברכה אחרונה is required for the pretzels (על המחיה) and for the cheese (בורא נפשות)
  1. שולחן ערוך קעז:א
  • All foods and beverages that are eaten as part of the meal together with bread are covered by the ברכה אחרונה of ברכת המזון, and separate ברכות אחרונה are not required
  1. שולחן ערוך קעח:א
  • ברכת המזון and ברכה אחד מעין שלוש must be recited in same location as the meal took place. If one planned in advance to move places within the same building (i.e. makes kiddush in one place and then goes to a different room), it's not considered a "relocation"


LaHaV Worksheet w_Template 2 Brachot 44a.pdf
Complete and Continue