You shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless Hashem, your God,
for the good land that He gave you. (Devarim 8:10)
One is obligated to recite Birkas HaMazon (Grace after Meals) after every
meal eaten with bread. Although the blessings are a Torah obligation, the
Talmud explains that the text we have was formulated at different points
in our history:
• The first blessing was formulated by Moshe Rabbeinu in gratitude for the
mon, the miracle food which the Jews ate for forty years.
• The second blessing was formulated by Yehoshua when the Jews entered
• The third blessing was formulated by David HaMelech, who focused his
prayers on the Jewish nation and on Yerushalayim, and by Shlomo who added
the prayer for the Beis HaMikdash.
• The fourth blessing was added by the Sages of Yavneh, when they were
granted the right to bury the deceased of Beitar and they saw the great
miracle that the bodies had not decomposed.
Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch explains that when the Jews were exiled the
other nations claimed that the Jews had been rejected by Hashem. To
demonstrate that Hashem never forsakes us, the Sages added a blessing to
bentching upon the first major miracle in exile.
Before eating, one is required to recite a blessing for each type of food,
unless he eats it as part of a meal, in which case it is covered by the
HaMotzi blessing. This is a Rabbinical ordinance.