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Understanding the Mitzva of Saying 100 Blessings Each Day

Shabbos Treats

A Jew who recites all three prayers daily is well on his way to saying one hundred blessings. Together with the blessings on food and the other blessings that one regularly recites during the course of the day, he easily reaches the sum total. However, on Shabbos and Yom Tov – even with the extra prayer of Mussaf – the tefillos are shorter and thus fewer blessings are said. On these days, one must be more vigilant to ensure that the final tally is reached.

By eating favorite fruits and nuts, bonbons, sherbet, or other treats on Shabbos and Yom Tov, we create pleasurable opportunities to make up the missing blessings. Every Shabbos one should look for ways to make additional blessings (Shulchan Aruch 290:1). Aside from bringing us to the goal of one hundred blessings, honoring Shabbos with these special foods fulfills the mitzvah oneg Shabbos, enjoying Shabbos to it's fullest.

“Whoever makes a berachah she’eino tzrichah, an unnecessary blessing, has said the Divine Name in vain. It is as if he committed the transgression of making a needless oath, and it is forbidden to answer amen after his blessing” (Shulchan Aruch 215:4). The Rambam in fact writes that saying an unnecessary blessing infringes a Torah prohibition (Responsa Pe’er Hador). Therefore, if one has any doubts as to the need to make a particular blessing, a halachic authority should always be consulted (see also Graz 215:5; Aruch HaShulchan 206:12).

A well-known Rabbi once visited someone’s house for Shabbos and asked his host for an apple and a banana. Before he sat down to eat, he used the restroom, and when he came back he ate only the apple and put the banana aside. Seeing that his host was puzzled, the Rav explained his actions.

According to the Rambam one should try to keep a count of how many blessings he has made each day (Hilchos Tefillah 7:16). When the Rav asked for the two different foods, he had been two short of one hundred blessings. But since he subsequently used the facilities and after reciting the blessing of Asher Yatzar he no longer required the banana.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
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