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How long between washing and bentching?


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#1 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:06 PM

I know there is a 72 minute 'grace period' between one finishes eating and being able to bentch....so technically can you go a whole day between washing and bentching if you just take a bit of something every 72 minutes?

Also if you realize you forgot to bentch past the 72 minutes, do you do nothing?

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#2 Psychodad

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

I don't think G-d is going to reject your "thanks for the food" at the 73 minute mark. hth.
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#3 adiel

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:15 PM

I don't think G-d is going to reject your "thanks for the food" at the 73 minute mark. hth.
(btw I consider this post my submission for the $250 worth of books)
let me add in a smile fo good measure

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#4 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:19 PM

I don't think G-d is going to reject your "thanks for the food" at the 73 minute mark. hth.


This is an interesting point why is it OK at 72 minutes and not at 73, it does seem somewhat petty....and yet sticking to the correct number is part of Orthodoxy.

Would you the same for lighting candles? If shiah is at 5:30, would you tell someone - God is certainly fine with you lighting candles at 5:31 or even 5:35....whats a few minutes anyway?
God, grant us the...
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Appreciation for all that we have, and
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Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#5 Psychodad

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

This is an interesting point why is it OK at 72 minutes and not at 73, it does seem somewhat petty....and yet sticking to the correct number is part of Orthodoxy.

Would you the same for lighting candles? If shiah is at 5:30, would you tell someone - God is certainly fine with you lighting candles at 5:31 or even 5:35....whats a few minutes anyway?

I don't know- I actually believe that it's the effort that counts when it comes to these kind of things. Like if you drip a little milk in your chicken soup does it matter if it's 1/100 or 2/100 of the contents?
I'm not convinced that getting the correct number is part of orthodoxy as you say.

#6 Snag

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:03 PM

The 72 minutes is a bit of a misconception: the Halacha is that one may bentch as long as the food is not yet digested. The poskim write that as long as he is not yet hungry for that food, he can assume that it has not yet digested. Then the problem arises: that's all well and good if he ate to satiety the first time; if he originally ate less than enough to satisfy him, he is immediately still hungry for that food, yet it is certainly not yet digested. There is therefore a rule of thumb (I think it's a Mogen Avraham) that a kezayis of food - the minimum shiur for bentching - certainly does not digest in less time than it takes to walk 4 mil, or 72 minutes, so one can certainly bentch for at least that long. Therefore, it is correct that someone could technically eat a kezayis every hour or so and bentch once at the end of the day. However, if one is meisiach daas from eating in between, one would still need to make a new bracha rishona, as well as wash anew for bread. Additionally, it is not lechatchila to move on to other things before bentching, lest one forget to bentch.

As far as 72 and not 73, the Gemara asks a similar question, and says "all of the shiurim of chachamim are thus", IOW a shiur needs to be made, and the line has to be drawn somewhere, and if we ask what about a drop less or more the shiur can never stand anywhere. Shabbos, BTW, is a different question, since it's not a rabbinical shiur, but nightfall is when Shabbos happens.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

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#7 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:16 PM

I don't know- I actually believe that it's the effort that counts when it comes to these kind of things. Like if you drip a little milk in your chicken soup does it matter if it's 1/100 or 2/100 of the contents?
I'm not convinced that getting the correct number is part of orthodoxy as you say.

I'd love to believe like you, that its the effort and not the minute details that count. Believe me, that sits a lot better with me and does seem to make more sense. But reality is its just not the case. There are so many clear and specific numeric things tied in to so many laws, you can't just say 'well do whatever you want as long as the effort is there'. There are 8 nights of chanukah, 3 different ways a sukkah can be made, specific amounts of knots in tzitzis, hours to wait after eating meat, and loads of opinions as to what exactly a k'zais means and how much matza you have to stuff your face with at a seder. Again, as I mentioned with the timing of when shabbos starts and stops, or for that matter yom tov. Orthodoxy definitely believes that there is a moment before sunset that its still a holiday or sabbath but all of a sudden, minutes later its not. In other areas such as women preparing for tevilah, one also needs to be very detail oriented and not just have 'the right effort and thoughts'.

So as much as I LIKE your opinion of what God wants and expects, it doesn't seem to jive with practical halacha. I once heard a shiur that there is a r

The 72 minutes is a bit of a misconception: the Halacha is that one may bentch as long as the food is not yet digested. The poskim write that as long as he is not yet hungry for that food, he can assume that it has not yet digested. Then the problem arises: that's all well and good if he ate to satiety the first time; if he originally ate less than enough to satisfy him, he is immediately still hungry for that food, yet it is certainly not yet digested. There is therefore a rule of thumb (I think it's a Mogen Avraham) that a kezayis of food - the minimum shiur for bentching - certainly does not digest in less time than it takes to walk 4 mil, or 72 minutes, so one can certainly bentch for at least that long. Therefore, it is correct that someone could technically eat a kezayis every hour or so and bentch once at the end of the day. However, if one is meisiach daas from eating in between, one would still need to make a new bracha rishona, as well as wash anew for bread. Additionally, it is not lechatchila to move on to other things before bentching, lest one forget to bentch.

As far as 72 and not 73, the Gemara asks a similar question, and says "all of the shiurim of chachamim are thus", IOW a shiur needs to be made, and the line has to be drawn somewhere, and if we ask what about a drop less or more the shiur can never stand anywhere. Shabbos, BTW, is a different question, since it's not a rabbinical shiur, but nightfall is when Shabbos happens.


Thank you snag. This repsonse was very informative. So you feel that its not a magical time thing as much as a hesech hadaas issue....can you expound a bit as to what hesech hadaas is? I know anything big like sleeping is definitely an issue, what about leaving the table to read, as many people do at the Friday nite seudah?
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#8 Snag

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:19 PM

Thank you snag. This repsonse was very informative. So you feel that its not a magical time thing as much as a hesech hadaas issue....can you expound a bit as to what hesech hadaas is? I know anything big like sleeping is definitely an issue, what about leaving the table to read, as many people do at the Friday nite seudah?

It seems I put too many separate things in my post :)

Bracha acharona depends on digestion, with 72 minutes being a "loophole" of sorts.

Bracha rishona depends on hesech hadaas, which is not intending to continue eating, or doing something which completely removes one from the seudah, so to speak.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#9 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:15 PM

It seems I put too many separate things in my post :)

Bracha acharona depends on digestion, with 72 minutes being a "loophole" of sorts.

Bracha rishona depends on hesech hadaas, which is not intending to continue eating, or doing something which completely removes one from the seudah, so to speak.


Ok, thanks. Digestion -- wouldn't it seem to make sense that it should take 6 hours after meat is eaten to digest giving the eater that much longer to bentch?
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#10 Savannah

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:06 PM

I don't think G-d is going to reject your "thanks for the food" at the 73 minute mark. hth.

As far as 72 and not 73, the Gemara asks a similar question, and says "all of the shiurim of chachamim are thus", IOW a shiur needs to be made, and the line has to be drawn somewhere, and if we ask what about a drop less or more the shiur can never stand anywhere.

On a certain level, PD is right. In the times of the Gemara they didn't have clocks so a measurement of time was a lot more fluid, but Snag is also right that since we have clocks now and things have been quantified, the halacha is the halacha. How Hashem judges what you're doing is not up to us to try to figure out.

#11 Snag

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:17 PM

Ok, thanks. Digestion -- wouldn't it seem to make sense that it should take 6 hours after meat is eaten to digest giving the eater that much longer to bentch?

That's a good question. IIRC, the poskim specify that the 6 hours after meat is because of a "lingering taste" (טעם נמשך), not digestion per se. However, this lingering taste is engendered by digestion - unswallowed meat does not generate a taam nimshach. Also, even a tiny scrap of meat requires the waiting period, despite the fact that it certainly would be digested more quickly.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#12 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:27 PM

That's a good question. IIRC, the poskim specify that the 6 hours after meat is because of a "lingering taste" (טעם נמשך), not digestion per se. However, this lingering taste is engendered by digestion - unswallowed meat does not generate a taam nimshach. Also, even a tiny scrap of meat requires the waiting period, despite the fact that it certainly would be digested more quickly.

Which I guess explains why there are some sects of Judaism that holds 3 or even only 1 hour may be enough to wait.
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#13 Snag

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:09 PM

Which I guess explains why there are some sects of Judaism that holds 3 or even only 1 hour may be enough to wait.

well, it goes like this:

the gemara records a middas chassidus (of mar ukva) who waited "from one seudah to another" between meat and milk. the vast majority of the poskim understand this to be a time-related thing, with the time between one seudah and the next being in the range of six hours (minor variations on the six hours exist, such as 5 1/2, etc.). rabbeinu tam understands it differently, as meaning that they can't be eaten at the same meal, but bentching and starting a new seudah is sufficient separation (with kinuach, hadacha, and netillas yadayim). the poskim cite a zohar which supports rabbeinu tam's position, with the added caveat that an hour's time is also needed in between. some poskim understand the hour to be a sort of compromise between rabbeinu tam and the other poskim. regardless, both six hours and one hour are firmly well-sourced among the poskim.

3 hours, the germanic minhag, has more murky origins. there is a rabbeinu yerucham which mentions a three-hour separation, but it might be a mistake, and there is no other support or explanation for this minhag.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#14 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:24 PM

Wow. I'm realizing how little I know about this area of halacha.....
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#15 Snag

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:36 PM

Wow. I'm realizing how little I know about this area of halacha.....

every time i start a sugya, especially in halacha, i realize how little i knew about it before.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#16 Red Hare

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:12 PM

LTL, after the initial 72 minutes, are you still sitting at the table? did you eat and drink nothing?

You can alwlays wash, eat another kazayis, and then bentch.
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#17 Snag

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:44 PM

LTL, after the initial 72 minutes, are you still sitting at the table? did you eat and drink nothing?

You can alwlays wash, eat another kazayis, and then bentch.

Kebeitzah. Otherwise you run into a safek bracha for washing.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain




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