- Question: [Sunday, 8th Sivan, 5783]
I just finished breakfast and was in a rush to catch the train to get to work, and I absentmindedly left my home without reciting Birchas Hamazon for my breakfast meal which included bread, even though I had intended to say it before I left. I only remembered once I arrived at work that I forgot to Bentch before I left. What do I do? Must I return home to Bentch which will cause me a considerable loss of income until I come back to my office? Can I simply Bentch in my office? Do I have to eat more bread to do so and if so do I have to wash again and repeat the blessing of Hamotzi?
If you remembered prior to feeling hungry again, then if there is [Hamotzi] bread available then you are to eat even a small amount of bread, with saying the blessing of Hamotzi and washing hands for bread [without a blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim, unless you now plan to eat a Kebeitza of bread], and then recite Birchas Hamazon.
If you do not have any bread available and are unable to purchase bread, then due to the loss of income you may rely on a lenient opinion to recite Birchas Hamazon in your current location and not return home. If however you already began feeling hungry by the time that you remembered, then you may not recite Birchas Hamazon and even if you eat more bread this will not fix the situation.
It is a clear ruling in the Poskim that one is required to recite Birchas Hamazon in the area in which he ate the bread and that it is forbidden for one to switch areas in middle of a meal prior to reciting Birchas Hamazon. Now, what is the law Bedieved if one already got up and switched areas? Must he return to his original area to recite Birchas Hamazon, or are we lenient to permit him to recite Birchas Hamazon in his current area even though he did not eat there?
So, in the event that one does not eat any more bread in the current area that he is in, then there is a dispute amongst the Rishonim and Poskim as to whether he must return to his original area in order to recite Birchas Hamazon in the area in which he ate the bread, or if he may simply recite Birchas Hamazon in his current area. Practically, we rule that one is to initially be stringent and return to his original area of the meal in order to recite Birchas Hamazon unless it is a time of great need, and in the event that he consciously left his original area without reciting Birchas Hamazon then this is required from the letter of the law according to all opinions.
Now, however, all this only applies if you don’t eat any more bread in your new area, if, however, you eat more bread in your current area, then according to all opinions you may recite Birchas Hamazon in your current area even if you consciously left, and are not required to return to your original area, as in the end of the day you are now reciting Birchas Hamazon in the area in which you last ate bread.
Now, the question is raised as to how much bread you need to eat in your current area? Must you eat a Kezayis of bread which is the amount that makes you obligated in Birchas Hamazon, or does eating any amount of bread even a mere crumb suffice? So, the ruling of most Poskim, including Admur, is that one is not required to eat a Kezayis of bread and hence eating any amount of bread suffices, and so may be practically followed, even though there are Poskim who are stringent to require one to eat a Kezayis of bread.
The Poskim however, explain that this is limited only to Hamotzi bread, however to eat Mezonos products known as Pas Haba Bekisnin, does not suffice for this purpose even if he eats a Kezayis of it.
Now, regarding the blessing of Hamotzi, the Poskim rule [including one area in Admur] that it is not to be repeated over the bread being that one is in the middle of a meal of bread, and we never repeat before blessings in middle of the meal prior to reciting Birchas Hamazon. This however only applies in the case scenario that one did not remove his mind from eating any further, if, however, when one planned on ending his meal and not eating anymore and simply forgot to Bentch, that when he reaches his second area in which he remembers that he forgot to Bentch, then he must repeat the blessing of Hamotzi prior to eating even a small amount bread for the sake of Bentching. The reason for this is because a) some Poskim rule that whenever one removed his mind from eating more he must repeat the blessing, and b) even according to those who argue regarding the food of a meal that a blessing is not to be repeated, this only applies if he remained the entire time in his meal setting, and not if he switched areas as in our case. Now, regarding washing hands, the rule is that whenever one must repeat the blessing of Hamotzi then he also must rewash his hands for the bread, and hence here too he must rewash his hands for bread. Nonetheless, as is always the rule, a blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim is not to be recited unless he plans on eating a Kebeitza of bread.
However, all of the above discussion is only in the case that one has yet to digest his food that he ate by his original meal. If, however, one already has digested this food and has begun feeling hungry and only then remember to recite Birchas Hamazon, then he has lost the opportunity, and eating more bread will not help, and if he does decide to eat more bread he must recite Hamotzi again.
Based on all the above it is clear that in the above scenario of our questioner, he is to search for more bread to eat in his current location, and can suffice with eating even a tiny piece and is then immediately to recite Birchas Hamazon. [He must however wash again and repeat the blessing of Hamotzi being that he did not plan on eating more after he left his home.] He is to do so as soon as he remembers in order so he does not digest his meal by that time. In the event that he cannot find any bread at all to eat, such as that he has no bread with him, and neither do any of his colleagues from whom he can borrow a piece from, and there are no bakeries near him with kosher bread, then since he is in middle of work he may be lenient like the opinion which does not require him to return to his original place being that he did not consciously leave prior to reciting Birchas Hamazon, and it was done as a result of forgetfulness.
Sources: See regarding the obligation to recite Birchas Hamazon in the area in which one eats the bread: Admur 184:1; 178:4; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 7:16; Luach Birchas Hanehnin 6:16; Michaber 184:1; See regarding if one must return to his original area to recite Birchas Hamazon if he left his original area and does not eat bread in his current area: Admur 184:1; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 7:16; Michaber and Rama 184:1; Chayeh Adam 184:9 [if traveled already, no need to return]; M”B 184:7; Kaf Hachaim 184:7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:1 See regarding the option of eating bread in the second area and then reciting Birchas Hamazon: Admur 184:1; 178:4; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 7:16; Luach Birchas Hanehnin 6:16; Michaber 184:2; Tur 184 in name of Rabbeinu Peretz; M”B 184:7 See regarding that eating any amount of bread suffices for this purpose: Admur 184:1 in length that in all cases a small amount of bread suffices even less than Kezayis and explains reason why; 178:4 [eats bread there…eats a little in his second area]; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 7:16 and Luach Birchas Hanehnin 6:16 [makes no mention of amount of bread to eat and says simply bread]; Michaber 184:2 “A little [bread]”; M”A 184:4; Lechem Chamudos 34, brought in Beir Heiytiv 184:4; Kneses Hagedola 184; Chayeh Adam 184:9;M”B 184:8-9; See Kaf Hachaim 184:10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:1 footnote 4 Stringent to eat Kezayis: Halachos Ketzanos 1:147, brought in Beir Heiytiv 184:4 and Yad Aaron on Tur and Kaf Hachaim ibid and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid See regarding the invalidation of Mezonos bread for this purpose: Peri Megadim 184; M”B 184:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:1 footnote 4 See regarding not to repeat the blessing of Hamotzi: Admur 178:4; Chayeh Adam 184:9; Kitzur SHU”A 44:9; M”B 184:7; Kaf Hachaim 184:9; See regarding repeating the blessing of Hamotzi if Nimlach and switched areas: Admur 178:2; 179:1; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 5:2; Rama 178:2; Biur Halacha 178:2; Kaf Hachaim 184:9 in name of Olas Tamid 184:1 that if Nimlach must repeat; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:2 that if had Hesech Hadaas/Nimlach must repeat; See regarding that must re-wash if need repeat Hamotzi: Seder Birchas Hanehnin 5:6; Admur 179:5; M”A 179:2; Biur Halacha 178:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:2 See regarding that one is only to recite Birchas Hamazon if he has not yet digested his meal, and has not yet begun to feel hungry: Admur 178:4; 184:1 and 3; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 7:16; 5:9; Luach Birchas Hanehnin 6:16; 7:9 Michaber 184:2; Bach 184; M”A 184:5; P”M 184 A”A 5; Mamar Mordechai 184:5; M”B 184:10; Kaf Hachaim 184:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 184:1