ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Birkat Hamazon

Updated on July 18, 2011

The Custom of Covering Knives at Birkat Hamazon

What is Birkat Hamazon?

Birkat Hamazon is the Jewish Grace After Meals. The literal translation of Birkat Hamazon is Blessing on Nourishment. Birkat Hamazon is made up of a set of blessings that thank G-d for various things including food, the land of Israel, Jerusalem and G-d's goodness. According to Jewish law, after a meal that included bread, one is required to say Birkat Hamazon. The prayer is found in Jewish prayerbooks or in special booklets that only contain Birkat Hamazon called Birkonim.

On the Jewish day of rest, Shabbat, which is on Saturday, and on Jewish festivals, there are special breads that are eaten called Challot. The Challot are placed on a special Challah board and cut with a specially designated Challah knife. There is a custom to remove knives from the table before the recital of Birkat Hamazon, including the Challa knife.

What is the source for this custom?

There are two explanations offered for this custom

  1. The commentator Rokeach explained that it is based on the idea that a table in Judaism is compared to an altar. In the same way that one may not place metal on an altar (because it can be formed into a weapon that shortens man's life and altars lengthens man's life), so too we remove knives once they have no use from the table before we bless G-d.
  2. The commentator Shibolei HaLeket quotes Rabbi Simcha who tells of a Jew who once said Birkat Hamazon and on reaching the blessing that requests from G-d that He rebuild Jerusalem, he was so overcome by the destruction of Jerusalem that he took a knife from the table and stabbed himsexlf. Since then, the custom has been to remove knives from the table before Birkat Hamazon. Unfortunately, to many of us today, this reason seems absurd- who really feels the destruction of Jerusalem so deeply today that they would be compelled to stab themselves?! In truth, this is a sad reflection of the lack of sensitivity that we have today for the matter

There are also a number of commentaries who show that there is room for leniency regarding this custom but perhaps the custom of covering knives is just what our generation needs to heighten our sensitivity to the holiness of the table, Birkat Hamazon and our not-yet-rebuilt-Jerusalem.


How long does it take you to complete Birkat Hamazon

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)