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Thought for the Day: Preparation for Making a Bracha

This is a very bad idea: You are very busy doing something incredibly important; such as reading the comics, texting your buddy a :) (that used to be ":-)" when we had electronic bulletin boards instead of smart phones; I suppose the phone is smart so you don't have to be), or checking email -- stuff like that.  You notice out of the corner of your eye that your wife has come into the room.  You reach into your pocket, pull out a small box, say "Hey, honey, here."  (not actually looking at her because you are so busy now), toss the box to her, and add, "I found a nice pair of diamond earrings I thought you would like."

I am 87% confident that any many who has been married for more than a week or so will realize that is a bad idea.  (I am, however, 100% confident that every man who has been married more than a week so has actually perpetrated that crime or its moral equivalent.)  As much as she is going to love those diamond earrings and appreciate that you got them for her, this story is a tragedy.  It could have brought them so much closer -- it should have brought them closer ; instead it is insulting and hurtful.

How many brachos did you make that way last week/yesterday/today?  When you think about it, the next few halachos are painfully obvious.

The food you are preparing to eat should be in your right hand and poised for consumption.  If it's coffee/soup, ensure that it is cool enough to drink; if it's a banana/orange/nut, ensure it is peeled.  (The right hand in this case, and in most cases of halacha, is your dominant hand.)  That's לכתחילה/ideal, of course.  What about בדיעבד/a posteriori?  As long as it is readily available, you are ok.  Even if the banana is unpeeled or you have to blow on the soup or your hamburger is being brought to the table; בדיעבד you are ok.

Here's a cool thing about brachos: you really, really need to know those בדיעבד situations.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, in case you didn't do things the best way possible, once you have fulfilled your obligation you are now forbidden to repeat the bracha.  A bracha that is not necessary is an unnecessary invocation of the Divine Name; a very serious breach of halacha.  That's the בדיעבד reason that you need to know about בדיעבד.

But there is also a לכתחילה reason you need to know about בדיעבד.  Suppose you are getting a drink from a water fountain.  Certainly you need to first check that water will flow when you open the valve.  Usually, in fact, one should leave the valve open while making the bracha.  Suppose, though, that it is impossible to do that.  Maybe the water is metered, for example and you only have one quarter and if you leave the valve open while making the bracha you will end up with almost nothing to drink and it's really hot today and you are really thirsty.  In that case, since you know that leaving the valve closed while making the bracha is permissible בדיעבד and לכתחילה is impossible, then the בדיעבד becomes לכתחילה.

Oh yeah... and if you make a bracha while holding the apple you intend to eat and before you finish the bracha they bring more fruit that is more beautiful than the one in your hand... you still eat that apple that you originally intended to eat while making the bracha, not the new, beautiful fruit.  Need a story to understand why?  Ok... before you toss those earrings to your wife (but after you've told her about them), you see someone cuter... DO NOT TOSS THEM TO THAT SOMEONE CUTER!


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