- Question: [Monday, 9th Sivan 5783]
We were a group of 10 during a meal, three of which did not wash but did eat other foods which require an after blessing. The other seven washed on bread, however the problem is that one of them already Bentched. So basically, my question is, can a person count as one of the seven bread eaters for us to say Elokeinu by the Zimun even if he already Bentched?
No, he cannot as you must have seven bread eaters who have yet to Bentch in order to say Elokeinu. Hence, you are to either get another person to eat bread, or simply make a Zimun without Elokeinu.
It is a clear ruling in the Talmud and Poskim that even if a person already Bentched he can still join a Zimun. There are however a few caveats to this allowance:
- It only works if he ate bread and not if he ate other foods, in which case he cannot join if he already said an after blessing.
- It only works if he is in the minority. Meaning, that when making a Zimun of three, there must be at least two bread eaters who have not yet Bentched, in order to allow a third person who already Bentched to join. However, if two people already Bentched and one did not, then one can no longer make a Zimun.
Now, what is the law if one of the three already Bentched, while another ate vegetables, can they both still join the one person left for a Zimun? So, the Achronim write that they cannot as you always need to have the minimum majority of bread eaters who have yet to Bentch. Now, while this was written regarding a Zimun of three, logic would dictate that the same applies regarding a Zimun of ten, that just as there must be a minimum of seven people who have washed for bread in order to recite Elokeinu, so too these seven people must be before Bentching, while the other three could either be after Bentching, or having eaten other foods and are prior to Bentching. So explicitly rule the Gedolei Hachronim that if four people bentched then they can no longer say Elokeinu, and likewise logic would dictate that if one benctehd and three ate veggies then the six can no longer say Elokeineu and so explicitly rules the Kochav Miyaakov and so is brought in the Milaktim as the logical ruling to which I concord.
Sources: Kochav MiYaakov 109; Halacha Berurah 194:4 [p. 43]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 194:2; See regarding if one person already Bentched then he may still join a Zimun of another two who did not, however two people who already Bentched cannot join another person for a Zimun: Admur 194:1; Michaber 194:1; Brachos 50a; See regarding if one person already Bentched and one ate veggies that they cannot join another person for a Zimun: Elya Raba 194:1; P”M 194 A”A 1; Shaareiy Teshuvah 194:1; Birkeiy Yosef 194 in Shiyurei Bracha 1; Mamar Mordechai 194:3; Zechor Leavraham 194:7; Magen Giborim 194 Alef Hamagen 1; Ben Ish Chaiy Korach 6; Biur Halacha 194:1 “Echad Meihem; Kaf Hachaim 194:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 194:2; See regarding that the same applies with Elokeinu that you must have seven who ate bread and did not bentch: Kochav MiYaakov 109; Halacha Berurah 194:4 [p. 43] Piskeiy Teshuvos 194:2; See regarding the need to have a minimum of seven people who ate bread in order to say Elokeinu: Admur 197:2; Michaber 197:2; Brachos 48; Tur 197; Levush 197; Bach 197; Chayeh Adam 48:13; Derech Hachaim 5; Kitzur SHU”A 45:14; Beis Menucha 197:2; Chesed Lealafim 197:9; Ben Ish Chaiy Korach 5; Kaf Hachaim 197:17; Ketzos Hashulchan 45:3; Other opinions: Some Poskim rule four people who ate a Kezayis of foods other than bread can join six people who ate bread for the saying of Elokeinu. [Iggur in name of Or Zarua, brought in Beis Yosef 197; Erech Hashulchan 197:1 in name of Razah; Yerushalmi; Bereishis Raba 91; See Kaf Hachaim 197:17] See regarding if three of ten already Bentched they can join another seven for Elokeinu, but not four that already bentched: P”M 193 M”Z 4; Biur Halacha 194:1 “Echad Meihem”; Ketzos Hashulchan 45 footnote 25