Being Satisfied by Rabbi Benny Berlin

This week’s parasha has the ever so famous pasuk (verse) of “V’Achalta V’Savata U’Veirachta Es Hashem Elokecha Al HaAretz HaTovah Asher Nasan Lach – You will eat and you will be satisfied and you will bless Hashem, your G-d, for the good land that he gave you” (8:10). This is a pasuk that we say all the time in Birchas HaMazon (Grace After Meals/Bensching) and it is also the Biblical source for the Mitzvah D’Oraisa (Torah commandment) of bensching. The Gemara (Talmud) in Mesechet Brachos 48b explains that the Biblical requirement is to bensch (bless/say Birchas HaMazon) after we eat and are sated but the rabbis required us to do so even if we eat just a k’zayis (olive-size) of bread.

This is mystifying. Isn’t that a bracha l’vatala (a blessing in vain)? Hashem asked that we bless Him after a full meal and that is it. Why did the rabbis tell us to even do so after a k’zayis of bread?

The rabbis command us to bensch not just when we feel satisfied because the truth is, there are times we are not satisfied, times when it is hard to have faith that Hashem gave us and will give us exactly what we need. So when would we ever bless Him? Along come the rabbis and they say, “Bless Him even after eating a k’zayis.” Why? Because even that is a bracha! Even that is a gift from Hashem! Even that is something good that we should appreciate and give thanks for!

We should all be zoche to appreciate all the amazing, obvious good that Hashem does for us and through this, merit to be able to take this simchas hachaim and bring it to our families and communities.