Daf 40. Summary. One must not speak between reciting a blessing over bread and eating it.
Rava bar Shmuel says, “Urine only completely leaves the body if one urinates seated.” Rav Kahana makes exceptions if one is standing facing loose soil or is elevated on an incline, facing down.
To avoid bad breath take salt after eating and water after drinking. Several additional health recommendations are offered.
Mishnah. A general blessing exempts one from reciting a specific blessing.
Gemara. The gemara seeks the principle from which to apply the mishnah. Rav Huna says it applies to all food except bread and wine, since they have special blessings. Rabbi Yohanan disagrees that bread and wine are exceptions. Similar disputes are described.
Must the blessing conform to a formula? May the blessings be said in any language? Rav says, “Any blessing that does not contain mention of God’s sovereignty is not considered a blessing.”
Mishnah. Food not grown in the ground has its own blessing. Food “resulting from a curse” is not blessed. There is a dispute over what blessing is recited if there are many types of food on the table.
Gemara. A distinction is made between most foods that grow from the earth and mushrooms. The gemara considers the question of what types of food result from a curse.
Comment. Are the formulas of the blessing merely a template or a strict script? We attended a wedding yesterday in a beautiful setting amidst rocks and a stream, officiated by a “Jewish renewal” rabbi. She paraphrased blessings and engaged in word play that my Israeli-raised friend complained was based on misconceptions about what constituted a common root. It was a profoundly joyous occasion for a bride and groom who proudly proclaimed their love for each other in simple language. Do the “errors” in offering the blessings matter?