Pot Luck

Daf 42. Summary. Wine is different: “it causes a blessing itself.” The rabbis debate which blessing is recited over “bread that comes as dessert” and when one meal has been concluded and another begins.

Mishnah. A blessing over the bread exempts blessing the appetizers but a blessing over the appetizers does not exempt blessing the bread. Blessings over wine are different.

Gemara. On weekdays one must say a blessing over every cup of wine. Generally, on festivals and Shabbat, one blessing is sufficient.

When several people are at a meal, when is it a joint meal (in which case one individual can say blessings for everyone) and when is it not a joint meal (when each must recite the blessings for himself)?

Comment. Whether planning a pot luck or having an impromptu meal out with friends you met while out and about, the same questions (more or less) need to be resolved today as they had 1500 years ago: is someone in charge? what’s the main course? are people drinking? should we have dessert? And the obligation to thank the Ultimate Host with the unpronounceable¬†name adds a sense of urgency to determine the answers to these questions (and more).

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