Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Does Water Not Have Its Own Bracha?

This is something that perplexes me. When I first began learning the brachot (blessings), I could not understand why water doesn't have its own blessing. I even contacted a rabbi to ask what blessing we say on water because I believed that I simply missed it. I still don't understand, so I thought I would throw it out here.

Our blessings focus on very fundamental parts of our diet, at least from a vegetarian perspective! We even differentiate between whether fruits and veggies come from the ground, a bush, or a tree. We also separate out grains and then distinguish the type of grain. (I also wonder why meat and dairy don't have blessings.) We even separate grape products because of the use of wine as a ritual item. But not water? Not the substance that makes up 3/4 of our bodies? A substance that we cannot live without? 

I don't get it. What is the fundamental principle behind the brachot? The sources I have learned from focus so much on the laws of the brachot, and I have yet to see any theoretical discussions about them and their creation. Feel free to discuss and enlighten me.


  1. Interestingly about water, too, is that it doesn't even get a bracha at all when taken with medication.

  2. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    I once heard somebody (not a rabbi, but he evidently plays one on television) claim that since water swallowed with medication is considered part of the medication, and thus does not require a bracha, that one should therefore, take a drink before taking the medication, with a bracha, because you might have been thirsty when drinking the water after medicine, AND NOT HAVE KNOWN IT.

    I am not a scholar (nor do I play one on television), but I have always been able to tell wheter I was thirsty or not.

  3. Brachos are given Based on the foods source not based on it's importance. I know of a few nice books on the subject of birchas hanehenin although none in English. A good place to start in English is with the comments of ramchal in derech hashem. Please take note that there are in fact different types of blessings such as birches hamitzva or hashvach and the basic concepts although related are quite different. Water has no blessing if no enjoyment is derived from it as is the case with all things and therefore when one is not thirsty there is no bracha the same would hold true for any food that one has no pleasure in eating however save water this is close to never

  4. This is a perfect question for judaism.stackexchange.com.

    It is a great place to get good answers to interesting judaism questions, usually with great sources.

  5. I found something!
    Berachot 6:8: "If he drank water to quench his thirst he should say, '[Blessed art thou...] by whose word all things exist'. R. Tarfon says: [He should say,] '...who createst many living beings'.

    I totally though of this blog when I read this. At least at one point there was an opinion that it ought to be different.