Why So Many Laws of Berakhos?

When learning about berakhos, whether the halakhos or the latter third of the mesechta, I like to emphasize the following point…

The vast majority of berakhos are derabbanan. So, why so many different berakhos, complicated rules about what ingredient in a dish is primary (can a baked good be a secondary ingredient), etc…? Why didn’t they just coin one berakhah, like making a SheHaKol on everything? Or berakhos before and after meals (where the after berakhah is deOraisa), and a smaller one for non-meals?

Think how many times the rabbis coined intentionally overbroad laws so as to avoid complex distinctions (lo pelug) that could causes error. Why not for berakhos?

Say you do someone a favor, and they acknowledge it with just a “Thanks for everything!”

Now picture doing the same favor for someone else. But they thank you for getting up early, for the effort and expence, they itemize each subtask… Displaying that awareness of everything you did shows far more gratitude.

Thanks is enhanced by detail.

And this is so important, that the rabbis wouldn’t think of cutting corners when thanking G-d.

Of course, someone can say elaborate liturgy with vague generic thought, or simple liturgy while having complex and detailed kavvanos. So it doesn’t seem to be that the complexity of berakhos is specifically about berakhos and how to thank G-d. The habit we are trying to acquire has to be beyond the context of the fixed liturgy of berakhos.

It is a lesson in how to thank others in general.

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1 Response

  1. RAM says:

    This area of Halacha needs a really comprehensive flow chart.

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