Everyone is familiar with the idea of saying grace over meals.
This is how one can show appreciation to Elohim for the provisions He provides for us.
But have we been doing it wrong all this time?
In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at what the bible has to say about offering blessings for our food and see how this lines up with our current traditions.
Thanking Elohim for our food
Giving thanks and acknowledging Elohim as the provider of our nourishment is not only something that’s good to do but is actually a commandment found in the Torah.
Deuteronomy 8:10 (NASB)
When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless YHVH your God for the good land which He has given you.
Here we see something a little bit different than the traditional grace-before-meals approach.
We actually see that the commandment is to bless YHVH after the meal rather than before.
In fact, one may be surprised to learn that nowhere in the bible do we actually see a commandment to say grace before meals.
That isn’t to say that blessing God before we eat is wrong. We just need to be aware that the actual commandment is to also say it afterward.
Yeshua blessed God before eating
In addition to the Torah command to bless Elohim after eating, Yeshua also observed a long-standing Jewish tradition to give thanks and bless God before eating:
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
What’s even more interesting about this is we can say with a rather high degree of certainty what the blessings that he would have said actually are.
Scholars agree that these particular blessings (brakhot in Hebrew) actually date back to the time of Ezra and Nehemia:
Blessing over bread
Bless you, Adonai, our God, king of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth.
Blessing over wine
Bless you, Adonai, our God, king of the universe who created the fruit of the vine.
Blessing over other types of food
Bless you, Adonai, our God, king of the universe who by his Word brings about all things.
So with all that said, since we are indeed supposed to follow Yeshua, in my opinion, if Yeshua kept the tradition to bless Elohim before eating in addition to after eating, then we probably should do the same…
Blessing food vs. blessing God
When saying grace, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone say something like “please bless this food for the nourishment of our body”.
But actually, the idea of blessing food itself is not biblical.
The word for bless in Hebrew is brakha which shares the same root as berekh that means knee (as in to kneel).
So looking again at Deuteronomy 8:10 as well as Yeshua’s example, we can see that our blessing/praise/thanksgiving should not be directed at the food but rather at the Creator.
Because the fact is, God has already declared the food that He has created to be “very good”.
And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
So as takers and beneficiaries of the good things Elohim provides to us, it’s only right that we should offer Him our thanks and appreciation.
And God told us exactly how He wants that to be done: By blessing Him, not the food. And by doing so when we’re full and satisfied.
But Yeshua did show us that traditions such as offering thanks to Elohim before eating are good.
In fact traditions, in general, are fine. But it’s when our traditions violate the commandments of Elohim that we get into trouble.
He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?