וַיֹּאמֶר, בָּרוּךְ ה' אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם
(24:27)
These are the words that Eliezer exclaims after Rivka’s family allow him to take her as a wife for Yitzchak. The Medrash learns from here that any Brocha we make must contain the following components; mentioning the name of Hashem and referral to His Kingship in the world, otherwise known as ‘שם ומלכות’.


The Gemora in B’rochos 40b cites the Mishna that states that even though each food has its own brocha, e.g. fruit of tree בורא פרי העץ, vegetables בורא פרי האדמה etc., if one erroneously made the brocha of שהכל נהיה בדברו it is acceptable even though it does not make specific reference to the type of food. The Gemora seeks to establish whether or not this would be acceptable even for bread, or does bread differ from other foods such that it will always require specific mention in the brocha .


The Gemora brings the following case. If instead of saying המוציא on a piece of bread someone exclaimed כמה נאה פת זו, ברוך המקום שבראה, R’ Meir says the brocha is good enough. R’ Yosi argues and says whenever one deviates from the standard wording of brochas i.e. missing both ברוך אתה וכו' and reference to שם ומלכות the bocha is not acceptable. Seemingly R’ Meir who deems this to be a valid brocha would hold that a שהכל is good enough even for bread, and R’ Yosi who says that this type of brocha is unacceptable would say that a שהכל will not suffice for bread.


The Gemora goes on to say that we cannot learn from this case to our discussion (i.e. willשהכל work for bread). It could be that the real problem according to R’ Yosi in this last case is not that he has not been specific enough in his brocha, but that he hasn’t really said a brocha at all. Conversely, R’ Meir may say that a שהכל is actually not good enough for bread, since when he said that כמה נאה פת זו וכו' works, it may be because he at least mentioned the bread, whereas שהכל does not.


From this Gemora, we see the two main factors when considering the requirements for brochas seem to be 1. standard text of brochas as instituted by Chazal ( ,ברוך אתה וכו' שם ומלכות) 2. specific mention of the item.


The Rambam (hilchos Brochas 1:5,6) writes that although there was a standardised text for brochas established by Chazal, as long as one mentions the components included in this text (ברוך אתה, שם ומלכות), then b’dieved it does not matter how one expresses them. However, that which Chazal required specific mention of the food item will always be essential and even b’dieved does not work otherwise.

The Meiri wirtes the exact opposite. The most important thing is to remain faithful to the standardised text of brochas, and as long as the brocha makes sense (e.g. שהכל on bread), missing out specific reference to food items is good enough b’dieved.


The Shulchan Oruch seems to take the leniencies of both opinions. Namely, if one made a שהכל on bread it would be good enough b’dieved. Also if one did not say a brocha in Hebrew with the text required by Chazal, it is also acceptable b’dieved as long as it somehow contains the components of שם ומלכות. .



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