About the Author


Rabbi Shraga Simmons

Rabbi Shraga Simmons is the co-founder of Aish.com, and co-author of "48 Ways to Wisdom" (ArtScroll). He is Founder and Director of Aish.com's advanced learning site. He is co-founder of HonestReporting.com, and author of "David & Goliath", the definitive account of anti-Israel media bias. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he holds a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He lives with his wife and children in the Modi'in region of Israel.


27. Introduction to Shinuy Makom

Changing locations can terminate a bracha's effectiveness.

26. Terminating a Bracha's Effectiveness

Certain actions can signal your intention to stop eating.

25. The Right Environment

When saying a bracha, the surrounding environment must be dignified and clean.

24. Honor for Brachot

How to ensure that brachot are said with the correct spiritual intent.

23. Unauthorized Brachot

An unnecessary bracha is a problem of "saying God's Name in vain."

22. Soups & Cereals

A hodge-podge of ingredients produces some complex rules.

21. Special Status of Mezonot

A mezonot ingredient is always considered primary, even when not the majority.

20. Primary and Secondary Foods

A bracha on the primary food also covers the secondary food.

19. Including Other Foods – Part 2

The bracha said at the beginning of the meal covers all foods normally consumed in a meal.

18. Including Other Foods – Part 1

A bracha includes whatever foods you intend to eat at the time you said the bracha.

17. Sequence of Brachot – Part 2

When two foods have different brachot, which bracha is said first?

16. Sequence of Brachot – Part 1

When eating two foods that have the same bracha, we say the bracha over the more important food.

15. Drinks During a Meal

When you drink during a bread meal, when is a bracha required and when is it not?

14. Fruit During a Meal

Fruit can be eaten as a main course, an appetizer, or for dessert.

13. Other Foods at a Bread Meal

Generally, when other foods are eaten with bread, the only bracha recited is Hamotzee.

Should Israel accept Syrian Refugees?

Finding the right way to show compassion.

12. Non-Hamotzee Bread

Altering the state of bread can sometimes "downgrade" the bracha from Hamotzee to Mezonot.

11. The Mezonot Meal

When eaten as meal, cake attains the status of bread and its bracha is Hamotzee.

10. Three Mezonot Categories

How bread differs from cake, and how cake differs from pasta.

The Real Story behind the Viral Head-Lock

A Palestinian filmmaker scripts a confrontational scene – again.

9. Introduction to Mezonot

The special bracha said on satiating and nutritious grains.

8. Ha'gafen Covers All Drinks

Two key conditions for Ha'gafen to cover other beverages.

7. Fruit Juice & Wine

Juice is considered a separate entity from the fruit.

6. Altered States

Altering the state of a food can also change its bracha.

5. Six Types

Getting practical: The six basic brachot said on food.

4. Eating without a Bracha?!

It is worse to eat without a bracha than it is to waste food.

3. When is a Bracha Not Required?

Since eating is an act of pleasure, some situations are exempt from a bracha.

Calling Charles Schumer a Traitor

The Jews are being blamed again.

2. Text and Meaning

Deconstructing the basic components of a bracha.

1. What is a Bracha?

The philosophy and inspiration behind the blessings.

Condemning the Violence

Israeli society is repulsed and outraged at the latest violence allegedly perpetrated by Jews.

34. M&Ms - Part 2: Memachaik, Mesarteit, Mechateich

Smoothing out solids, and cutting things to size.

32. Shochait: Live and Let Live

Actions that cause bleeding or kills a living thing.

31. Tzad: Catch Me if You Can

Confining the movement of a living creature.

30. Tofair: Making a Connection

Tightly attaching two flexible surfaces by means of a third material.

29. Koshair: Knot What You Think

A halachic knot is permanent and tight.

28. The Melachot of Weaving

All about the construction and operation of a loom.

Infographic: 7 Dangers to Israel

The State of Israel, founded in 1948, is besieged today more than ever.

Permission to Destroy the Jews

With the Iran nuclear deal, we must not let history repeat itself.

27. Combing, Coloring, Spinning: Fun with Wool

Three melachot that involve cases of cosmetics, food coloring, and spills.

26. Melaben: Halachic White-Out

Cleaning stains from various materials.

Staged Palestinian Photos

Digital editing tools spark a wave of fake photos.

25. Gozez: No Need to be Sheepish

Issues of removing hair, skin and nails.

24. Bishul – Part 6: Hot Water, Cold Water and More

Stirring the pot, and a summary of all the cooking law.

23. Bishul - Part 5: Hatmana – Insulating Food

The difference between materials that increase the heat, or retain heat.

21. Bishul - Part 3: Standing the Heat…

Ladles, re-cooking, roasting, and much more.

20. Bishul – Part 2: Three Degrees of Separation

The proximity of the utensil to a heat source determines its status.

19. Bishul - Part 1: The Heat is On

Defining the cooking process – whether direct, or generations removed.

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