Thursday, August 2, 2012


It is getting progressively more and more annoying to lead a mezuman. How many people do I need to mention when I b’r’shus? When I was a kid, all was simple: Maranan V’rabanan V’rabosai. That was it. There was no need to ask permission from anyone else. That was probably because I only led the mezuman in school.  When I was in high school, I began adding my father into it when I was at home. Shortly after that, following a few meals at friends’ houses I began to include the head of household. But then it got way, WAY out of hand.
People began to get upset when the m’zamen left out the wife of the person whose house it is. And then, when you start to add in the wife, be sure not to do it everywhere you go, because some people think you’re one of “those” people. You know who you are. After that, it seemed like every single person at the table got added in. “Ishti” is common; “Achi” and “Achoti” have been added, too. And just in case there is anyone still insulted, the end is “Kol ham’subin kan,” even when the one leading has already added in every single person at the table (I’ve experienced this more than once).
As a Kohen, I often get to lead, but G-d forbid someone else does it and doesn’t use “b’r’shus haKohen,”  he is lambasted by the rest of the table for forgetting me. How dare he forget to honor me! What is he thinking? Doesn’t he know how to do this? Once, while I was engaged, I went out to lunch with two friends. One was also engaged. The single guy led the mezuman and said “b’r’shus chasanim d’nanim. New level. And on and on it goes. People keep trying to outdo each other by thinking up newer and newer people to ask permission from in order to bentch.
And I am not immune to this either. I once said “b’r’shus ba’al haSuccah hazeh” on Succos. What’s next? Will someone say b’r’shus ba’al hamarpeset hazeh” at a bar-b-que, or b’r’shus ba’al hasimcha hazeh at a sheva b’rachos in a restaurant? (Actually, it would be ba’alei hasmcha hazeh” lest we leave out the wife.)
The point is that it’s far too much. I’m just going to resort back to what’s in the bentcher. No frills. Just "b'r'shus maranan v'rabanan v'rabosai," like the Lord intended.


  1. You forgot the on which i use when eating at a family where they are a little more feminist inclinations than I am inclined to indulge "B'r'shus baal habayis, U'b'chvod baalas hayis - With permission of the baal habayis, and with the honor of the baalas habayis". Really the wife, whether it is palatable to her or not, is not the one who gives permission in halacha.

  2. I'm of the opinion that you can't say b'rshus if you didn't get r'shus from them.

    I'm not a Kohen, but if I was I would get upset every time someone says b'rsus haKohen without asking me.

    The point of saying b'rshus is that - since the person you are calling out should really be the one leading (either because he is the ba'al habayis or more chashuv than you), you need to get permission before can lead. If you didn't get permission DON'T SAY IT WAS WITH PERMISSION.

    (On a side note - I think it's moronically pathetic that people say ba'las habayis. She can't lead so she doesn't need to give you permission to go instead of her. I find saying b'rshus is like rubbing it in her face. Not only is it silly and stupid, I find it insulting. {Save for the time you are just trying to embarrass the hostess - than it's ok}))

    If I am not the ba'al habayis and wasn't asked permission and the leaser says brshus me - I protest and say that he never asked me. If he proceeds to ask me I say I give no permission but my permission isn't needed.

    I generally say b'r'shus maranan v'rabanan v'rabosai only unless I specifically ask them.

    (BTW - the maranan v'rabanan v'rabosai of the group is implied permission.)

  3. Eh. Just say brshus. Nobody really cares. Plus, you've already gotten rshus from the only person who can give it to you. You're not asking; you're leading with their permission.

    People like to jump at people when they forget someone... But only if they started it by trying to include everyone in the first place. Say brshus and they can't feign objection.

  4. I always understood "b'rishus" not as "with the permission I have already received" but as a way of asking, kind of like, "With your permission, if I have it," and then the person could object if they don't give permission, but if they don't object, that's them giving the permission. Also, in terms of women, I don't really care either way if they are included or not, but I don't think the fact that they are not ones giving permission is necessarily a good reason to disclude them (if you are including a million other people anyway). I see it as more that you are still in her home, so anything you do to override the preferences of the heads of the household (wife included) requires permission. For instance, the wife may prefer her husband bentch, but will--along with her husband--give over that kavod to a guest.

    Just the way I see it.