Observant Jews make a blessing before we eat, not just before meals, but before we eat a bite of anything. It is a way of acknowledging that the world is not ours, that we did not create the food, and that we notice the blessings around us.
My garden is a little late this year, but I finally have tomatoes reddening on the vine. Before I eat one, I’ll say the blessing for food that grows from the earth:
Ba-ruch A-ta, Adonai El-o-hei-nu, Me-lech ha-olam, bo-rey pe-ri ha-adamah.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth.
If you are eating the tomatoes with a full meal, then you can skip the tomato blessing and “cover” the entire meal with the blessing for bread (assuming you have bread at the meal):
Ba-ruch A-ta, Adonai El-o-hei-nu, Me-lech ha-olam, ha-motzi le-chem min ha-aretz.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the land.
I’ll cover more food blessings in future posts. For now, if it grows in the ground, “borey peri ha-adamah.”
And if it is bread, “ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.”
And yes, if the Hebrew is daunting, prayers in English absolutely do count!