Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuto… (I)

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

As God’s name is considered sacred, mentioning His name without a justified need is deemed to be sacrilegious and must be avoided whenever possible. This is reminiscent of the third of the Ten Commandments which tells us never to take God’s name in vain.[1] It is, of course, permitted to address God and use His name in any prayers, even private prayers which are beyond the established liturgy. 

Nevertheless, no one is perfect and inevitably one will on occasion recite a blessing that was either in vain or otherwise unnecessary. For example, if one had a cup full of soda but mistakenly thought it was grape juice and recited the blessing “borai pri hagafen”, the blessing is considered to be one which was recited in vain. If one realizes his mistake immediately one is permitted to simply recite the proper ending of the blessing, “shehakol neheyeh bidvaro”, and then drink. If, however, one did not realize one’s mistake until some time had passed, a new blessing must be recited as the original one was in vain, and ultimately, useless. 

Another cited case of a blessing in vain is when one makes a blessing over a fruit, but then before one has a chance to eat the fruit it falls on the floor and is ruined.[2] There too, the blessing one had recited over the fruit is unfortunately now deemed a beracha levatala, a blessing recited in vain, though it was done completely unintentionally.

In the cases above, as in the case of any blessing that was accidentally recited in vain, one must recite “baruch shem kevod malchuto l’olam va’ed” as soon as one realizes in order to remedy one’s error.[3] According to some authorities, these words, which mean “blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever”, serve as a means of rectifying having taken God’s name in vain. As one will note from its unique wording, the “baruch shem…” makes amends for a blessing recited in vain owing to its exceptional and elaborate way of praising of God.[4] Other authorities contend that “baruch shem…” does not serve in a capacity of making amends, but rather, that it actually retroactively cancels out any ‘damage’ that may have been caused by a blessing recited in vain.[5]

One should have both interpretations in mind when one recites “baruch shem k’vod malchuto…” for a blessing recited in vain.

…..more on this topic next week!

[1] Shemot 20:7

[2] See O.C. 25:5, 206:6

[3] O.C. 206:6

[4] Tur O.C. 206

[5] Rambam Berachot 4:10

About Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot.


  1. Of course, most Ashkenazim recite BSKMLV after reciting the beracha al mitzvat tefillin every morning.

  2. ….yup. Thats in next week’s post.

    Ari Enkin

  3. R Ari-The role of BSKMLV in the Tefilos of YK , as opposed to the rest of the year, IMO also warrants some treatment as well

  4. Stop giving away next week’s post!! 😉

    Ari Enkin

  5. abba's rantings

    what about shema? why isn’t it a hefsek?

  6. abba's rantings

    r. enkin:

    what is your email?

  7. There’s a nice treatment of the Shema question in R. Freundel’s “Why We Pray What We Pray”. Alas, it is spread across multiple pages so not easy to quote; but, he references both the discussion in Pesachim 56a and then additional context from Heichalot literature.

  8. See Piskei Teshuvot and in footnotes there re. saying it out loud or not…

  9. My email is:

    rabbiari AT hotmail DOT com

    Ari Enkin

  10. also should discuss the silence by the end of ana bakoach once your at it…

  11. Silence at end of ana bakoach? Do you mean the fact that we say BSKMLV after it because it has the roshei taivot of the 22 letter shem hashem?

  12. Shouldn’t is be malchuso, Gil?

  13. Hi R’ Ari,

    When saying BSKMLV after a beracha said in vain, does it also help even if it is not toch kdei dibbur? In other words, if one said a borei pri hagefen where a shehakol would be required, and then doesn’t change it to shehakol toch kdei dibbur, does BSKMLV still help or does the BSKMLV also need to be toch kdei dibbur?

  14. Avrohom-

    Great question!

    There are 2 views. One is that it must be TKD. But even if it wasnt, one should still say BSKM. In fact, some say that it is still valid after many days have gone by!

    Ari Enkin

  15. thanks!

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