Jews and Joes

Should we pray or give thanks BEFORE or AFTER we eat?

To answer that question, the only Torah-based precedent that we have is found in Deuteronomy 8:10:

“And you shall eat and be satisfied, and shall bless יהוה your Elohim for the good land which He has given you."

In the greater context of chapter 8 and also Deuternomoy 6:10-12, the thing יהוה is emphasizing and preempting is our tendency to become full and satisfied and THEN to forget Him, the Source. So blessing Him or thanking Him AFTERWARDS makes more sense than thanking Him before, because it is combating that aforementioned inclination to forget.

Of course, nothing is necessarily wrong with giving thanks before our meals. We can give thanks continually, before, during, and after. However, when considering what has been actually "commanded", think "After". Furthermore, it is a great topic of discussion when eating a meal with some of your more religious family and friends who have unwittingly embraced the cultural stigma that one is performing a great sin for not giving thanks before a meal.

Selah!
Hanok ben-Isaak