Hesech Hadaas at Meals

  1. The blessing which a person makes on bread at the
    beginning of a meal covers everything that he eats at the meal so long as
    he does not turn his mind away from the meal. Once he turns his mind away
    from his meal, he has to make another blessing if he wants to continue
    eating. If he has completed the meal, washing hands with mayim
    acharonim,
    saying hav lan unvorech before washing hands with mayim
    acharonim,
    taking the full cup in hand for making the Blessing After
    Meals or even just filling the cup with wine indicate that a person has
    turned his mind away from his meal. It seems to me that washing the cup is
    not itself a gesture of turning the mind away from eating. It seems
    reasonable that, according to our custom of reciting shir hamaalos
    or al nharos bavel before saying the Blessing After Meals, reciting
    them indicates that a person turned his mind away from his meal. There is
    disagreement among the poskim whether a person who has turned his mind
    away from his meal is required to recite blessings on anything he would
    then eat or drink, and whether he is required to wash his hands.
    Therefore, in order to avoid doubt, a person who has turned his mind away
    from his meal should and eat or drink only after he has recited the
    Blessing After Meals. Some people eat at the end of the meal a piece of
    the bread which they cut when, at the beginning of the meal, they recited
    the blessing over bread. Eating that piece of bread does not indicate that
    the person has turned his mind away from his meal.

  2. When a person eats at another’s table, he is not
    considered to have turned his mind from his meal even if he says hav
    lan unvorech
    until the host says hav lan unvorech, for he
    certainly has in mind to continue eating if the host wants to eat with
    him. Even when the host is not actually eating with the guest, the guest
    has in mind to continue eating if the host were to call him to eat with
    him. He certainly would not refuse if the host were to ask him to eat
    more.

  3. If, when the guest says hav lan unvorech, he has
    in mind to end his meal and not to eat any more, even if the host asks him
    to continue the meal with him, his saying hav lan unvorech represents
    a turning away from the meal.

  4. Once the host says hav lan unvorech all those
    seated at his table are forbidden to continue eating if they are silent
    and agree to end the meal. But a guest who wants to continue eating and
    drinking may do so and, if he does, it is desirable that he make it known
    to all those who are seated at the table that he did not turn his mind
    away from the meal and then simply change his mind and continue eating.

  5. When a guest eats at the table of a householder, we say
    that his intentions depend on the desire of the host, but if two people
    are staying at a hotel and one invites the other to eat with him at a
    hotel, this principle does not apply. On the basis of this, the Maharsham
    writes that where a person relies on his wife to serve the meal, we do not
    say that the householder’s intention depends on the intentions of his
    wife, for she is not the householder. If the householder says hav lan
    unvorech
    , he should not continue eating, even if his wife intended to
    bring him more food. But it may be that the desire of the mother or the
    father does establish the intentions of children, so that if they wanted
    him to continue the meal, his saying hav lan unvorech would not be
    a turning away from the meal. But this remains to be clarified.

  6. If a person says hav lan unvorech and turns his
    mind away from his meal because he thought that the meal was over and was
    then told that more food would be served and that the meal was not over,
    he turned his mind away from the meal in error. If he had known that more
    food would be brought out he would not have said hav lan unvorech.
    Therefore, he is not considered to have turned his mind away from the
    meal. If a person who is eating at a hotel and paying for his meal says hav
    lan unvorech
    because he thinks the meal is over, and is then told that
    more food is about to be brought out, he is not considered to have turned
    his mind away from the meal. If he had known that the meal was not over,
    he would not have said hav lan unvorech.