The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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GOMEL BENSHEN ("gomel" = Hebr., "who bestoweth"; "benshen" = Judæo-German, "to bless"):

The pronouncing of the benediction for escape from danger' after passing through the desert; after confinement in prison; after severe sickness; and after crossing the sea and arriving safely in port. From the verses "Men should praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" and "They should exalt him also in the assembly of the people, at the seat of the elders they should praise him" (Ps. cvii. 8, 15, 21, 32, Hebr.), the Talmud (Ber. 54b) derived the duty of giving thanks on the four occasions enumerated, and of doing this in public, that is, where ten or more men are gathered together for common worship. It is suggested that a literal compliance with the text ("at the seat of the elders") would require the presence of two rabbis, but this notion has been ignored. The words of the benediction suggested in the Talmud are: "Blessed be . . . who bestoweth ["gomel"] goodly mercies"; but in modern usage the one "bound to give thanks" is called to the desk to read a subsection from the Pentateuch, and, after the usual benediction at the close, he adds the following: "Blessed be Thou . . . who bestoweth favors on the guilty, and who hath bestowed on me all that is good"; whereupon all the bystanders answer: "He who has bestowed good on thee may further bestow good on thee: Selah."

  • Maimonides, Yad, Berakot, x. 8;
  • Caro, Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 319, 1.
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