Parshas Acharei Mos (17:13) contains the mitzvah of kisui hadam – covering the blood of a bird or chaya (wild animal) that is shechted. The mitzvah does not apply to beheimos (domesticated animals). Today, most people only partake or witness this mitzvah during kapparos. However, in earlier times, when it was common to bring a chicken to the local shochet, many observed this mitzvah on a daily basis. A berachah is recited on this mitzvah, as is the case with most mitzvos.
The Gemara (Chullin 86b) says that if someone is going to shecht many chayos or birds he should not cover the blood of each animal after it is shechted; rather, he should shecht all the animals and then cover all the blood at once. There is a dispute in the Mishnah whether this halacha only applies if one is shechting chayos by themselves, or birds by themselves, or if it applies even if one is shechting both birds and chayos together. Rabbi Yehuda argues that if someone is shechting both birds and chayos, he should first cover the blood of each type before shechting the other type. The Chachamim, however, maintain that he should shecht both kinds and then cover the blood of both of them together.
The Gemara says that Rabbi Yehuda agrees that the berachah on shechita said at the beginning suffices to cover both types. One need not recite another berachah on the second shechita despite the fact that there was a kisui in between.
The Gemara, though, notes that this ruling seems to contradict another halacha. If a group is eating a meal and one person says “Hav le’varech” (or, as it is common to say today, “Rabosai nevarech” or “Rabosai mir velin bentchin”), the group can no longer eat without a berachah. Saying, “Let us bentch” is considered an interruption and the berachah of hamotzi said at the beginning of the meal no longer exempts one from having to make berachos on the food one eats at the meal. Similarly, the Gemara argues, kisui hadam should be considered a hefsek that should necessitate a new berachah for any subsequent shechita performed. Why isn’t it then?
The Gemara answers that there is a distinction. One cannot bentch and eat simultaneously. Therefore, when a person says, “Let us bentch” he is demonstrating that he has decided to stop eating. However, one can shecht and perform kisui hadam at the same time. Therefore, kisui hadam is not considered a hefsek of the shechita process.
Based on this distinction, Tosafos (Chullin 87a d”h “Mishta”) quotes Rav Yom Tov who rules that a person who gets up in middle of a seudah to daven must bentch and recite a new berachah on the food when he returns. This is because one cannot eat and daven at the same time. Therefore, the davening is considered a hefsek.
Tosafos, though, disagrees. Tosafos explains that the Gemara’s distinction was made between ki’sui hadam and a person saying, “Let us bentch.” Both of these have something in common. They are both conclusions. Bentching concludes a meal, and kisui hadam concludes the mitzvah of shechita.
Davening, however, is not a conclusion. Therefore, even though one cannot daven and eat at the same time, davening is not considered a hefsek such that one needs to make another berachah on the food of the seudah.
Tosafos supports this reasoning from the fact that it is absurd to think that a person who makes a berachah on lightning or thunder, or even a borei pri hagafen, during his meal would have to bentch and recite a new berachah on the food at the seudah. Clearly, then, not everything one does during a seudah, during whose performance one cannot eat, constitutes a hefsek.Rabbi Raphael Fuchs