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Please Note:
The Halachos on this website are based on my personal understanding of the Halachic texts quoted, and are for learning purposes only, NOT for Psak Halacha.

DO NOT rely on them for Psak Halacha L’Maaseh. If you have questions or require further source information, please email the question at Ben@HalachaForToday.comand I will try to respond as soon as I can. For a Halacha L’Ma’aseh Psak, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi.

Thank you.

ARCHIVES: HILCHOS BRACHOS

(Halachos pertaining to Recital of Blessings)

BELOW ARE THE HALACHOS FROM THE  DAILY EMAILS THAT WERE SENT OUT TO THE “HALACHA FOR TODAY” DAILY EMAIL LIST

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 18  2009

Starting today, we will begin discussing different aspects of Halachos pertaining to the many different brachos that we make throughout our day. By no means will we cover this topic exhaustively, as doing so would take many months. I will endeavor to present the most relevant Halachos as best as I can, and if there is anything that is left unclear or any questions remain, please do not hesitate to ask.

 

1) Our holy sages, the Chazal, instituted the text for the many Brachos that we say. This is referred to as “Matbea SheTavu Chachamim, the coins that Chazal minted” and anyone that changes the text of the “coined phrase” of any Bracha has not properly satisfied their obligation of making a Bracha, and in many cases the Bracha needs to be repeated. (See Talmud Brachos 40b, Rambam beginning of Hilchos Brachos and Rambam beginning of Hilchos Krias Shma, and Mishna Berura 68:1 who discusses the discrepancies in the 2 Rambams. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 68:1 that this applies only to the beginnings and ends of the Brachos, and not to the middle section.)

 

2) Also, it is forbidden to invent any new Brachos, or add any words to any existing Brachos, beyond what Chazal have established. (See Halichos Shlomo, Tefilah, Perek 1 footnote 10 for more about this.)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JUNE 19  2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) One who recites a Bracha in Lashon HaKodesh (Hebrew) but does not understand the meaning of the words is Yotzei B’dieved.However, L’Chatchilah it is best to understand the meaning of the Bracha being recited.

 

Therefore, if one  who does not understand Lashon HaKodesh will only understand what he/she is saying  in a language other than Lashon HaKodesh it is preferable to say it in that language. (See Aruch HaShulchan 185:4-7.See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav 185:1-2)

 

If the Bracha was recited in any other language besides Lashon HaKodesh, if the meaning of the words is not understood, he/she is not Yotzei (See Biur Halacha Siman 62 Dibur HaMaschil Yachol L’Krosah)

 

2) According to most Poskim, saying a Bracha including the name of Hashem in another language, for no reason, is a Bracha L’Vatala, saying Hashem’s name in vain. Therefore it will not help to say a Bracha in another language when in doubt if a Bracha was recited.

 

Some Poskim are more lenient, and in fact say to do this when in doubt; however the prevalent Psak is to be stringent.

 

This applies not just to Brachos, but even to saying “G-d” or other names referring to Hashem for no reason. (See commentary of the Tzlach to Brachos 20b and Pnei Yehoshua to Brachos 12b. See also Aruch HaShulchan Siman 202:3, Mishna Berura 215:19, Shu”t Rav Akiva Eiger Siman 25, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 6:3 ,Kaf HaChaim 167:70 and 215:27 and Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 40:27)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) When reciting a Bracha it is important to hear the words that are being said. If the words were said in a whisper, and weren’t heard, B’dieved it is acceptable.

 

If the words were not said at all, rather they were just thought about, the obligation to recite the Bracha has not been satisfied, even B’dieved. (Mishna Berura Siman 62:6)

 

If the Bracha is being recited in a noisy room, there is question whether the Bracha needs to be said very loudly so that the one reciting it can hear the words being said, or if the requirement is only to say the words loud enough that under normal circumstances they would be able to be heard. The contemporary Poskim rule that there is no need to say the Bracha extra loud in this case. (Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos  Shlomo Perek 22:4. This is also the Psak of Rav Shmuel Wosner Shlita)

 

2) If one is ill, or otherwise cannot utter the words (e.g. he is in an unclean area) and he/she is very thirsty/hungry and must eat, the words of the Bracha may be “thought” in his/her mind.

 

Keep in mind that in certain unclean areas even “thinking” the Bracha is prohibited. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 6 Siman 23 that in such a case, eating is permitted without a Bracha at all)

 

This only works B’Sha’as HaDchak (extreme circumstances), and if the obstacle passes, he/she must immediately say the Bracha before continuing to eat/drink. (Mishna Berura Siman 62:7. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 185:3 and Kaf HaChaim 185:7)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 21 2009

1)It is prohibited to make an interruption in the middle of reciting a Bracha.

 

Therefore, if one is reciting a short Bracha (e.g. SheHakol  Nihyeh B’Dvaro) he/she may not interrupt in middle, even to answer a Davar Sh’Bekedusha, such as Kadish, Yehei Shmay Rabbah or Barchu.

If such an interruption was made, the Bracha is not valid even B’dieved.

 

2) However, if the Bracha being recited is a long Bracha (e.g. Al HaMichya) it is permitted to interrupt for a Davar Sh’Bekedusha, even L’Chatchilah (only in the middle of the Bracha, but not in the opening or closing of the Bracha where the name of Hashem and Malchus of Hashem are being said, as during that part of the Bracha it is considered a short Bracha).

 

Other interruptions, however, should not be made, but if they were made it is Yotzei B’dieved and it need not be repeated. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 66:3 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil L’Kadish. See also Chayei Adam Klal 5:14 regarding a person who is not sure which Bracha to say, if he may ask in middle of his Bracha. See also Chayei Adam Klal 25:7 regarding speaking out in middle of a Bracha, a rabbinical sin, to warn others that there is something unclean in the room, and thus they may not continue davening lest they transgress a biblical commandment.)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JUNE 22 2009

1) One who makes an unnecessary Bracha transgresses the transgression of saying Hashem’s name in vain (Lo Tisa Es Sheim Hashem Elokecha LaShav, Shemos 20:7, one of the Ten Commandments)

According to the Rambam this is a biblical transgression. According to others it is only biblical if the name of Hashem is said in vain by itself, but if the context of a Bracha, even an unnecessary one, it is a rabbinical transgression. (See Mishna Berura Siman 215:20 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 215:3. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 10 Siman 45 for an elucidation on this.)

 

2) There are 2 categories of unnecessary Brachos:

a)      A Bracha L’vatalah, a blessing for no reason at all, such as making a Bracha twice on the same food, or reciting a Bracha and not eating the food afterwards.

b)      Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha, a blessing that could have been avoided, yet when recited it isn’t totally in vain, such as making a Bracha on a food immediately before washing to eat a bread meal (besides in cases when doing so for a valid Halachic reason which we will discuss in the future iy”H) (See Mishna Berura Siman 211:28 and 215:19)

 

Thus, it is important to not make any interruptions between the Bracha and the eating of the food, as doing so will necessitate saying the Bracha again and render the first Bracha a Bracha L’vatalah.(Mishna Berura 215:18)

 

Also, it is prohibited to divide your meal into two parts (Bentching and re-washing right away) for no reason, as doing so will necessitate a new Bracha on the food, a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha. However, if doing so for a valid reason, it is permitted. (See Mishna Berira Siman 291:14.See Shulchan Aruch Harav Siman215:5 and Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 13 Siman 2)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 23 2009

1)If one has two foods of the same Bracha in front of them, one Bracha should be recited for both of the foods.

Making a separate Bracha on each is a “Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha, an unnecessary Bracha”. (See Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 215:18)

Even if one specifically had in mind that the Bracha should only exempt one of the foods in order to necessitate a second Bracha, having this intent makes it a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha.

However, if one is not sure if the Bracha on the first item will exempt the second item (due to a Machlokes HaPoskim which Bracha to make, or any other halachically valid Safek) it is permissible, according to many Poskim, to have explicit intent that the Bracha on the first item should not exempt the second item. (See Pri Chadash Yoreh Deah Siman 19:8, Mogen Avraham end of Siman 639, Shaarei Teshuva Siman 8:15 and Biur Halacha Siman 25 Dibur Hamaschil V’Tov.)

2) If one washed for bread and recited hamotzi,  and then makes an additional  Bracha on one of the items that is served during the meal, it is a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha as all the foods being served during the meal have already been exempted by the Hamotzi.

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 2009

1) Some Poskim allow making a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha (the kind where one puts themselves in a situation that another Bracha will be necessary, but not a Bracha L’vatalah) in order to fulfill the obligation to make 100 Brachos each day (which on Shabbos and Yom Tov is sometimes very difficult), however, most Poskim reject this view and prohibit Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha at all times. (See Mishna Berura Siman 46:14 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 249:14. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 215:4-5 and Siman 249: 4 in Kuntres Achron)

Even according to the Poskim that allow this practice, it is only in situations where there is no other way to reach the 100 Brachos, and only if by making this Bracha you know you will surely reach the 100 Brachos. (See Shu”t Shevet Hakehasi Vol. 2 Siman 90)

2) If one started reciting a Bracha and said “Baruch” or “Baruch Ata” then realized that it was in vain he/she should just stop.

If one  said  Baruch Atah Hashem” he/she  finish with the words “Lamdeini  Chukecha” ,as that is a Posuk in Tehillim 119:12, “Baruch Ata Hashem Lamdeini Chukecha”

If one started to say the word  “Elokei” (and didn’t finish the entire word” Elokeinu”) he/she should finish with “Elokei Yisroel Avinu M’Olam V’Ad Olam”, also a Posuk (Divrei HaYomim  29:10). (See Tzlach Brachos 39a and Chayei Adam Klal 5:1 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 6:4)

If one finished the word “Elokeinu” or more before realizing that it was in vain, he/she should immediately say “Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso L’Olam Va’ed”. This is also said any time the name of Hashem is said in vain. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 206:6. See also Aruch HaShulchan 206:16,  Shu”t Panim Me’Iros  Vol. 3 Siman 9, Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 137:6, Shu”t Har Tzvi Vol. 1 Siman 99 for more  in depth explanations of how/why  this works to annul the sin of saying Hashem’s name in vain)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 25 2009

1) One who is learning the Halachos of or the proper way of saying Brachos, may not utter Hashem’s name in vain during his/her practice.

However, one who is learning Gemara [or any other Torah text] and comes across Pesukim may say the Pesukim including the names of Hashem contained therein.

2) Children [or even newly religious adults] who are first learning how to recite Brachos may say the Brachos using the name of Hashem while they are learning how to recite them.

The teacher teaching them may also say the name of Hashem. (Mishna Berura Siman 215:14. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 56 and Halichos Shlomo, Tefilah, Chapter 22:8 and the footnotes)

According to some Poskim, if the teacher can get away without saying the entire name of Hashem, it is better if he tries to avoid saying the entire name and rather say “Ado…” and have the children understand and  finish the entire name. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 167:29 and Eishel Avraham (Butchatsh) Siman167)

One who hears such a Bracha, being recited by children who are learning how to say them, does not answer Amen to the Bracha as it isn’t a real Bracha. (Mishna Berura  Siman 215:13)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JUNE 26 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos

1) Brachos [with the name of Hashem] that are recorded on a cassette, CD etc. (common with  Chazzanus, cantorial recordings) may be listened to and there is no prohibition of causing Hashem’s name to be said in vain by playing these recordings.

However, it is best not to play them unless for a good reason (e.g. learning the Nusach of the Tefilah), and they definitely may not be played in an unclean area such as a bathroom or the like. (See Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 5 Siman 158 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 91 and Vol. 5 Siman 66 where he is more stringent. See also Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 3 Siman 15 and Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 13 Siman 1)

2) There is no explicit prohibition to erase such a recording that contains the name of Hashem, but it is best to refrain from doing so as it is not a respectful thing to erase the name of Hashem in any way whatsoever. (ibid. Siman 159. See also Shu”t Igros Moshe  Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 173 and in Vol. 2 Siman 142 and in Vol. 3 Siman 31 where Rav Moshe Zatzal suggests that it be done through a Grama, an indirect action, as otherwise it will seem as if you are erasing the Sheim Hashem)

Brachos that are heard on a recording are not real Brachos and thus cannot be used to exempt someone who is required to make that Bracha.

Additionally, one who hears such a recorded Bracha may not answer Amen to it.

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) There is a huge debate in the Poskim whether Brachos that are heard via the telephone or via a microphone [or on the radio] are considered as if you heard the Bracha or if what you are hearing is a digitally reproduced voice that sounds like the person speaking but in reality isn’t his/her voice at all.

Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal (in Shu”t Igros Moshe  Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 108 and in Vol. 4 Siman 126) writes that  Brachos heard via a microphone  do not suffice.  Thus it is best to be close enough to the one making the Bracha to hear his voice directly. (Many Rabbanim at weddings insist on having a Minyan of men close enought to the Chupah to hear the entire Kidushin and Sheva Brachos not via the microphone)

2) Regarding Brachos on the telephone, Rav Moshe Zatzal  writes (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 91) that B’Sha’as Hadchak, in extreme situations, it’s acceptable. (See also Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 2 Siman 113 and Vol. 3 Siman 38)

However, most Poskim agree that when hearing a Bracha via phone or microphone, Amen may and should be answered. (See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 91, Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:15 and Shu”t Minchas Elazar Vol. 2 Siman 72)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 28 2009

1) Every Jewish male is obligated to recite 100 Blessings each day.

There is a debate in the Poskim if this obligation is biblical or rabbinical in nature, but regardless it is a very important to make sure that 100 Brachos are recited, and the reward for being scrupulous with this is immeasurable. (See Mishna Berura Siman 46:14, Mogen Avraham 46:7, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 46:1 and Siman 249:4 in Kuntres Achron and Shu”t Tashbatz Vol. 2 Siman 161)

According to many Rishonim, one should actually count his Brachos until the one hundred are reached. (Opinion of the Rambam Hilchos Tefilah Perek 7:16 and AbudreHam in Seder Tefilas Arvis)

2) According to many Poskim, the more Brachos one makes a day beyond the 100 the more praiseworthy that person is. (The Shulchan Aruch Siman 46:3 says the requirement is to make “at least” 100 Brachos. This is the opinion of the AbudreHam and other Rishonim as well)

Women are not obligated in the recital of the 100 Brachos, as many of the Brachos counted in the Poskim in the total of 100 are not Brachos that women say. (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol.2 Siman 129 and Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol.5 Siman 23)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JUNE 29 2009

1)The counting of the 100 Brachos that need to be recited every “day”  is calculated  from sunset to sunset, the Jewish day. (See Mogen Avraham Siman 46:8 and  Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 46)

2) If Tefilas Arvis is davened “early”, as is done in many circles throughout the week (where they daven Mincha right before Plag HaMincha and Maariv right after plag Hamincha, but before sunset)and is even more prevalent on Friday nights in the summer months when many people make “early Shabbos”, the Brachos of Maariv do not count towards the next day. (See Shu”t B’tzel HaChachma Vol. 4 Siman 155 and  Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:23  where Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal  rules this way even for the Brachos of Kiddush if recited before sunset. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 4 Siman 60 and Vol. 2 Siman 129)

However, according to some Poskim, the Birchas HaMazon at Seudah Shlishis on Shabbos, even if it is recited after sunset, is counted toward the 100 of Shabbos, and not Sunday. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 23. See also Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 4:27 that if it was recited after Tzeis haKochavim (the emergence of three stars), it is no longer counted towards Shabbos. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos ibid.)

For a complete list of the breakdown of the 100 Brachos for every day, for Shabbos as well as some other relevant Halachos, please visit the 100 brachos website,  www.MeahBrachos.com which one of my readers, A.K., made me aware of. Thank you A. K.!

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 30 2009

1) When reciting Brachos, it is proper to say the words with Kavanah (concentration).

This is especially true for Birchas HaMazon which, if said without Kavanah,  may require repeating.  (See  Halacha for June 11 2008 in archives here. See also Mishna Berura Siman 60:7, Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 193:3 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 185:1&2 for an elaboration on the importance of Kavanah and the Halachic status of Brachos recited without proper Kavanah.)

2) While reciting a Bracha, no other thoughts should consume the mind besides the meaning of the words of the Bracha, to whom we are reciting the Bracha (Hashem) and for what reason. Not even Torah thoughts should be thought while a Bracha is being recited. (Mishna Berura Siman 191:5)

It goes without saying that nothing else should be done, while reciting a Bracha, even if it is a simple task that presumably will not hinder the Kavanah of the Bracha. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 183:14. Some Poskim even prohibit the drying of the hands while reciting “Al Netilas Yadayim” as this will hinder proper Kavanah. However, Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and others allowed this, as it is a part of the Mitzvah on which the blessing is being recited, and indeed this is the prevalent custom. See also Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 8 Siman 20 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. Vol. 8 Siman 42)

 

 

 

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 1 2009

1) It is proper to recite Brachos out loud, and not in a whisper, as doing so will lead to having more Kavanah. (Mishna Berura Siman 185:3)

Brachos should be recited slowly and clearly with each word enunciated; the words should not be swallowed or jumbled. (See Mishna Berura Siman 172:7. See also Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah Sha’ar 3 Perek 2 regarding the importance of this)

2) When reciting a Bracha, the mouth must be totally empty of food or anything else. (Mishna Berura Siman 172:7)

Some women have the practice of holding their rings between their teeth after washing, while reciting the Bracha of Al Netilas Yadayim. This practice should be discontinued. (See Chayei Adam Klal 5:25)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 2 2009

1) It is proper to recite all Brachos while sitting down. (This applies to Birchas HaNehenin, blessings on physical pleasures only, and not to Birchas HaMitzvos, blessings on performing Mitzvos or Birchas HaShvach, blessings of praise. See Siddur Ya’avetz by Birchas Asher Yatzar that Brachos that are on an action should be recited in the same position required for the action. See also Pri Megadim Siman 432; MishbeTzos Zahav Sif Katan 1 and 3)

If sitting is not possible or practical, at least make sure to stand still and not recite the Bracha while walking. (See Mishna Berura Siman 183:35, Biur HaGra 183:24, Ben Ish Chai Parshas Chukas Siman 64 and Kaf HaChaim 183:51)

2) The after Bracha of Borei Nefashos (after eating  non bread/5 grains foods) may be recited while standing, according to some Poskim. Other Poskim only require sitting for Borei Nefashos if the food was eaten sitting down. (See Shu”t Mishneh Halachos, Mahadura Tinyana, Siman 150 and Shu”t VaYa’an  Dovid Siman 30. See also Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 1 Siman 151:6)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JULY 3 2009

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) When reciting a Bracha on a food/drink [or when reciting a Bracha before smelling  Besamim]  it is proper to hold the item in your hand, as doing so will lead to better Kavanah.

However, if the Bracha was recited without the item being in your hand, B’dieved it is an acceptable Bracha, as long as the item is in front of you. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:17)

2) Right handed people should hold the item in their right hand and left handed people should hold it in their left hands, as holding the item in the stronger hand is a sign of respect. (Mishna Berura 206:18)

The item should be held directly in the hands and not while wearing gloves. Similarly, if the food is in a snack bag or the like, some of it should be removed and held in the hand not via the bag during the Bracha. (See Mishna Berura 167:23)

HALACHOS FOR SHABOS KODESH

1) If the food being eaten is normally eaten with a utensil (e.g. soup with a spoon or spaghetti in sauce with a fork) it can be held in the utensil while the Bracha is recited.

However, food that is not normally eaten with a utensil should not be held with a utensil while the Bracha is being said, as that is not respectful to the Bracha. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 206:32. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 8 Siman 28 regarding holding the food with a napkin to keep the hands clean.)

2) For Kabalistic reasons, it is best not to hold food with a metal knife. According to some opinions, food should not be held with any knife, even plastic, as knives are a symbol of the opposite of life.(Mishna Berura Siman 206:18. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav 206:8 and Kaf HaChaim 206:31 who says even a metal fork should not be used, however this is not the prevalent custom)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 5 2009

1) It is prohibited [for a male] to recite a Bracha with his head uncovered.

If a Bracha was recited without a head covering, according to some Poskim it is acceptable B’dieved. According to others it may even be invalid B’dieved. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 206:6. See Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 40:14 where he writes that Tefilah davened with an uncovered head is not valid B’dieved. Some want to deduce from there that Rav Moshe Zatzal would Pasken the same thing for Brachos. Regarding how much of the head must be covered, see Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 1. See also Ben Ish Chai Parshas Shmini Siman 18 where he maintains that married women must cover their heads before making Brachos, even if they are in a place where their heads don’t otherwise have to be covered according to Halacha.)

2) Although there is no Halacha requiring the washing of the hands before reciting a Bracha, if one knows for certain that his/her hands are unclean or touched a covered part of the body, the hands do need to be washed before reciting the Bracha.

Some people are stringent to always wash their hands before reciting a Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 227:12 and Siman 435:2. This was also the minhag of the Chasam Sofer to wash with a little bit water before making a Bracha, in respect to the Bracha)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JULY 6 2009

1) When hearing another Jew recite a Bracha, there is an obligation to answer “Amen” (Shulchan Aruch Siman 215:2)

The reason for this is based on a Posuk (Devarim 32:3) “Ki Shem Hashem Ekra Havu Godel  L’Elokeinu”. Moshe Rabbeinu told Klal Yisroel, “Ki Shem Hashem Ekra- when I bless and recite  the name of Hashem” then “Havu Godel  L’Elokeinu- you should exalt the Holy Name of Hashem by responding Amen” (Talmud Yoma 37a, quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 215:8)

Chazal taught us (Talmud Brachos 53b) that the one who answers Amen [his reward] is greater than the one reciting the Bracha!

Additionally, a Bracha that had an Amen answered to it is considered a greater Bracha, thus it is advisable whenever possible to recite Brachos when and where people are around to answer Amen. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 124::31 quoting the Zohar and Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 11 Siman 2)

However, if one knows that the people around him/her will definitely not answer Amen to their Bracha, it is best to say it low as not to cause them to transgress the sin of not answering Amen to a Bracha that they heard. (Ben Ish Chai Parshas Mas’ei  Siman 14)

2) It is important to train young children to answer Amen to all Brachos that they hear, since as soon as a child answers Amen he/she has earned themselves a portion in Olam Haba. (Ram”a Siman124:7 based on Gemara Sanhedrin 110b).

This applies even to young children who do not understand what they are saying; all the more so for children who already comprehend the significance of what they are saying. (Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Halichos Shlomo Perek 22:20)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 7 2009

1) It is proper to answer Amen to every Tefilah and Bracha that one hears, even if no Name of Hashem appears in the Tefilah/Bracha.

Thus after every “HaRachaman” in Birchas HaMazon it is proper to answer Amen. (Shl”a quoted in Mishna Berura Siman 189:5)

After hearing a “Mi Shebairach” blessing an individual (common after receiving an Aliya to the Torah in Shul) it is proper to answer “Amen”. Doing so is also a fulfillment of the Mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Reacha Kamocha, love your friend as you love yourself”, as people certainly want others to answer Amen to Mi Shebairachs for themselves. (Aruch HaShulchan Siman 215:1)

2) One, who hears a Bracha that wasn’t said properly, or was a Bracha L’vatalah, a Bracha in vain, may not answer Amen, as doing so will be as if he/she has said the name of Hashem in vain. (Mishna Berura Siman 215:21)

Similarly, if one hears someone recite a Bracha on a food that is prohibited to eat (e.g. non kosher or stolen food and the like) Amen should not be answered. (Mishna Berura Siman 196:2 and Sha’ar HaTzion 196:1)

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 2009

1) One who is eating a variety of foods , needs to be aware that the Brachos need to be made on the  more Chashuv, prominent foods first, as doing so is Hiddur Mitzvah and respectful to the Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:1)

The aforementioned Halacha applies regardless if the foods are all of the same Bracha, or if the foods are a variety of Brachos, as we always begin with the prominent food.

There are four basic categories of prominence to determine which foods get the Bracha first:

a)   The Shivas HaMinim, the seven species of fruit with which Eretz Yisroel is praised [in the Posuk] take precedence over any other fruit, and their prominence is in the order that they are listed in the Posuk, and their  proximity to the word "Eretz"(See Mishna Berura Siman 211:3 and 22)

b)   A complete food takes precedence over a broken segment of the same food.

c)   A food that an individual likes better takes precedence over a food that is less liked.

d)   A Bracha that exempts fewer varieties of   foods takes precedence over a Bracha that exempts more.
We will iy”H discusses these categories and their practical applications more in detail in the coming days.

2) Keep in mind that the Halachos of what goes first only applies to the Brachos, and don’t necessitate eating an entire food before going ahead and eating a second food, rather once a bite was taken out of the more prominent food, it is permissible to move on and make a Bracha and eat the next food.

Similarly, when one washed , recited Hamotzi and is eating a meal, the foods that are exempt from an individual Bracha due to their being part of the meal, need not be eaten in any particular order.(See Kaf HaChaim  Siman 211:5)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 9 2009

1) The Halachos of “Kedima”, precedence in Brachos, are L’Chatchilah. However, if one made a Bracha on the less prominent food, it is acceptable B’dieved and it even exempts the more prominent food of the same Bracha [if you had in mind to do so]. (Ram”a Siman 211:5. See also Mishna Berura ibid. 32 and 33. See also  Aruch HaShulchan 211:16)

2) The Halachos of Kedima only apply if both foods are in front of you and you want to partake of both the foods. Moreover, even if the more prominent food is in front of you, but you don’t have a desire to eat it just yet and want to save it for later, there is no requirement to eat it now in order to recite its Bracha first. (Mishna Berura Siman 211:1 and 31)

If the accepted custom of society (or even one’s personal minhag) is to eat things in a certain order (e.g.  Entrée of fish served before course of Mezonos dish of pasta or other Mezonos), the Halachos of Kedima do not apply as since this is the custom it is not considered that both foods are equally in front of you and ready to eat. (Kaf HaChaim Siman 211:5. See also Shu”t Oz Nidberu Vol. 8 Siman 53)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JULY 10 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) If one has two fruits, one from the Shivas HaMinim which is not complete (e.g. a half of a fig) and one a complete fruit, but not from the Shivas Haminim (e.g. an apple) the Bracha is made on the Shivas HaMinim [even if the other fruit is more enjoyable to that individual, according to many Rishonim]. (Mishna Berura Siman 211:4. See also Biur Halacha Dibur HaMaschil V’Yesh Omrim where he elaborates on the opinions of many Rishonim in regard to when the non Shivas HaMinim fruit is more enjoyable to eat)

2) On the night of Rosh Hashana when it is customary to an apple dipped in honey, and also many other fruits, some from the Shivas HaMinim,  each with its own symbolic meaning, according to many Poskim it is best to make the Bracha on the Shivas HaMinim and not on the apple. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 583:25. This was also the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal. Others argue and maintain that the Bracha can be made on the apple in this case. See Piskei Teshuva Siman 583:2 that this was the Minhag of the Ari, Minhag Chabad and others)

There is a discussion in the Poskim whether raisins (which are dried grapes) retain their status as being from the Shivas HaMinim, or if their being dried and thus losing their viable seeds makes them no longer a grape for the purposes of Kedima in Brachos. (Aishel Avraham, Butshatsh, quoted in Shaarei HaBracha Perek 12: footnote 11)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) A whole fruit or food item always takes precedence over a broken item. For example, if one has a plate of cookies, the Bracha is made on a complete cookie and not on a fragmented one, even if the fragment is larger than the whole cookie.

Similarly, if two foods of the same Bracha are in front of you and one is larger or more attractive than the other, the Bracha is made on the larger or more attractive one, as doing so is respectful to the Bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 168:6. See also Mishna Berura Siman 167:5 that even when making a Bracha on a fragmented piece of bread, it should still be as large as possible; although it isn’t complete, it is still important to have it as Chashuv as possible.)

2) If the two foods that are in front of you are not from the Shivas HaMinim and both aren’t whole foods,  the food that you usually like better takes precedence over the other one. If both foods are usually enjoyed equally, the one that is currently more appealing to you goes first. (See Mishna Berura Siman 211:35 towards the end. See also Mishna Berura 211:11 that the Rambam’s view is that we always judge based on what you like better now, and not on what you generally like better, and he writes that one who rules according to this view has on whom to rely)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 12 2009

1) If two foods with two distinct Brachos are in front of you, and one of the Brachos are considered more Chashuv, prominent, the more prominent Bracha is recited first, as doing so expresses more praise to Hashem for providing foods for us with Hashgacha Pratis (individualized divine providence) (See Chayei Adam Klal 57:2)

The aforementioned is even if the food with the less prominent Bracha is more enjoyable, as the Halacha that more enjoyable foods go first is only if the Brachos of the two foods are of  equal prominence (such as two Shehakol foods, or even a Ha’aitz food and a Ha’Adama food, according to some opinions) (This is the Psak of the  Mishna Berura Siman 211:14 and many other Poskim. The Rambam argues and maintains that the food you enjoy always takes precedence. See Sha’ar HaTzion 211:8)

2) A Bracha that exempts fewer varieties of foods is considered a more prominent Bracha. We will elaborate on this over the next few days iy”H (See Mishna Berura Siman 211:15 and 16).

The Bracha of Hamotzi goes before all other Brachos, even if you have bread from barley and a Mezonos from wheat in front of you, the Hamotzi goes first.

If you have a few kinds of bread in front of you, the Hamotzi is made on the bread that is made from the most prominent grain. (See Ram”a Siman 211:5 and Mishna Berura 29)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JULY 13 2009

1) After Hamotzi, the order of importance of Brachos is as follows:

a) Borei Minei Mezonos (and Mezonos itself goes in order of importance of the grains: wheat, barley etc., and items of the five grains take precedence over rice and rice products.)

b) Borei Pri HaGafen (which is one of the reasons we cover the Challah and Mezonos at Kiddush on Shabbos, as really the Bracha on the Challah/Mezonos should go first. See Mishna Berura Siman 271:41)

c) Borei Pri Ha’aitz (and amongst fruits, Shivas HaMinim take precedence, as we discussed earlier)

d) Borei Pri Ha’Adama (unless the food in question is more enjoyable than the fruit, in which case Ha’Adama would go before Ha’aitz. See Mishna Berura end of Siman 211)

e) SheHakol Nih’Ya B’devaro.

2) If one has a food and a drink in front of him, the one with the more prominent Bracha, or the one that is more enjoyable goes first.

If they are both the same Bracha and are both just as enjoyable, M’Ikar HaDin there is no requirement to recite a Bracha on the food rather than  the drink. However, the prevalent custom is to indeed recite the Bracha on the food item rather than the drink. (see Pri Megadim in his introduction to Hilchos Brachos S”K 8 and in Siman 211:6. See also Aruch HaShulchan 211:17. Some want to bring a proof from the Gemara Brachos 49b that the Torah gave prominence to eating over drinking. See Mishna Berura Siman 197:25)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 14 2009

1) After eating, a more prominent Bracha Achrona takes precedence over a less prominent one.
Thus, whenever two or more Brachos Achronos are required, they should be done in the following order:
a)      Birchas HaMazon (after eating bread)
b)      Al Hamichya (after eating foods of the 5 grains, besides bread)
c)      Al HaGefen (after drinking wine/grape juice)
d)      Al Ha’aitz (after eating one of the Shivas Haminim fruits)
e)      Borei Nefashos (after everything else that doesn’t fall into one of the aforementioned categories) (Pri Megadim in his introduction to Hilchos Brachos S”K 10 quoted in the Biur Halacha  to Siman 202:11 Dibur Hamaschil Bracha. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 20:13 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 1:37)

2) In Halacha there is a concept of “Tadir V’She’aino Tadir,Tadir Kodem”. This basically means that whenever you are presented with doing two Mitzvos or reciting two Brachos, the one that is done more often, takes precedence. (This is a very complicated topic, with certain exceptions and many details, which is beyond the scope of this forum)

Therefore, when one is required to recite “Asher Yatzar” after having used the restroom and is also required to recite “Borei Nefashos” or “Birchas HaMazon” after having eaten food, the Asher Yatzar goes first.  (See Mogen Avraham Siman 165:3, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 165:2, Aruch HaShulchan 165:2 and Mishna Berura Siman 7:2)

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 15 2009

1)It is obligatory to recite a Bracha, a blessing,  before eating or drinking even a drop of food or drink, as Chazal (Brachos 35a & b) tell us, based on Pesukim, that it is forbidden to enjoy anything of Hashem’s world without thanking Him first and not doing so constitutes “stealing “from Hashem. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:47)

The Bracha after eating, however, is only required if a proper amount of food/drink was consumed.

2) The requirement of a Bracha before eating is only for food that is enjoyable to the throat (i.e. taste buds).

Therefore, spoiled food, extremely bitter food, or other inedible foods, do not require a Bracha if they will be  eaten. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 202:2 and Siman 204:2)

Similarly, one who is totally satiated to the point of being “stuffed”, and continues to eat does not make a Bracha as this eating is considered “Achila Gasa” and not a normal manner of eating which brings enjoyment. (See Mishna Berura Siman 612:14 and Siman 476:6 that such an “eating” isn’t considered eating)

If a food or beverage is too hot, or even too freezing cold to have enjoyment from, no Bracha is required until it cools down/ defrosts to a manageable temperature. (See Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda Yoreh Deah Vol. 1 Siman 35. See also Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion 14:27 and Shu”t Rivevos Ephraim Vol. 1 Siman 131)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 16 2009

1) A food that is eaten for medical reasons, as a cure for an ailment, does not require a Bracha, unless some pleasure is derived from it while eating it.

According to some opinions, if the food is neither good tasting nor bad tasting, it always requires a Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:55 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 204:14 in the parenthesis. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 82)

Similarly, when drinking water, no Bracha is required unless some pleasure is derived (i.e. it is being drunk to satisfy thirst, or a desire to drink). (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:40)

Thus, if drinking water to help swallow a pill or help dislodge something that was stuck in the throat, no Bracha is required, unless also drinking due to thirst.

2) One who drinks water before exercising, or before a fast day, even though he/she isn’t thirsty now, a Bracha is required as it’s being drunk for pleasure, that will be derived from it later on. (Psak of Rav Shmuel Wosner Shlita. See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 9 Siman 42 and Vol. 10 Siman 42:12)

Other drinks, however, including sugared water require a Bracha at all times, even if being drunk for a reason other than thirst, as they are always pleasurable to the throat. (Mishna Berura Siman 204:42)

It is questionable if Seltzer requires a Bracha always, even though it’s water, due to its carbonation making it a little bit pleasurable to taste, even when not thirsty. (Safek of Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, quoted in Sefer Brachos K’Hilchasan page 143)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JULY 17 2009 (SPECIAL DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) One who ingests a food/drink that causes damage when eaten [by itself] is not considered to be “eating”, and is not required to recite a Bracha. Some examples of this include drinking olive oil or strong vinegar. (See Mishna Berura Siman 202:27 and Siman 204:24. See also Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 204:3)

However, foods which are not inherently foods that cause damage, and are good tasting, require a Bracha even if the person eating them may be harming him or herself by eating them. An example of this would be a diabetic who eats a sugar laden food item or someone with heart trouble eating a fat laden food item. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:15. See also Shu”t Avnei Yashfe Siman 42)

2) An ill person R”L who is fed via an intravenous feeding tube, which inserts the food directly into the stomach (and thus does not cause pleasure to the throat and taste buds), does not recite  a Bracha even if it satiates his/her hunger.

If the recipient of the intravenous wants to  give thanks to Hashem for the sustenance, he/she may do so by saying Pesukim of praise to Hashem, or by having someone else recite a Bracha over their own food and answer Amen and be Yotzei that way. (See Shu”t MaHarsham Vol. 1 Siman 123 and 124, Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 3 Siman 18, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 12 Siman 1:7 and Vol. 13 Siman 35:3)

One who drinks a beverage with a straw, although the drink doesn’t touch his/her lips, is required to recite a Bracha, as the throat and taste buds have pleasure. (Shu”t Mishneh Halachos Vol. 6 Siman 36. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 4 Siman 21)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) As a rule, a Bracha is only required on food if eating it for pleasure.

Therefore, if one is cooking and tastes the item to see if it requires more spices or other ingredients, and isn’t eating for enjoyment the Halacha is as follows:
If the item is just tasted but not swallowed (i.e. it is spit out), no Bracha is required even if a large amount was tasted.

If while tasting the food it is being swallowed, if it is less than a Revi’is (for liquids) or a Kzayis (for solids) no Bracha is required.

If more than a Revi’is/Kzayis is tasted, a Bracha is indeed required.

If tasting a variety of foods, if less than a Revi’is/Kzayis of each one is tasted, no Bracha is required, unless the intent is to eat and enjoy all the foods, and not just to determine if more spices are necessary.(All of the above, based on the  Mishna Berura Siman 210:13-15)

2) Once the item is fully cooked, and it is tasted only to see if it is tasty, if more than a Kzayis is swallowed, a Bracha is required.

If, however, it is also being eaten to enjoy the tasty dish, a Bracha is required even on less than a Kzayis.

Since, it is difficult to “taste” an item without enjoying it, it is best to specifically have in mind to enjoy the item, and thus necessitate a Bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 210:19. For more detailed discussions on this topic see  Kaf HaChaim Siman 210:23, Shu”t Chavos Yair Siman 160,Igros Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 80,  Shu”t  Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 141, and  Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 3 Siman 220)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 19 2009

1)Vitamins are considered food, and if they have a good taste and are chewed (like most children’s vitamins), a Bracha is required. (See Halichos Shlomo Chapter 13 footnote 27 that vitamins, like other food, may not be stored under a bed and if slept on must be discarded)

The same applies to cough lozenges, herbal teas and any other good tasting food even though it is being eaten for health purposes. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 204:8)

2) Cough syrup, and other sweetened medicines, even though they aren’t food,  according to many Poskim require a Bracha due to is being good tasting, and thus pleasurable. (This seems to be the ruling of the Mishna Berura Siman 204:48. This is also the Psak of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 204:15, Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 202 and Shu”t Mikraei Kodesh Vol. 2 Siman 40)

Other Poskim however maintain that since there is no reason a person would “drink” this syrup if not for its medicinal purposes, it isn’t considered food and does not require a Bracha. (Psak of Rav Shlomo zalmen Auerbach Zatzal)

Some Poskim suggest that a Bracha on such medicines would only be required  if a Revi’is is consumed, but this view is rejected by most Poskim. (see Shu”t Mikraei Kodesh ibid.)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JULY 20 2009

1) When smoking a cigarette, cigar or pipe, even if the taste of the tobacco leaves enter the throat and pleasure is derived from it, no Bracha is recited. (Mishna Berura Siman 210:17. See also Shu”t Ksav Sofer Siman 24. This is not to be taken as an endorsement to the practice of smoking , which is a harmful and  terrible habit. 

 

2) One who is forced to eat against his/her will, and does not derive pleasure from the food is not required to recite a Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:45 who quotes other opinions that argue and maintain that a Bracha is indeed required, especially if the food eaten is bread and it satiates you that the Birchas HaMazon is biblical, and thus required. See Kaf HaChaim Siman 204:50 and Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 202. Rav Shmuel Wosner Shlita ruled that the above Halacha does not apply to a child whose parents force him to eat for his own good, as in that case the child must make a Bracha.)

 

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 21 2009

1) One whose health requires him/her to eat non kosher foods, Basar B’Chalav or to eat on Yom Kippur, must recite a Bracha on this food, unless he/she derives no pleasure from it due to its being forbidden foods (a very high level indeed) (See Mishna Berura Siman 196:5. The Chofetz Chaim goes on to say that one who eats such food for the purpose of preserving his/her life is in fact doing a Mitzvah(!) as the Torah expects us to fulfill the Torah and preserve out life in doing so as the Posuk says “V’Chai BaHem, you shall  live while performing the Mitzvos)

Some Poskim say that if possible it is good to recite the Bracha on a permitted food and exempt the forbidden food that must be eaten. (See Kaf HaChaim 196:8)

2) However, if one eats forbidden foods under regular circumstances or one eats stolen foods, if not doing so for Pikuach Nefesh, a life threatening situation, no Bracha is recited, and one who hears a Bracha recited on such foods may not answer Amen. (Mishna Berura Siman 196:2)

If the forbidden food was eaten by accident, a Bracha Achrona may be recited after eating it. (Mishna Berura Siman 196:4 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 196:4. See also Shu”t Ksav Sofer Siman 22)

One who eats on Shabbos before Kiddush, although it may not be done, must recite a Bracha on the food. (See Shu”t Da’as Torah Siman 271:5. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 69:6 regarding one who eats after shkiah on Shabbos, before Havdala)

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 22 2009

1) If one mistakenly put food or drink into his/her mouth without reciting a Bracha, and it was already swallowed, the Bracha can no longer be recited on that food. (Mishna Berura Siman 172:3)

However, it is proper to quickly (Toch K’Dei Dibur if possible) recite a Bracha on another food of the same Bracha, and this will rectify the original eating/drinking without a Bracha (Mishna Berura Siman 167:49. See also Sharei Teshuva Siman 206:2 that if done immediately, Toch K’dei Dibur, the Bracha may in fact work L’mafrea , retroactively.)

2) If the food has not yet been swallowed, and it is the kind of food that can be removed from the mouth without being repulsive (e.g. a sucking candy), it must be removed, a Bracha recited and then reinserted, as ideally a Bracha must be recited with an empty mouth.

If, however, the food is of the variety that is repulsive to remove from the mouth after having been chewed (e.g.  a cookie  or a berry), it should be pushed to one side of the mouth, a Bracha recited, and then finished.

If the amount of food in the mouth makes it impossible to push to one side (common when a large mouthful of a drink was gulped), if more of the food/drink is available, the item in the mouth should be spit out, and a Bracha recited on the new food/drink.

If no additional food/drink is available, and what’s in the mouth is necessary to drink, and it cannot be pushed to the side, it may be swallowed without a Bracha. (All of the above based on Shulchan Aruch and Mishna berira Siman 172. See  also Kaf HaChaim Siman 172:1 that in this last  case the Bracha should be “thought” in your mind. See also Ben Ish Chai Parshas Matos Siman 14. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 7 Siman26:1)

If enough food/drink was consumed without a Bracha, a Bracha Achrona is still required. (Mishna Berura Siman 172:3)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 23 2009

1)After reciting a Bracha the food must be eaten immediately without any interruptions whatsoever. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 206:3)

Even to answer Amen, Barchu or other Devarim Sh’bekedusha is prohibited after a Bracha is recited, before the food is tasted. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:12)

If an interruption was made, even uttering one  word [which wasn't necessary for the food/eating at hand], disqualifies the Bracha and a new Bracha must be recited. (ibid.)

However, if the interruption was necessary for the food, such as requesting a knife or a fork, it isn’t considered an interruption, and B’dieved you are Yotzei. However, it is best to be scrupulous and not make any interruptions at all between the Bracha and the eating. (Mishna Berura Siman 167:37 and 41. See also Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa  Chapter 47 footnote 215 and Chapter 48 footnote 14  for a discussion about  what is considered “necessary for the meal” etc.)

2) L’Chatchilah, even a  silent interruption such as  keeping quiet [for longer than a few seconds, K'dei Dibur] between the Bracha and the eating is an interruption and should be avoided, and surely  actually doing something else or even gesturing or humming  between the Bracha and the eating is an interruption. (Mishna Berura ibid. and Siman 206:14. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 206:3 that a silent interruption for the purpose of the meal/food is acceptable even L’Chatchilah. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 15:5 and Vol. 8 Siman 147, Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 7 Siman 9, Shu”t B’Tzel HaChachma Vol. 4 Siman 88 and Vol. 5 Siman 107 for some other scenarios of interruptions and their ramifications in Halacha.)

B’dieved, if any interruptions besides for talking are made, no new Bracha is required. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:14 and Sha’ar haTzion 13)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JULY 24 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1)After a  Bracha is recited it is best not to speak while chewing the first bite, until after a bit was swallowed. There is no need for a Kzayis to be swallowed before talking. (Besides for bread, where there is indeed a Halacha to swallow a Kzayis before talking. See Mishna Berura Siman 167:15)

If one spoke before any of the food was swallowed, B’dieved it is acceptable as long as a little of the taste of the food was enjoyed, and there is no need to repeat the Bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 167:35 quoting the Chayei Adam)

2) Foods that require preparation before being ready to eat, should have all their preparations done before the Bracha is recited so as not to necessitate an interruption between the Bracha and the eating. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:12)

Some examples of this are: nuts that require the removal of the shell, fruits that need peeling, food that is in a closed bag or carton that needs to be removed or  drinks that need to be poured out of a bottle.

Keep in mind that fruits that do not require peeling should be kept whole for the recital of the Bracha, as a Bracha on a whole fruit is more respectful. Similarly, a peeled orange should not be broken into segments until after the Bracha, as the more whole and the larger the item is, the more respectful it is to the Bracha, as we discussed previously. (Additionally, a  peeled orange may even be considered “whole” even after the peel was removed.See Kaf HaChaim Siman 202:4 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 202:11)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) Fruits and vegetables that require checking for bugs/worms before eating, should be peeled and inspected  before the Bracha is recited, as doing so after the Bracha will be too long of an interruption, and in the event that it is found to be infested, may render your Bracha a Bracha L’Vatalah. (Mishna Berura ibid. See also Shu”t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 1 Siman151:3 who quotes the Chofetz Chaim that milk must be smelled before reciting a Bracha to ensure it isn’t spoiled and thus render a Bracha L’Vatalah. Similarly, the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh in his Sefer Rishon L’Tzion to Brachos 40a rules that any foods that are often bitter, must be tasted before reciting a Bracha, and  only if found to be edible, a Bracha recited and eaten.)

2) One who recites a Bracha on a food and suddenly finds him/herself nauseated from the food, may not discard the food before tasting a small bite of it, as not to render the Bracha a Bracha L’vatalah.
However, if the food is absolutely repulsive to him/her it may not be eaten due to the prohibition of “Bal TeShaktzu”, rather just say “Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuso L’Olam Va’ed” and  discard the food. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:12)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 26 2009

1) If one recited a Bracha on a food item, and before taking a bite realized [or was told] that it is a forbidden food to eat, the halacha depends why the food is a forbidden food:

If it is prohibited due to a custom, but not Al Pi din, a small bite should be taken so as not to render the Bracha  L’vatalah (which is an an issur D’Oraysa). However, if the food is prohibited  M’Ikar HaDin, it may not even be tasted, even if  it will thus render the Bracha L’vatalah. (See Mogen Avraham Siman 271:12 who differentiates between an Isur D’Oraysa and an Isur D’Rabanan. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 1 Siman 206 in the footnotes. See also Mishna Berura Siman 515:5)

2) However, if the prohibition can be rectified, it should be rectified, and then eaten relying on the original Bracha.

Here are  just a few  of the many examples of this Halacha:

a) If a Mezonos was made on cake, and then you realized that you didn’t make Kiddush yet, Kiddush should be made, the wine drunk, and then the cake eaten relying on the Mezonos you made before Kiddush. If this happened before Havdalah, however, the cake should be tasted, Havdalah recited, and then finish the cake.(See Shu”t Shoel U’meishiv Siman 18. However, see Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 52:19 who rules that Kiddush and Havdalah are the same and the food should be tasted.)

b) If you recited a Bracha on a food and then realized it was a fast day, according to many Poskim you do not taste the food and rather say Baruch Shem etc. on your Bracha L’Vatalah. (see Sha’arei Teshuva Siman 568:1 and Kaf
HaChaim Siman 568:16)

c) One who recites Shehakol on meat and then realizes it is during the nine days when meat is forbidden, should take a small bite of the meat so as not to render the Bracha L’vatalah, and then cease eating  the meat. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol.4 Siman 24)

d) One who recited a bracha on milk and then realized that he/she is still Fleishig should try to eat  something else which is in front of them, so as the Bracha wont be L’vatalah, and they also wont need to eat milchig.

If no other food is around, and it is past an hour from when they ate fleishig,  take one bite of the milchig item and don’t eat any more after that initial bite.(Some Poskim say to take a bite, and then spit it out after you tasted it, but do not swallow it)

if less than an hour passed since eating fleishig, the milchig item should not be tasted, rather “Baruch Sheim K’Vod malchuso L’Olam Va’ed” should be recited (See Mishna Berura Siman 206:26 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Rak Shelo. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 24.)

e)  One who made a Bracha and before eating remembers that he didn’t fed his animals, should take a bite of the food and then go and feed his animals before finishing to eat.  However, if he did in fact go to fed them before taking a bite, it isn’t considered an interruption.(See  Mishna Berura 167:40 and Biur Halacha there  Dibur Hamaschil Umikal Makom)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JULY 27 2009

1) One who recites a Bracha on a food item exempts all other food items of the same Bracha that are in front  of him/her at the time of the Bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:23 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 206:9)

However, if the Bracha was recited and afterwards he/she decides to eat another food item of the same Bracha that was not in front of them at the time of the Bracha not always does the initial Bracha work to exempt the new item.

There are 4 decisive factors that are necessary for the initial Bracha to work on a new food item that is now being brought to the table to eat.

Keep in mind, that the following 4 criteria only exempt the new food if it is a less prominent food than the original food on which the Bracha was recited, unless it was explicitly known at the time of the Bracha that the new food will be eaten. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:26. See also Mishna Berura Siman 211:32 and 33)

The four factors are:

a) If the new food was of the same variety as the original food (e.g. two apples), no new Bracha is required. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:20-22)

b) If at the time of the Bracha it was clear that you are now sitting down to a [non bread] meal (K’vius), no new Bracha is required on any new foods of the same Bracha that are brought out afterwards. (As one who sits down to lunch has in mind to exempt anything that may be served. Likewise, one who sits down to a fruit meal, exempts all fruit that may be brought out, as is common on Tu B’Shvat.) (Mishna Berura ibid. See also Sha’ar HaTzion 206:25)

c) If at the time of the Bracha you explicitly had in mind (Da’as) that you will be eating the second item, no new Bracha is required. (The Poskim advise doing this always, as to avoid questionable situations.  (See Rama Siman 206:5 and Mishna Berura 206:21)

A guest  eating at a host’s table  does not need this explicit Da’as as he/she has the status of  one who had in  mind to eat whatever the host/hostess serves, and thus never needs a second Bracha.(Mishna Berura Siman 179:17)

d)  If at the time the second item was brought out, the first item has not yet been consumed totally, no new Bracha is required.  (Mishna Berura Siman 206:22. According to some Poskim, as long as you had in mind to exempt a new food before the first food was consumed, even if it wasn’t yet brought to the table, it will be exempted when it arrives. See Sefer V’Zos HaBracha Chapter 7 quoting Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal. See also Mishna Berura Siman 174:3 regarding such a case by drinks)

This only works for two similar items (e.g. an apple and a pear or a Danish and a cookie) but on 2 separate items such as a food and a drink or 2 distinct foods (e.g.  Fish and ice cream) the original Bracha does not exempt the new food even if some of the original food is still in front of you. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:21 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 206:9, See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 10)

2) All of the above is only if the food was in the home [and accessible] at the time of the original Bracha, but does not apply if the food was brought into the home from the outside (from the store or a neighbor’s home, or if the food that was in a locked cabinet in the home is now accessible) as in such a case a new Bracha is always required.(Mishna Berura Siman 206:19 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 206:9)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JULY 28 2009

1)One who recites a Bracha on a food/drink item that was not in front of them, but was accessible (e.g. the item was in an unlocked cupboard in that room or in an adjacent room) B’dieved the Bracha is acceptable.

Similarly, one who opens a sink faucet or turns on  a water fountain  and recites a Bracha on the water is Yotzei B’dieved, even though the water that he/she drinks is not the same water that was there at the time the Bracha was recited, as this was the explicit intent at the time of the Bracha. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:19)

However, L’Chatchilah the item should be in front of you, and in your hand [or in a cup, in your hand in the case of water] when the Bracha is recited. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:170)

2)If a Bracha was recited on a food/drink item, and before you were able to take a bite it fell on the floor and became repulsive to eat, or the drink totally spilled out of the cup, if a drop is left that is able to be eaten/drunk that should be done in order to avoid a Bracha L’vatalah. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:24)

If not even a drop of the food/drink remained, and another food/drink of the same Bracha is in front of him/her or was going to be eaten anyway, the new food should be eaten and is exempted by the original Bracha.

However, if the new food was not in front of him/her and he/she did not have in mind to eat it, a new Bracha must be recited, even if the new food is of an identical variety as the first food. The reason for this is that a Bracha on a food only exempts a similar food that wasn’t there at the time of the Bracha, after some of the original food was tasted. (Mishna Berura Siman 206:24-26. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 206:11 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 50:64)

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 29 2009

1) After eating or drinking, a Bracha Achrona (literally “after Bracha”) must be recited thanking Hashem for providing sustenance.

However, according to the Torah only eating more than a Kzayis (around 1 ounce) is considered “eating”, thus if less than a Kzayis was consumed, no Bracha Achrona is required (unlike the Bracha before eating, where  a Bracha must be recited even on a small amount of food) (Mishna Berura Siman 210:4)

For drinks, the amount necessary to require a Bracha Achrona is a Revi’is (around 3 fl. ounces ) (Mishna Berura ibid. Some authorities require a Bracha Achrona on a Kzayis of drink, which is a little less than a Revi’is. Therefore it is best to always either drink less than a Kzayis or more than a Revi’is, but not between the two shiurim, as then it becomes a serious Halachic safek. See Mishna Berura Siman 190:12)

2) Frozen or congealed liquids,which are eaten as foods, require a Bracha Achrona after a Kzayis.

This includes ice cream, pudding, raw eggs, leben etc., even if they are “runny”. However, if they have totally melted they are considered drinks and a Bracha Achrona is only required if a Revi’is was consumed. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 158:8. See also Mishna Berura 158:14 and Sha’ar HaTzion os 16, Shu”t Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim Siman 47 and Yoreh Deah Siman 19. See also Aruch HaShulchan Siman 202:9 and Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 2 Siman 110 for other ways of determining if it’s considered food or drink.  See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 7 Siman 21:1. Shu”t L’Horos Nosson Vol. 10 Siman 21 and 22, Shu”t B’Tzel HaChachma Vol. 3 Siman 117. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 204:1 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 1 Siman 11. There are literally scores of additional Teshuvos and sources  in the Poskim that discuss the many details of this Halacha and its applications, so it’s important to discuss with a Rav for Halacha L’ma’aseh, as with all matters of Halacha)

There is a dispute amongst the Poskim if thick vegetable soup on which the Bracha of “Borei pri Ha’Adama” is recited, is treated as a food or as a drink regarding Bracha Achrona. (See Mishna Berura Siman 210:1. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 75)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 30 2009

Thursday was Tisha B’Av when learning Torah was forbidden, so we emailed  some relevant halachos of Tisha B’Av (from here)  and not our current topic.

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH , JULY 31 2009

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) All foods eaten can be combined to arrive at the required Kzayis for a Bracha Achrona. Thus, for example if one eats a half a Kzayis of chicken and a half a Kzayis of corn, a Kzayis was eaten and a Bracha Achrona is required.

Likewise, drinks can be combined to arrive at a Revi’is, Thus, if one drank a half Revi’is of orange juice and a half Revi’is of water or soda, a Bracha Achrona is required.

2) However, food and drink cannot be combined. Thus, if one ate half a Kzayis of food and drank half a Revi’is of drink, no Bracha Achrona is required. (Mishna Berura Siman 210:1. See also Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 75 where he writes that one should avoid such a situation. See also Kovetz Tzohar (Yerushalayim 5760) page 232 where he quotes the Safek of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal that grape and wine as well as any fruit and its juice may possibly be combined to require a Bracha.)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) If the two foods/drinks that are being combined to necessitate a Bracha Achrona have 2 distinct Brachos Achronos (e.g. half a Kzayis of a Danish (which usually gets an Al HaMichya) and a half Kzayis of an apple (which usually gets a Borei Nefashos) the lesser Bracha Achrona is recited. (So in our example, a Borei Nefashos would be recited and exempt even the Danish) (Mishna Berura ibid. see also Sha’ar HaTzion 210:2 and Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 26:8)

2) Similarly, if one ate a small jelly donut, cheese Danish, apple strudel or similar pastry, where the amount of Mezonos was less than a Kzayis on its own, and it is only a Kzayis when calculating the jelly or cheese, the Bracha Achrona recited is Borei Nefashos. (Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Siman 91:4. This also applies if there was more than a Kzayis of the Mezonos, but it wasn’t eaten within Kdei Achilas Pras, 3-9 minutes, depending on various opinions)

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 2 2009

1)According to some Rishonim, one who eats a “complete” food item (referred to in Halacha as “Beriah”, creation, due to its being in the same state as it was when created) is required to recite a Bracha Achrona even if its size is less than a Kzayis, due to it being considered a prominent food.

Other Poskim disagree, and maintain that even complete food items do not require a Bracha Achrona if less than a Kzayis was consumed.

It is therefore best to be careful not to eat less than a Kzayis even when the food in question is a Beriah, as to avoid this Halachic Safek.

Alternatively, if less than a Kzayis will be eaten, the whole food should be broken or mashed before eating as to remove its status of a “whole food”. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 210:1, Mishna Berura Sif Katan 6 and Sha’ar HaTzion Os 21 and Shu”t RadVaz Vol. 1 Siman 402. See also Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Siman 91:5, Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 8 Siman 25:3 and Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 110 who discuss some other variables of what constitutes a Beriah)

2) Some common examples of “Beriah” foods that are smaller than a Kzayis include a whole grape or raisin, a small nut, a blueberry, a chick pea, a sardine and according to many Poskim even a whole segment of an orange or tangarine , a kernel of corn, a pomegranate seed, a sunflower seed (even though these are only segments  of a larger food, they are considered complete on their own) ( See Be’er Heitev  Siman 210:3. See also Mateh Ephraim Siman 600:7 regarding pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah.  See also Ohr L’Tzion 14:28 and Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 8 Siman 34:1 and 2)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 3 2009

1)In order for a Bracha Achrona to be required a Kzayis must be eaten within the required time frame known as “Kdei Achilas Pras” (Between 3 and 9 minutes depending on which Poskim we are relying on and what kind of food is in question. We will discuss this more at length in the near future iy”H)

If the Kzayis was eaten in more time than that, no Bracha Achrona may be said, as eating in such a manner is  not considered eating. (See Mishna Berura Siman 210:1, Shu”t MaHaram Shick Siman 263)

2) If one is unsure if the Kzayis was eaten in the appropriate time, no Bracha Achrona is made as Safek Brachos L’Hakel (Brachos are never recited in questionable situations, lest we say Hashem’s name in vain).

However, if possible to eat something else with the same Bracha Achrona, and have in mind to exempt the first item, that is proper to do. (See Shaarei Teshuva Siman 204:5)
The only exception to this Halacha may be when eating bread, as some Poskim rule that even if the Kzayis was eaten in more time than Kdei Achilas Pras, since it has satiated you, Birchas HaMazon is required. Other Poskim argue and maintain that even for bread an eating in the required time period is required. (See Mishna Berura 210:1, Sha’ar Hatzion 210:10, Ben Ish Chai Parshas Chukas Siman 12 and Parshas Masei Siman 7 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 1 Siman 76)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 2009

1)In regard to drinking, a Revi’is must be drunk within “Kdei Achilas Pras” in order to necessitate a Bracha Achrona. (Opinion of the Gaon of Vilna, quoted in Mishna Berura end of 210:1)

However, many Poskim are stringent and require the Revi’is to be drunk within the time it takes an average person  to drink a Revi’is (Kdei Sh’tias Revi’is) which is a much shorter time than “Kdei Achilas Pras”, in order to necessitate a Bracha Achrona on drinks. (See Mishna Berura ibid, Sha’ar Hatzion 210:12 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 202:8)

2) If one ate or drank the Kzayis of food/Revi’is of drink in more time than Kdei Achilas Pras (or Kdei Sh’tias Revi’is), even if there were no interruptions, and he/she was eating/drinking a whole time, no Bracha Achrona is required.

For example, one  who eats soup with a spoon, drinks a cola with a straw or eats a frozen ice-cream with a spoon, since it is usually not possible to drink enough of these items in the required time of K’dei Sh’tias Revi’is, even though no interruptions were made,  no Bracha Achrona is required. (Of course if enough was drunk in the required time, a Bracha Achrona is said. We will discuss hot coffee/tea tomorrow iy”H)

Of course, if an interruption was made and the Kzayis or Revi’is was only eaten over a longer time than Kdei  Achilas Pras/Kdei Sh’tias Revi’is, no Bracha Achrona is required. (See Mishna Berura Siman 612:6.)

 

 

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5 2009

1) WHEN ONE SIPS A HOT DRINK SUCH AS TEA OR COFFEE, OR A SHARP DRINK, SUCH AS WHISKEY, WHERE A  REVI’IS IS USUALLY NOT POSSIBLE TO DRINK IN THE TIME OF KDEI SH’TIAS REVI’IS, ACCORDING TO MANY POSKIM NO BRACHA ACHRONA IS RECITED (MISHNA BERURA SIMAN 210:1 AND B’ER HEITEV SIMAN 204:12, ARUCH HASHULCHAN SIMAN 202:7, CHAYEI ADAM KLAL 50:15, KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUCH SIMAN 51:66, KAF HACHAIM SIMAN 204:40, SHU”T YABIA OMER VOL. 5 SIMAN 18, AS WELL AS MANY OTHER POSKIM)

SOME POSKIM,HOWEVER, RULE THAT SINCE THIS IS THE NORMAL WAY FOR THESE DRINKS TO BE DRUNK, A BRACHA ACHRONA  MAY BE RECITED EVEN IF IT TOOK LONGER THAN KDEI SH’TIAS REVI’IS (BUT LESS THAN KDEI ACHILAS PRAS)  TO DRINK. (SEE BE’ER HEITEV IBID. SEE ALSO
SHU”T MAHARAM SHICK 85 AND SIMAN 263THAT THIS IS HOW THE CHASAM SOFER RULED, AND HOW THE CHASAM SOFER HIMSELF CONDUCTED HIMSELF. SEE ALSO MINCHAS CHINUCH MITZVAH 313. RAV SHMUEL WOSNER SHLITA ALSO RULES THIS WAY WHEN EATING FROZEN ICES ON A STICK, THAT ALTHOUGH IT ISN’T EATEN WITHIN THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF TIME, A BRACHA ACHRONA IS STILL REQUIRED. SEE SEFER SHAAREI HABRACHA PAGE 304)

2)SINCE THIS IS A HUGE MACHLOKES HAPOSKIM, AND IT IS HARD TO ESTABLISH THE HALACHA ANY ONE WAY, IT IS RECOMMENDED TO ALWAYS LEAVE OVER A REVI’IS AT THE END WHEN IT HAS COOLED, AND DRINK IT IN ONE GULP, THUS NECESSITATING A BRACHA ACHRONA ACCORDING TO ALL OPINIONS. THIS IS INDEED THE CUSTOM OF MANY SCRUPULOUS PEOPLE. (MISHNA BERURA SIMAN 210:1 AND ARUCH HASHULCHAN IBID. THIS WAS ALSO THE OPINION OF THE CHAZON ISH. SEE SHU”T TESHUVOS V’HANHAGOS VOL. 2 SIMAN 135)

 

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 2009

1)After eating a food item (other than bread) made from the 5 grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt), fruits of the Shivas HaMinim or  after drinking wine, the Bracha Achrona  known as “Me’Ein Shalosh” must be recited. It is more commonly referred to as “Al HaMichya…”

This Bracha is referred to as Me’Ein Shalosh, which literally means “Comparable to the three”, since  the text is based on the text of the three Brachos of Birchas HaMazon. (See Mishna Berura Siman 208:50 for a more detailed explanation)

2) There are Rishonim who maintain the Bracha of Me’Ein Shalosh is a biblical obligation, while others maintain that it is rabbinical. (See Mishna Berura Siman 209:10)

One who mistakenly recites Borei Nefashos after eating something that requires Me’Ein Shalosh has not satisfied their obligation even B’dieved and must still say the Me’Ein Shalosh.(Mishna Berura Siman 202:55)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, AUGUST 7 2009 (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) When reciting the Bracha Me’Ein Shalosh, it is required to specify what variety of food/drink was eaten/drunk.

2) Therefore, when Mezonos items (of the 5 grains) were eaten the words “Al HaMichya V’Al HaKalkala ” must be added in the beginning and the words “Al Ha’Aretz V’Al HaMichya (V’Al HaKalkala)” said at the end. (Some omit the last two words “V’Al HaKalkala”. See Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 208:52 and Kaf HaChaim 208:57. See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 51:8. Some have the custom to say those two words quietly, or even to say “Al Hakalkala isn’t said” or to say it as a question, “Al Hakalkala? “. However the Chazon Ish frowned upon this. See Sefer Mili D’Brachos Siman 35. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 75)

When wine was drunk, the words “Al HaGefen V’Al Pri HaGefen” must be added in the beginning and the words “Al Ha’Aretz V’Al Pri HaGefen” said at the end. (Mishna Berura Siman 208:56 and Aruch HaShulchan 208:6. See also Biur HaGra 208:11 who maintains that the ending for wine is the same as fruits. Even the Mishna Berura agrees to this ruling for B’dieved.)

If fruits of the Shivas Haminim were eaten, the words “Al Ha’Eitz V’Al Pri Ha’Eitz” must be added in the beginning and the words “Al Ha’Aretz V’Al Hapeiros” said at the end. (Mishna Berura Siman 208:50)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) If the fruits of the Shivas Haminim that were eaten were grown in Eretz Yisroel (even if they are being eaten in Chutz L’Aretz)  the ending of the Bracha is changed to “Al Ha’Aretz V’Al Peiroseha”(meaning Eretz Yisroel’s fruits, and not simply regular fruit) (Mishna Berura Siman 208:54)

The same applies to wine that was pressed from grapes that were grown in Eretz Yisroel; the ending is changed to “Al Ha’Aretz V’Al Pri Gafnah” (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 208:58 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 7 Siman 30. However, some Poskim do not agree to this. See Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman 55 and Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 60:5)

2) If one isn’t sure where the fruits were grown (even if they are being eaten in Eretz Yisroel), the standard text is used. (Mishna Berura Siman 208:54)

 

 

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 2009

1) When eating a combination of Mezonos (of the 5 grains) and/or fruits of the Shivas HaMinim and/or wine, the Bracha Me’Ein Shalosh is recited afterwards and all the applicable foods that were eaten are mentioned, in the order of their prominence.

Thus when all 3 varieties were eaten the words “Al HaMichya, V’Al HaGefen, V’Al Ha’Eitz ” are added to the beginning of the Bracha as well as to the end. (Mishna Berura Siman 208:60)

2) If one inadvertently forget to mention one of the items eaten in the opening of Me’Ein Shalosh, if the Bracha was not yet finished he/she should go back and mention the forgotten items, and continue and finish the Bracha. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 3 Siman 18)

B’dieved, if the items eaten were only mentioned in the conclusion of the Bracha, it is acceptable and the Bracha doesn’t need to be repeated, as the main part of the Bracha is the conclusion. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi ibid, Shu”t Igros Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 72 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 20)

However, if one or more of the varieties of food eaten was omitted in the conclusion of the Bracha, the entire Bracha Achrona must be repeated. When repeating the Bracha Achrona, only the foods omitted should now be mentioned in the repetition. (See Mishna Berura Siman 59:4. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 208:76 and Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 105, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 19 Siman8:2 and  Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 147.We will discuss some more details and some exceptions to this Halacha over  the next few days iy”H.)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 10 2009

1) One who drinks wine and eats fruits of the Shivas HaMinim is required to mention both the wine and the fruits in the Me’Ein Shalosh, as we mentioned earlier.

However, if only the fruits were mentioned, there is no need to repeat the Me’Ein Shalosh for the wine, as B’dieved wine is included in  “fruit”. (Mishna Berura Siman 208:61)

One who eats fruits from the Shivas HaMinim and also regular fruits(apples, oranges, pears etc.) recites the Me’Ein Shalosh  adding V’Al Ha’Eitz, and this exempts all the fruits eaten, and no Borei Nefashos is needed (even though usually on regular fruits that is what is recited)

The above is only for fruits and does not work for fruit juice, as “Al Ha’Eitz” won’t work for juice, and a separate Borei Nefashos is required.  According to some Poskim, in this case, the Borei Nefashos on the juice should be recited first, before the Al Ha’Eitz.(Mishna Berura Siman 208:62 and 63. See also Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14:24)

2) If non Shivas HaMinim fruits are eaten and wine is drunk, the “Al HaGefen” on the wine does not exempt the other fruits, and a separate Borei Nefashos is required on the fruits. Here too, the Borei Nefashos should be recited first before the Al Hagefen (Mishna Berura Siman 208:64. See Kaf HaChaim 208:73)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 11 2009

1) Just as when one recites Borei Pri HaGafen on wine it exempts all other drinks, so too when one drinks [a Revi'is of] wine and also other drinks, no Borei Nefashos is required on the drinks, as the Al HaGefen on the wine  will exempt all the drinks. (See Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 208:70)

2) When reciting the Bracha of Me’Ein Shalosh on Shabbos and on Yom Tov, the special day should be mentioned in the Bracha. (“U’Retzei V’Hachlitzeinu B’Yom HaShabbos HaZeh” on Shabbos, “V’Samcheinu B’Yom Chag…Hazeh” on Yom Tov, “V’Zachreinu L’Tova B’Yom Rosh HaChodesh Hazeh” on Rosh Chodesh and “V’Zachreinu L’Tova B’Yom Hazikaron Hazeh” on Rosh Hashana)

However, if this mention was omitted, B’dieved it is acceptable and there is no need to repeat the Bracha Achrona. (Mishna Berura Siman 208: 57and 58. See Sha’ar Hatzion 208:60 for the reasoning behind this)

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12 2009

Introduction to the Halachos of “Ikar and Tafel”, a complicated topic which we will try to cover as best as we can. Obviously, it will be impossible for us to cover every intricate detail of this topic, so if there are any details that need further explanation please feel free to contact me and I will try my best to clarify. For Halacha L’Ma’aseh, as always, a Rav should be consulted.

The Mishna (Brachos 44a) teaches us a rule that whenever  2 food items are eaten, if one of the items is  secondary to the other, the Bracha is only recited on the main food and it exempts the secondary food even if its Bracha is different. This is referred to in Halacha as “Ikar” (the main food) and “Tafel” (The secondary food) (See Shulchan Aruch beginning of Siman 212. Regarding the mechanics of how and why this works which is a subject of debate amongst the Poskim, see Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 27:9, Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 42, Shu”t L’Horos Noson Vol. 4 Siman 10, Shu”t Avnei Nezer Siman 38:13 and Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 3 Siman 69)

The above is determined based on whether it is accepted by most average people in the society that one belongs to eat the two items together, and not by taking two distinct food items which aren’t usually eaten together and saying “I want this to be secondary to that”, as being a secondary food is not decided by each individual person. Of course if the second food is “totally secondary” (Tafel Gamur) and indistinguishable, and is actually part of the first food, then it won’t be dependent on society. We will discuss this all at length iy”H over the next few days”. (See Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 1 Siman 66)

1)When  reciting a Bracha on the Ikar, no special Kavanah is needed to exempt the Tafel, as anything that is totally secondary is exempt from the Bracha automatically. (See Pri Megadim Mishbetzos Zahav 212:3 where he discusses if it is possible to specifically have in mind that the Bracha on the Ikar NOT work for the Tafel.)

However, if the Tafel is being eaten to enhance the Ikar, but is not mixed into the Ikar and isn’t necessarily eaten at once with the Ikar, then only with the following conditions is it exempt with the Bracha of the Ikar:

a)The Tafel is in front of you at the time of the Bracha

b)When reciting the Bracha on the Ikar you had in mind to eat the Tafel

c)It is usual to eat these 2 foods together.

d)You were Kovea Seuda (intended to eat a meal) with the Ikar, which isn’t possible with drinks and fruits  (See Mishna Berura Siman 212:4 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 212:10 and 206:9)

2) If after eating the Ikar one left the location and only ate the Tafel in a new location, a new Bracha is required on the Tafel (unless the Ikar is something that requires going back to the original location for Birchas HaMazon or Al HaMichya) (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 212:11, Mishna Berura ibid, Kaf HaChaim 212:13 and Chazon Ish Orach Chaim Siman 27:9)

Likewise, if one made an interruption between the two foods, and his/her  mind was not on the eating anymore (Hesech HaDa’as) a new Bracha is required on the Tafel. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 179:2)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 13 2009

1) Just as the Bracha Rishona of the Ikar exempts the Tafel, so too the Bracha Achrona on the Ikar exempts the Tafel. (Thus when eating cheerios and milk, only Mezonos is recited and not Shehakol and only Al HaMichya is recited and no Borei Nefashos)

If less than a Kzayis of the Ikar was eaten, the Tafel can be combined to calculate the Kzayis and necessitate a Bracha Achrona on the Ikar. (Kaf HaChaim 212:2)

2) The Bracha on the Ikar only exempts the Tafel if it is eaten together with, or soon after the Ikar.

However, if the Tafel is eaten first, it does not get exempted retroactively when the Bracha on the Ikar will be recited, and requires its own Bracha. This is true even if only a small amount of the Tafel is eaten.

L’Chatchilah it is best to refrain from eating the Tafel until after the Ikar is tasted, as to avoid needing  a separate Bracha on the Tafel (Mishna Berura Siman 212:9 and 10 and Kaf HaChaim 212:11)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, AUGUST 14 2009

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1)When eating an Ikar and a Tafel, even if the Tafel is more enjoyable to you than the Ikar, the fact that it is being eaten together with, or immediately after the Ikar for the purpose of the Ikar, makes it retain its status a s a Tafel and no Bracha is recited on it. (Mishna Berura Siman 212:5. The Gaon of Vilna does not necessarily concur with this ruling. See also Taz 212:3)

2) When eating an Ikar and a Tafel, even after the Ikar has been totally consumed, and all that is left is the Tafel, still the Tafel may be finished without a Bracha, as it retains its status as a Tafel.

Thus for example, when eating Cheerios and milk, when all the cheerios are finished, the milk may be drunk on its own without any Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:46 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 212:1-5. See also Orchos Rabbeinu page 81where they bring a story about the Steipler Zatzal who once ate a cookie dipped in tea, making a Bracha on the cookie and eating the cookie with a spoon. When the cookie was finished, he drank the rest of the tea without a Bracha and when he was done just recited Al Hamichya)

However, if after the Tafel was finished, one wanted more of the Tafel food, the new item needs a Bracha. Thus, if after the Cheerios and the milk were finished, you added more plain milk into the bowl, a SheHakol would be required. (See Sefer Birchas Yisroel Perek 3 S”K 215)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1) If one is in doubt which of the two foods he/she is about to eat is the Ikar and which is the Tafel, they should be separated and individual Brachos recited on each item.

The above solution would only work for 2 distinct items which can and are eaten separately often ( such as apples and peanut butter or potato Latkes and apple sauce)

However, in the case of a mixture  of two items where one of the items is clearly the main item (such as yogurt with pieces of fruit, where clearly the person eating it was in the mood of a yogurt, and not in the mood of some fruit) the items may not be separated and 2 Brachos recited, as doing so would constitute a Bracha Sh’Aina Tzericha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:43. See Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 100 that perhaps on Shabbos it would be permissible to separate them, in order to reach 100 Brachos.)

2) If one only wants to eat the Tafel, of course  it requires its own Bracha.

Similarly, if one wants to eat the Tafel now, and the Ikar later on, the Tafel requires its own Bracha. Thus in the case of the yogurt, if you are eating the fruit now, and you plan to finish the yogurt much later, the fruit would indeed require a Ha’Eitz. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:46 and Aruch HaShulchan 212:2.)

However, the Poskim debate how much time must elapse between the fruit and the yogurt to be considered “later”. Therefore, if they will be eaten very close together it is best to make a Bracha on the Yogurt  and eat a little first, or alternatively to make a Bracha on a different fruit and have  in mind to exempt the fruit in the yogurt. (See Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 58:10)
 

Halachos For Sunday, August 16 2009
 

1) To determine which food in a mixture of two foods is the Ikar, there are a few guidelines:

If one of the food items is more Chashuv (prominent) it gets the status of Ikar even if  in quantity there is less of that food in the mixture. Thus when eating  a mixture of  pecans and peanuts, since pecans are a more Chashuv  item, even if there are more peanuts in the mixture, Ha’aitz is recited on the entire mixture. (Mishna Berura Siman 212:1)

2) If both items are of equal prominence, the Bracha is recited over the one whose quantity is larger. Thus when eating a fruit salad,  if the majority is Ha’aitz (e.g. peaches, apples, mangoes) that is the proper Bracha to recite. If the majority is Ha’Adama (e.g. watermelon, bananas, and cantaloupe) then that is the proper Bracha to recite. (This Halacha does not always apply to Mezonos items, and there are opinions that maintain that when the pieces are large and distinct, two Brachos will be needed, the details of which we will discuss in the near future iy”H) (Mishna Berura ibid. and Siman 204:57)

To determine which item is the majority, there is no need to measure, rather whatever seems to the naked eye to be the majority becomes the Ikar. (See Sefer Shaarei HaBracha Chapter 15: footnote 21)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 17 2009

1)Two distinct food items that are near each other on a plate, and are not mixed, such as a piece of chicken and a serving of potatoes, or large slices of cantaloupe, watermelon, mango  etc.,  are not considered a mixture, even if eaten together, and each one requires its own distinct Bracha. (See Sha’ar HaTzion 212:20.)

When eating a mixture of meat and rice (which were cooked separately) even if the gravy of the meat was poured over the rice, it is not considered a mixture, and each one requires its distinct Bracha. (Shu”t Be’er Moshe Viol. 5 Siman 63. See also Aruch HaShulchan Siman 212:2)

2) When eating cheerios, corn flakes or any other non Shehakol breakfast cereal and milk in the regular fashion, the milk is Tafel to the cereal and no Bracha is recited on the milk, as we discussed  a few days ago.

However,I just wanted to add (after receiving a few questions about this) that  if more milk than usual was poured into the bowl, making it evident that the milk is wanted as a drink on its own, then a separate Shehakol is required on the milk. (See Shu”t Igros Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 43 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 53)

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 2009

1)A food mixture that has in it grain from the five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats) has different Halachos than other food mixtures that we have been discussing until now.

The reason for this is that  these 5 grains, due to their prominence (Chashivus), do not become a Tafel to any other food in the mixture, and even if the grain is only  the minority of the mixture, it is considered the Ikar and Mezonos is recited and the rest of the mixture is exempted from any further Brachos. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 208:2. See also Mishna Berura Siman 212:1)

2) The above Halacha only applies if the grain is there as part of the food (i.e. to lend taste). However, if the grain is there to serve a different purpose, such as to help the texture, to color the food, to lend a smell to the food or similar non taste purpose, it does not assume the status of Ikar as in this case it does not have the prominence of grain and is subordinate to the other ingredients. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 204:12 and 208:2)

We will discuss some more details and give some practical examples of this tomorrow iy”H.

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19 2009

1)When eating Cholent that is a mixture made up of small pieces of potatoes, beans, meat and barley, the Bracha recited is Mezonos as all the ingredients are Tafel to the barley. (See Mishna Berura Siman 208:48 and Aruch HaShulchan Siman 212:1)

However, if the potatoes or meat are very large chunks that are easily noticeable, according to many Poskim they will not be considered part of the mixture and will require their own Bracha. (See Sefer Keitzad Mevorchim page 38. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman146 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 56)

2) It isn’t always easy to determine if the pieces are small enough to be considered one mixture or if they may be large enough to require their own Brachos.

Therefore, when  reciting a Bracha on the cholent, it is proper to mash together and eat a little of every variety that is in the Cholent immediately after the Bracha to make it evident that you are eating it as a mixture and not as individual food items. (See Sefer Sha’rei Bracha Perek 15footnote 36 for a lengthy discussion about this, which is beyond the scope of this forum)

Obviously, when mashing the cholent on Shabbos (or when mashing any food items on Shabbos) care must be taken to do it properly to avoid transgressing the Melacha of Tochen as detailed in Shulchan Aruch Siman 321

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 20 2009

1)A food item [other than one from the five grains] that is eaten together with another food item for the purpose of serving and/or improving the food item, such as spices for taste, preservatives, food coloring, food decoration, food aroma etc., does not have its own value (Chashivus) and is subordinate to the food it is serving, and thus will be a Tafel to it and not require its own Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:57)

Some common examples of this:

  • Slices of olives that are placed on a eggplant spread as a garnish…the olive is a Tafel.

  • Lettuce leaves served with a piece of salmon for decoration….the lettuce is a Tafel.

  • Onions that are mixed in with herring for flavor…the onions are a Tafel

  • Cherries that are placed on top of pastries for elegance…the cherries are a Tafel.

  • Blueberries that are placed on top of a piece of melon for décor…the blueberries are a Tafel.

  • Apples that are dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah for a sweet new year…the honey is a Tafel (See Mogen Avraham Siman 583:1 and Mishna Berura 583:3)

The above applies even if the secondary foods were eaten on their own [after the initial food was already tasted], and not actually together with the main food. (See Mishna Berura Siman 205:4)

2) Of course, in all of the above scenarios if the secondary food is being eaten specifically for its own value (e.g.  You enjoy the onions in the herring and tend to eat them alone or similar scenario) then a separate Bracha would be required on the second item as well. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 64:42. See also Sefer V’Zos HaBracha Perek 11)

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH , AUGUST 21 2009   (DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

1) A food item which is used in the preparation of  the main  food item, is subordinate to the  main food item.

Thus when cooking food in water, even if the water is the majority it remains a Tafel to the food being cooked in it, and no separate Bracha is recited when drinking the water.

The same applies to wine or any other liquid which is used to cook another food in it, the liquid is a Tafel. (Mishna Berura Siman 205:9-13)

2) Pieces of Chocolate that have nuts in them, or juice that has small pieces of fruits in it, the nuts/pieces of fruit are Tafel to the chocolate/juice, as they are only there to improve the taste of the chocolate/juice. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 212:8 and Pri Megadim Mishbetzos Zahav Siman 202:14)

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

1)A food  item that is covered with a different food item, if the outer item has no importance on its own and the food isn’t referred to by the name of the outside item, it is Tafel to the food that is inside, and  only the Bracha of the inside item is recited.

Conversely, if the outer food does have importance on its own and is often eaten specifically because of the outside, then it does indeed require a separate Bracha, and in many cases can exempt the inside food.

For example: Almonds, peanuts, chocolate etc. that have some sort of sugared confection covering on it which is there to improve the taste of the nut/chocolate, since the main food that is desired is the nut or the chocolate, no separate Bracha is needed on the topping. (See Mishna Berura Siman 204:51. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 1 Siman 7 and Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 3 Siman 31)

However, for chocolate covered peanuts, or a similar item, where the more important food is the covering, a Bracha is recited on the chocolate and it exempts the peanut that’s inside. (see Ben Ish Chai Parshas Pinchas Siman 15 and Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14:64)

2) Peanuts that are covered with a thick dough (commonly referred to in Hebrew as Kabukim), according to some Poskim, since it is a very thick dough, it will retain its status of being a second food in the mixture and not just a covering to the peanut, and since it is Mezonos it will always be the Ikar, and thus Mezonos will be recited when eating these Kabukim. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal quoted in Sefer V’Zos HaBracha. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 4 Siman 161)

Others disagree and maintain that despite its thickness, its only purpose is to serve the peanut and thus it does not have a status of an Ikar, and Ha’Adama is recited.

The best thing, therefore, in situations of doubt is to recite Mezonos on something else and have in mind to exempt the dough part, and recite Ha’Adama and something else and have in mind to exempt the peanut.

HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY , AUGUST 23 2009

1) When eating food items that are stuffed with other food items, such as stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, chicken with rice stuffing and similar dishes, one must determine which of the two items the Ikar is, and that Bracha will exempt the other item. (See Shu”T Az Nidberu Vol. 13 Siman 36 who maintains that the inside food is always the Ikar. Many Poskim argue on him. See Shu”t Imrei Mordechai Siman 7 and Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 63)

Obviously, if the stuffing is comprised of ingredients of the 5 grains, then in most cases that Mezonos would assume the status of Ikar, as we learned a few days ago.

2) If one cannot determine which of the 2 is the Ikar, and it is also hard with these items to determine which of the two items is the majority (for example he/she enjoys the cabbage just as much as the meat inside) the two items should be separated and a separate Bracha made on each of the parts. (And when doing so due to a valid Safek, there is no problem of Bracha SheAina Tzericha) (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 212:1)

HALACHOS FOR MONDAY , AUGUST 24 2009

1)A secondary food which is only eaten in order to make the main food more enjoyable, becomes a Tafel to the main food and no separate Bracha is required, even if they are not eaten together.

For example, one who is eating meat and along with the meat is eating some salad or cooked carrots or peas, the salad/carrots and peas are a Tafel to the meat and only Shehakol on the meat is recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 205:4. See also Sefer V’Zos HaBracha Perek 11, quoting the Aruch HaShulchan 177:10)

Another example (which my Israeli readers will recognize more than their American counterparts) is the “pickle” eaten together with, or immediately after,  a slice of “Yerushalmi Kugel”, where the pickle is eaten to enhance the taste of the Kugel, in which case only a Bracha on the Kugel is recited and the pickle will be  considered a Tafel and no Bracha on it is recited. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa Perek 54: footnote 67)

Another common example is a slice of lemon that is added to a tea or to a glass of cola, where only Shehakol is recited and no Bracha is recited on the lemon, if eaten, as it is a Tafel to the drink. (Psak of Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal)

2) In all the aforementioned examples, if the secondary food is enjoyed as its own food, and the person eating it lends it prominence, it loses the Tafel status and a separate Bracha will be required.

HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY , AUGUST 25 2009

1) Ice cream in a [non sugared] cone which  serves as a cup with which to hold the ice cream  is subordinate to the ice cream and does not require its own Bracha. (See Shu”t B’Tzel HaChachma Vol. 3 Siman 114, Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 58:10. See also Kobetz M’Bais Levi Vol. 2 page 142 quoting Rav Shmuel Wosner Shlita. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 61 and Shu” t Rivevos Efraim Vol. 2 Siman 77)

Even if after the ice cream was finished, a little of the cone remained, it may be eaten without any additional Bracha, as it retains its status as a Tafel. (see Shu”t B’Tzel HaChachma ibid.)

However, for a sugared cone, or a cone with chocolate on it, or any other cone which is enjoyed for itself and isn’t just used as a way to hold the ice cream, according to  a majority of Poskim  a Mezonos must be recited on a piece of the cone and then Shehakol recited on the ice cream.

Likewise, an “ice cream sandwich” which is comprised of two tasty biscuits with ice cream in the middle, requires two Brachos (first Mezonos on a piece of the biscuit and then Shehakol on some of the ice cream), as each of the components is enjoyed by itself and isn’t subordinate to the other. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168″45 and Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 43)

2) A cheese Danish, which is a majority cheese and is fully surrounded by a thin, good tasting, dough, according to some Poskim requires two distinct Brachos, Mezonos on the dough and Shehakol on the cheese, as since it’s the main part it doesn’t become a Tafel to the dough. (If the cheese is the minority, then of course only Mezonos is required)

However, many Poskim maintain that even if the cheese is the majority (and the main reason it is being eaten) still, it only requires a Mezonos, as the cheese is Tafel to the dough.  This is the prevalent custom of many people. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168: 27 and 45, Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 7 Siman 27:6. See also Shu”t Igros Moshe ibid and Ohr L’Tzion Chapter 14:19 and 20)

If one wants to be stringent in this case and break off a piece of the dough and recite a Mezonos first, then take some of the cheese and recite a Shehakol, this may be done.

HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY , AUGUST 26 2009

1) One who eats or drinks something that is extremely spicy, sharp  or salty, and immediately afterwards eats/drinks something sweet to tame the sharpness/saltiness of the first food, since the second food has no self Chashivus due to its being eaten to serve the first food, it is considered a Tafel and no separate Bracha is required on it. (Mishna Berura Siman 212:4 and 5)

If one is drinking a sharp drink, such as whiskey, and eats [a small amount of] bread immediately afterwards, as a way to tone down the sharpness of the whiskey, the bread has the status of a Tafel and does not require a separate Bracha. (Mishna Berura ibid. See also Sha’ar Hatzion 212:9 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 212:5. See also Aruch HaShulchan 212:5)

[ In the above case where the bread is being eaten as a Tafel, there is a dispute amongst the Poskim if washing the hands for Netilas Yadayim is required. Therefore, it is best to wash but not recite a Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 158:10. Regarding Birchas Hamazon in such a case, see Kaf HaChaim Siman 212:3 and Shu"t Hisorerus Teshuva Vol. 2 Siman 105)]

2) This is true in a reverse case as well, when one eats something very sweet or oily and afterwards eats something spicy or drinks a little whiskey to wash it down, the sharp food/drink will be a Tafel to the original food, even if the second food happens to be enjoyed for itself, as in this case it is serving the first food. (See Sha’ar HaTzion Siman 174:46)

Obviously, if the second food is being eaten specifically for its own enjoyment and if a lot of it is being eaten (more than is necessary to tone down the taste of the first food) then it will not be considered a Tafel and require its own Bracha. This is especially true for bread. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 212:5 that it is very hard to determine how much bread would be considered a small amount. See also Sefer Shulchan HaTahor Siman 69)

HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY , AUGUST 27 2009

1)When eating two foods at the same time, but each one is independent of the other, even if it is customary to eat together, they are each considered Chashuv on their own and two Brachos are required.

For example, one who sits down to a cup of tea or milk  and a cookie, is equally interested in both the tea/milk and the cookie and therefore must recite a Mezonos on the cookie [first]  and then  a SheHakol on the tea or milk. (Mishna Berura Siman 212:5. See also Chayei Adam Klal 56:62, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 54:64. Also see Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 13 Siman 27 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 5 Siman 17)

If one dips a cookie (or a piece of cake, a biscuit etc.) into  his/her coffee or milk  to moisten it, the drink is considered a Tafel to the cookie, and only Mezonos is recited on the cookie. (We are not discussing now the Halachos of whether doing this will necessitate Netilas Yadayim due to dipping a food in a drink, Tibul B’Mashkeh)

2) The same is true in a reverse case, if one is drinking a sharp drink (whiskey etc.) and  dips in a piece of bread, cake or a cracker, and eats it while it is saturated in the drink, the cake becomes a Tafel to the drink and only SheHakol is recited. (However, according to some Poskim, a little bit of the whiskey should be drunk first after reciting SheHakol and only then can the rest be dipped in the bread/cracker and not require additional Brachos) (See Mishna Berura ibid. and Siman 168:65 and Mogen Avraham 212:3. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 168:21 and 212:2-4 for some other conditions of this Halacha)

Of course, if one’s intention is to enjoy the cookie and the tea or the cake and the whiskey equally, two separate Brachos are required. (See Mishna Berura Siman 168:65 and Sha’ar Hatzion 168:67)

Halachos For Erev Shabbos, August 28 2009 (Double Portion L’Kavod shabbos Kodesh)
Note: On Sunday, we will B’Ezras Hashem begin a new topic.
For today’s Halachos, I  will share with you some interesting Questions and Answers from HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita on various topics related to Hilchos Brachos, as they are printed in the Sefer  Brachos K’Hilchasan, written by Rav Yair Yissochor Yanai Shlita, a Talmid Chacham from Bnei Brak.

HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH

Q: What Bracha are Rice Cakes, which are not cooked, rather they are manufactured via a heat process which causes the rice to puff up and stick together. Are they considered cooked and thus Mezonos or are they considered raw rice, and thus their Bracha would be Ha’Adama?

A: My father in law (Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita) ruled that they are Mezonos.

Q: The Poskim debate whether the correct Bracha to recite on Orange peels is Ha’aitz, Ha’Adama or SheHakol. The Mishna Berura  (Siman 202:39)rules that due to the Safek, a Shehakol should be said.
What about when eating peels  which are more edible than orange peels, such as eating apple peels or pear peels, what Bracha should be recited?

A: It seems to me  that Borei Pri Ha’Eitz should be recited.

Q: Did the Chazon Ish Zatzal and [your father] the Steipler Zatzal recite a Bracha on Kompote (cooked fruit dessert) eaten at the end of a meal?

A: Yes

Q: Ice cream that is eaten at the end of a meal, if it is very liquid and is like a drink, is a Bracha required?

A: Yes, since it isn’t considered  a food that is being eaten as part of the meal. [and retains its status as a food even if it is liquidy]

HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH

Q: When one eats two foods and he isn’t certain which of the two is an Ikar and which is the Tafel, or in a case when one cannot determine which of the two foods is the majority, which one should he recite the Bracha over?

A: Whenever there is a Safek, we rule Safek Brachos L’Hakel , so a Bracha can only be recited on an item that is for certain an Ikar. Therefore, it’s better to separate a piece from both foods and to recite separate Brachos.

Q: How many minutes is considered “Kdei Achilas Pras”, for purposes of being able to recite a Bracha Achrona?

A: This is a Machlokes HaPoskim. Some say 3 minutes and some say up to 9 minutes. For Brachos we are stringent.

Q: The Mishna Berura (Siman 184) writes that at long meals we have to be careful not to allow 72 minutes to pass between eating and Bracha Achrona. However, if something was eaten within the 72 minutes, you have an additional 72 minutes from the new eating.

Q: Is this only if something was eaten? Or is drinking ok as well for this?

A: Drinking works too. Even water, could be that it works.

Q: What is the digestive time for drinks (besides wine) after which a Bracha Achrona cannot be made anymore?

A: The rule is, as long as he isn’t thirsty again, he can recite Bracha Achrona. This can sometimes be less than 72 minutes and sometimes, more.

Q: One who eats half a Kzayis of Mezonos (which usually requires an Al HaMichya afterwards) and half a Kzayis of a fruit of the Shivas HaMinim (which usually requires an Al Ha’aitz afterwards), which Bracha Achrona should be recited?

A: I would say to recite Borei Nefashos.