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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Eikev

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.


You will eat and you will be satisfied and bless Hashem... (8:10)

AMOUNTS OF FOOD THAT REQUIRE BLESSINGS

BREAD:

Washing hands is required before eating at least 1.1 oz. of bread, and is strongly recommended when any amount of bread is eaten (1).

Al Netilas Yadayim is recited when washing for at least 2.2 oz. of bread (2). Some poskim (3) hold that a blessing may be recited even for 1.1. oz., and one may follow this view (4).

Hamotzi is recited for any amount of bread (5).

Birkas ha-Mazon is recited after eating 1.1 oz. (6) of bread within a time-span of no longer than 3-4 minutes (7). One who is unsure whether or not he ate this amount of bread should not recite Birkas ha-Mazon (8).

NOTE: When measuring amounts of bread [and cake], small air bubbles are included in the measurements (9), while large ones are not (10). Note also that the amounts are measured by volume, not by weight (11).

BAKED GOODS:

Mezonos is recited for any amount.

Al Hamichyah is recited for 1.1 oz. eaten within a time-span of no longer than 3-4 minutes (12).

Since the basic halachah is that the 1.1 oz. must be composed entirely of flour--the other ingredients do not count towards the 1.1 oz. minimum--one should adhere to the basic halachah (13). Many people, however, are not precise in ascertaining the amount of flour they have eaten, and some poskim find a source for their practice (14) if at least the majority (.6 oz.) of the mixture is pure flour (15).

Washing hands, reciting Al netilas yadayim and reciting Birkas ha-Mazon are required when eating an amount of cake (16) that constitutes kevius seudah, i.e., an amount of mezonos that has the halachic status of eating a regular meal (as opposed to a snack). When one eats such a substantial amount of cake, we treat the cake as a substitute for bread.

There are several opinions as to the amount of cake which is necessary for kevius seudah. Some poskim rule that 8.8 oz. of cake is an amount which may be considered as a standard kevius seudah. Ideally, one should avoid eating this amount of cake so as not to enter into a halachically gray area (17). In practice, however, Al netilas yadayim and Birkas ha-Mazon are not recited (18) unless one eats an amount of cake equal to the amount of bread he would eat at a main meal, which is about two rolls or five pieces of bread, or about 18-20 oz. of cake. This is a very rough estimate (19) and the actual amount varies according to the differences in eating habits between men and women (20), different age groups (21) and different locales (22).

Another disagreement among the poskim is how to calculate the amount of cake necessary for kevius seudah when cake is eaten together with other foods at the same sitting.

Some hold that the entire amount must be composed of the cake (23) itself. Other foods eaten at the same sitting do not count (24).

Some hold that other foods eaten at the same sitting do count--but only if a minimum of 8.8. oz. of cake is eaten. The other foods are counted towards the larger amount required for kevius seudah mentioned earlier (25).

Some hold that other foods, like chopped liver or tuna fish, eaten along with mezonos items that are bread substitutes, like crackers, bread sticks or egg matzah, are also included in the amount for kevius seudah. But pastries etc., which are eaten before or after the other foods, do not combine with the other foods to form a kevius seudah (26).

Some hold that all foods eaten at the same sitting, whether eaten with the cake or not, are counted towards the amount for kevius seudah (27). According to this opinion, even a small amount of cake eaten at a kiddush or buffet dinner will combine with the other foods to form a kevius seudah.

LIQUIDS:

Shehakol [and Borei pri hagafen] is recited before drinking any amount.

Borei Nefashos [and Al hagefen] is recited only after drinking at least 3.3. oz. L'chatchilah, one should not drink an amount between 1.1 oz. and 3.3 oz., since there are poskim who require a berachah achronah for that amount (28).

Many poskim hold that the 3.3. oz. must be consumed within shiur shesias reviis (29), which is a very short time period (30). L'chatchilah, therefore, the amount required should be drunk in one or two sips. One who failed to do so, e.g., when drinking hot tea or coffee, should not recite Borei nefashos unless he leaves over 3.3 oz. to cool off and drink within a few seconds (31).

FROZEN OR GELLED FOODS:

We have seen that there are two basic differences between solid food and liquid regarding their blessings;

  1. The minimum amount of solid food that requires a berachah acharonah is 1.1 oz, while the minimum amount of liquid that requires a berachah acharonah is 3.3 oz;
  2. Food may be consumed within a time span of up to 4 minutes, while liquids must be drunk within a very short time period.

There is a debate among the poskim (32) about how to classify foods which are solid but do not need to be chewed in order to be swallowed, such as ice cream, frozen yogurt and ices. Contemporary poskim, too, are hesitant (33) and divided on this issue. Some rule that these items are considered as foods, since at the time of consumption they are solid (34). Accordingly, as long as 1.1 oz. is consumed within a time-span of up to 3-4 minutes, the correct berachah achronah is recited.

Other poskim, however, consider these items as liquids. Since they will melt in the mouth without chewing, they cannot be classified as foods (35). Accordingly, unless 3.3 oz. of the item is consumed within a very short time period, no berachah acharonah is recited (36).

Some authorities differentiate between ices, which is frozen water and therefore more of a drink than a food, and ice cream, which contains ingredients which are food (37).

Several poskim (38) make a distinction between the amount of frozen and gelled food which necessitates a berachah acharonah and the time in which it must be consumed. According to this opinion, we view these items as solid food in determining the amount necessary for a berachah acharonah; thus, 1.1 oz. will suffice. Concerning the time-span within which they must be consumed, however, we view frozen and gelled foods as drinks. Accordingly, if 1.1. oz. was consumed within a short time period, a berachah acharonah is recited.

All poskim agree (39), however, that food which is not in solid form at the time of consumption, such as "liquidy" leben, is considered a drink and a berachah acharonah should not be recited unless 3.3. oz. are consumed within a very short time period, which is not the rate at which such foods are commonly consumed.



FOOTNOTES

1 Mishnah Berurah 158:10.

2 Mishnah Berurah 158:9.

3 Gr"a quoted in Sha'ar ha-Tziyon 9.

4 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:41; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 15 and pg. 255).

5 Shulchan Aruch Harav 168:7.

6 O.C. 184:6. This is a rabbinical obligation. Biblically, one does not recite Birkas Hamazon unless he has eaten a meal which satiates him.

7 The exact amount of time is in dispute, so l'chatchillah three minutes should be the limit. B'dieved, however, there are many poskim who consider four minutes the proper time-span.

8 Mishnah Berurah 184:15. It is proper, however, to wash and eat more bread so that Birkas Hamazon can be recited--ibid.

9 Sha'ar ha-Tziyon 486:7; Chazon Ish Uktzin 3:7.

10 Mishnah Berurah 210:1, as explained by Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 46, 184 and 257). See Shoneh Halachos 486:4.

11 See Shiurei Torah (Harav A.C. Na'eh) 1:1.

12 O.C. 208:9.

13 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:71 and E.H. 1:114; Divrei Yoel 1:13; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 46). This is also the ruling of the Brisker Rav (quoted in Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 1:132).

14 Mishnah Berurah 208:48; Chazon Ish O.C. 26:8.

15 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesain Berachah, pg. 530); Yalkut Yosef 3:491.

16 Or other baked goods which have "bread-like" properties and appearance, such as thick crackers, pretzels, Cheerios, etc. Spaghetti, blintzes, farfel and other mezonos items which do not resemble bread at all are not included.

17 Mishnah Berurah 168:24.

18 But one who feels satiated from this amount, may recite Birkas ha-Mazon--Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesain Berachah, vol. 2, Hebrew section, pg. 10).

19 There are many factors and many views which must be taken into account when calculating this amount. See Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 28-36 and pg. 193-199 for a lengthy explanation of this very difficult subject. See also The Laws of Berachos, pg. 250-251.

20 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesain Berachah, pg. 488) rules that women and girls who eat less then men have a smaller shiur of kevius seudah.

21 Beiur Halachah 168:6, who rules that children and elderly people's kevius seudah varies according to their eating habits. =

22 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:32.

23 Indeed, the Chazon Ish is quoted (Archos Rabbeinu 1:80) as ruling that only the flour itself, and not the other ingredients, is counted towards the 8.8 oz.

24 Birkei Yosef 168:6; Aruch ha-Shulchan 167:17; Kaf ha-Chayim 167:43.

25 Shulchan Aruch Harav 167:8; Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesain Berachah, vol. 2, Hebrew section, pg. 10 and pg. 490); Shevet ha-Levi 7:25.

26 Derech Hachayim (Mezonos 3); Mishnah Berurah 168:24 (as explained by Harav S.Z. Auerbach, quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 54 note 132); Harav Y. Kamenetsky (quoted in Vesain Berachah, pg. 261); Harav C.P. Scheinberg (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 32).

27 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:32 and 4:41; Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 32); Mekor ha-Berachah, pg. 113.

28 O.C. 190:3 and Mishnah Berurah 9 and 14.

29 See O.C. 612:10 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyon 210:12.

30 See Aruch ha-Shulchan 202:6-8; Sha'ar ha-Tziyon 210:11.

31 Mishnah Berurah 210:1. Many poskim, however, allow reciting Borei nefashos over hot tea or coffee, and one who follows that custom, may continue to do so--see Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 42 and pg. 200 who quotes several contemporary authorities who follow this custom.

32 See Rambam Ma'achalos Asuros 14:9 and Radvaz 1518 (145). There is also widespread dispute concerning whether a raw egg is a food or a drink, see Sdei Chemed (Yom Kippur 3) and Har Tzvi O.C. 1:101.

33 See Nishmas Avrohom O.C. 612:6 who quotes Harav S.Z. Auerbach as questioning the halachic definition of sour cream and ice cream.

34 Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky (written responsum published in Mekor ha-Berachah, pg. 110).

35 Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 44); Be'er Moshe 1:11.

36 In practice, however, one may rely on a sfeik sfeika and recite the blessing: Maybe the item is considered a solid, and even if it is a liquid, maybe the halachah is like the view quoted earlier that liquid, too, may be drunk in 3-4 minutes, see Mishnah Berurah 210:1.

37 Teshuvos Betzail ha-Chachmah 3:114-4.

38 Kol Eliyohu 7 (partially quoted in Kaf ha-Chayim 202:63); Zera Avrohom O.C. 1:3; Ohr l'Tziyon 14:18-19; Yalkut Yosef 3:177-10; Nishmas Avrohom O.C. 612:6.

39 See Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 44 and pg. 261.


Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.

The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir ben Hinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross jgross@torah.org.

The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of Congregation Shomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRav Yisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra


 


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