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Weekly Halacha

Parshas Beshalach

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.

TU BISHVAT: PROPER ORDER OF BLESSINGS OVER FRUIT

QUESTION: What is the proper order of reciting blessings when one is eating many kinds of foods with different blessings?

DISCUSSION: The basic rule to remember when faced with foods that require different blessings is that the order of preference is based on the most important and specific blessing. The following, in the order of preference, is the correct(1) order of blessings(2):

1. Ha-motzi over wheat bread; barley bread; spelt bread; rye bread(3) and oat bread.
2. Mezonos over wheat cake; barley cake; spelt cake; rye cake and oat cake.
3. Mezonos over cooked grain or cereal made of wheat; barley; spelt; rye and oat.
4. Mezonos over rice(4) and rice products.
5. Ha-gafen over wine or grape juice.
6. Ha-eitz over shivas ha-minim, in the following order: Olive, date, grape, fig, pomegranate.
7. Ha-eitz over other fruits(5).
8. Ha-adamah. In a situation where the ha-adamah item is the preferred(6) food, ha-adamah is said first, even if the ha-eitz is from shivas ha-minim(7).
9. Shehakol(8).

QUESTION: What is the proper order of eating when there are many kinds of foods to choose from, each requiring the same blessing(9)?

DISCUSSION: The basic rule to remember when faced with a variety of foods requiring the same blessing is that the order of preference is based on the most important and best food. The following, in the order of preference, is the correct order:

1. Fruit of the shivas ha-minim, according to the order listed in # 6 above. If none of the fruits are from shivas ha-minim or if they are all the same fruit, then
2. Whichever fruit is whole. If all the fruits are whole or all are broken, then
3. The food that is usually preferred by the eater, even if it is not necessarily his preference right now.

There are some exceptions to the above rules. These rules apply only if:

a. Both foods are on the table and one intends to partake of both. If grapes and apples are on the table, e.g., and one wants to eat an apple, he does not need to eat some grapes in order to recite the blessing over them;

b. One's preference for a given food does not violate normal eating patterns or mealtime routines(10), e.g., one need not eat the fruit reserved for desert before the meat of the main course, even though ha-eitz is generally said before shehakol. Also, if one is thirsty, he need not eat his vegetables before drinking, even though ha-adamah is generally said before shehakol.

c. If preferring one food over the other will not result in a questionable blessing being said. Therefore: (1) Shehakol on chocolate should be said before ha-eitz(11) over fruit, since some poskim(12) suggest that ha-eitz should be said on chocolate as well. (2) Shehakol on orange juice should be said before ha-eitz over fruit, since some poskim(13) hold that ha-eitz is required over orange juice as well.

FOOTNOTES:

1 L'chatchilah.B'dieved the order does not invalidate the blessings.

2 The following is based on the halachos written in O.C. 211 according to the Mishnah Berurah's decisions. There are other opinions as well.

3 Rye bread sold in today's bakeries is made (mostly) from wheat.

4 Whether rice comes before wine or not is questionable-there is no clear-cut custom or decision.

5 A whole fruit should precede cut-up fruits.

6 "Preferred" means that this fruit is usually preferred to him and it is also preferred to him now. If the ha-eitz is preferred to him now - even though usually he would prefer the ha-adamah - ha-eitz is recited.

7 If neither fruit is preferred - some poskim hold that a shivas ha-minim fruit is first while others hold that the whole one is first.

8 Aruch ha-Shulchan 211:17 rules that shehakol over food should be said before shehakol over a drink. But the Mishnah Berurah does not mention this, and the Pri Megadim (Pesicha to Hilchos Berachos 8) specifically says that there is no preference between them.

9 In this case, there are situations when the wrong order could result in a berachah levatalah, an unnecessary blessing, since a blessing specifically recited on a less important item would not automatically include a more important item, even if both items are of the same blessing and both are on the table if front of him; see Mishnah Berurah 211:32-33.

10 See Kaf ha-Chayim 211:5.

11 Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (Vezos ha-Berachah, 4th edition, pg. 126).

12 See Minchas Shelomo 1:91-2 and Mekor ha-Berachah pg. 49 for a lengthy review concerning the proper blessing over chocolate.

13 Chazon Ish 33:5 - when the juice is squeezed from fruits which are mainly grown for juice, as is true in the United States today.


Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 2002 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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