The proper blessing over cholent depends on the ingredients:
A cholent which contains beans, potatoes and small pieces of meat or
chicken requires only borei peri ha-adamah. It is considered a
“single-entity mixture” since the entire mixture is eaten together in one
spoonful. Because the ha-adamah ingredients constitute the majority of the
cholent mixture, they determine the blessing for the cholent. Even if
the cholent has a soupy consistency, no shehakol blessing is required. The
berachah acharonah is borei nefashos.
When kishke is served along with cholent, the kishke requires a blessing of
borei minei mezonos. Since the kishke is generally not eaten in the same
spoonful as the cholent, its blessing does not exempt the rest of the
cholent from the blessing of ha-adamah, and therefore two blessings are
The other type of cholent is the kind which contains barley in addition to
potatoes, beans and small pieces of meat or chicken. This kind of cholent
requires only a mezonos blessing. Since it is a “single-entity mixture”
which contains one of the five species of grain (barley), the barley assumes
the halachic status of ikar (a preeminent ingredient), even if there is less
barley than beans and potatoes. The mezonos said over the barley exempts
all the other ingredients in the cholent. In order for the barley to be
considered the ikar, however, the following two conditions must be met:
The barley must be added to the cholent for the purpose of enhancing its
taste. If it is added to the cholent just as a binding or thickening
agent, or to give it color or aroma, a mezonos is not said over the
barley [or the cholent].
The taste of the barley must actually be noticeable in the mixture.
In most cases when barley is added to the cholent, the above two conditions
are met. The proper blessing, then, is mezonos. No other blessing should be
made over the other ingredients. If, after reciting a mezonos on the
barley, one recites another blessing, such as ha-adamah on the potatoes or
shehakol on the meat, he may be reciting a blessing in vain. If one
recites ha-adamah or shehakol before the mezonos, he may be reciting an
An exception to the above rules is when the cholent contains large pieces
of meat and chicken which are not eaten together with the rest of the
cholent. In that case, a shehakol is said over the meat or chicken
after the mezonos has been recited over the cholent.
The berachah acharonah on barley cholent depends on the amount of barley
consumed. If one eats a k’zayis of barley in three to four minutes or less,
al ha-michyah is said. No borei nefashos is required. If less than that
amount of barley is eaten, a borei nefashos is said over the rest of the
The preferred method when eating a barley cholent at a kiddush is to recite
a mezonos over the cake at the beginning of the kiddush while having in mind
the cholent as well; this obviates the need for a blessing over the
cholent. The al ha-michyah recited over the cake will include the cholent
also, thus making it unnecessary to estimate the amount of barley eaten and
the time span within which it was consumed.
Note, however, that when barley cholent is served there is no need at all
to eat cake, as one may fulfill his obligation of Kiddush b’makom seudah by
eating a k’zayis of barley from the cholent.
Al ha-michyah is recited when a k’zayis is eaten within a time-span of no
longer than 3-4 minutes. The k’zayis must be composed entirely of
flour; the other ingredients do not count towards the minimum. Many
people, however, are not accurate in ascertaining the exact amount of flour
they ate and some poskim find a source to excuse their inexactitude if
at least the majority of the mixture is pure flour. Fillings such as
cream in a seven layer cake, apple filling in a pie, or cheese in a cheese
cake, are certainly not counted as part of the k’zayis.
Note: Washing hands, reciting Al netilas yadayim, and reciting Birkas
ha-Mazon are required when eating an amount of baked goods that constitutes
kevius seudah, i.e., an amount of food that has the halachic status of
eating a regular meal (as opposed to a snack). When one eats such a
substantial amount, the baked goods are halachically treated like bread. For
the many details of this halachah, see The Weekly Halachah Discussion to
When it comes to liquids, a berachah acharonah is not recited unless at
least a revi’is is consumed. For the purpose of hilchos berachos, we follow
the view of the poskim that a revi’is is the amount of liquid that fills a
cup which holds three fluid oz.
Borei nefashos [or Al ha-gefen] is recited only after drinking at least
3 oz. However, there are poskim who require a berachah acharonah after
drinking as little as 1 oz. To satisfy all opinions, one should not drink an
amount between 1 oz. and 3 oz. l'chatchilah.
Many poskim hold that the 3 oz. must be consumed within shiur shesias
revi’is, which is a very short time period. L’chatchilah,
therefore, the amount required should be drunk in one or two sips. One who
took longer to drink the 3 oz., which can happen when drinking piping hot
beverages, should not recite Borei nefashos unless he left at least 3 oz. to
cool off and drank it within a few seconds.
Question: Should one who drank a revi’is of wine or grape juice, but
mistakenly said Al ha-michyah v’al ha-kalkalah instead of Al ha-gefen v’al
peri ha-gefen, repeat the blessing of Al ha-gefen?
Discussion: No, he should not, since b’diavad Al ha-michyah covers wine
But the halachah is not as clear in a case when one not only drank wine but
also ate a k’zayis of cake and then said Al ha-michyah but forgot to mention
Al ha-gefen v’al peri ha-gefen. Some poskim hold that in this case, too, Al
ha-gefen need not be repeated, since b’diavad the blessing of Al ha-michyah
covers wine as well. But other poskim maintain that Al ha-michyah only
covers wine when inadvertently one said Al ha-michyah instead of Al
ha-gefen. In this case, however, the person apparently forgot about the wine
altogether and intended to make a berachah acharonah over the cake only.
Thus, no berachah acharonah was said over the wine and Al ha-gefen must be
Since a dispute remains as to whether or not one is required to repeat Al
ha-gefen in the latter case, we must follow the principle of safek berachos
l’hakel; Al ha-gefen, therefore, is not repeated.
3. Mishnah Berurah and Aruch ha-Shulchan 212:1. This is true even if the
taste of the barley is not the preferred one.
4. O.C. 208:2.
5. O.C. 204:12.
6. Mishnah Berurah 208:49; Beiur Halachah 208:9, s.v. mevarech; Sha’ar
ha-Tziyun 212:6; oral ruling from Rav M. Feinstein (quoted in Guide to
Practical Halachah, vol. 2, pg. 204).
7. Note that a dissenting opinion (Chayei Adam 51:13; 54:9; Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch 54:5; Shevet ha-Levi 7:27) maintains that when each item is
recognizable, a separate berachah is made over each. Mishnah Berurah and
Aruch ha-Shulchan, however, do not agree, and Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Vezos
ha-Berachah, pg. 94) and Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (Vesein Berachah, pg. 63) rule
that one need not concern himself with the dissenting opinion.
8. Mishnah Berurah 168:43.
9. This is based on a disagreement among the poskim; see Sha’arei Teshuvah
212:1; Shulchan Aruch ha-Rav 249:4; Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 212:15.
17. Rav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Vesein Berachah, pg. 530).
18. Minchas Shlomo 1:91-4. See also Halachos of K’zayis, pg. 134 and
Yalkut Yosef 3:491.
19. O.C. 190:3 and Mishnah Berurah 9 and 14.
20. See O.C. 612:10 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 210:12.
21. See Aruch ha-Shulchan 202:6-8; Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 210:11.
22. 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.