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Chapter 50: 1-3
Blessings Before Eating

1. [Psalms 24:1] states: "The earth and all therein are G-d's," implying that all existence resembles consecrated property. Thus, just as it is forbidden to benefit from consecrated property until it has been redeemed - and someone who uses consecrated property without redeeming it is considered to have trespassed against G-d - similarly, it is forbidden to benefit from this world without blessing G-d for the blessing is comparable to the redemption of property. Anyone who benefits without reciting a blessing is considered to be one who has trespassed against articles consecrated unto G-d, blessed be His name.

[The blessing recited before partaking of food is referred to as a b'rochoh rishonoh.] There is no minimum measure [from which one must partake before being required] to recite a b'rochoh rishonoh. If one eats or drinks the smallest amount, one is obligated to recite a b'rochoh rishonoh before partaking of it.

2. After the fact, if a person errs and recites the blessing shehakol before partaking of any food, even or wine, he has fulfilled his obligation (as will be explained in Chapter 56). Nevertheless, at the outset, it is forbidden to do this. Rather, one must learn which blessing is appropriate to recite for each particular type of food.

However, if one cannot determine the category in which a particular food belongs, or there is an unresolved doubt among the Halachic authorities regarding its blessing, one may fulfill one's obligation with the blessing shehakol. If possible, it is desirable to free oneself from the obligation of [reciting a separate blessing over] the food in question by eating it in the midst of a meal that includes bread.

3. A person should hold the article for which he is reciting a blessing in his right hand. This applies whether he intends to eat it, drink it, benefit from its aroma, or perform a mitzvah with it. He should determine the proper blessing, so that when he recites G-d's name, which is the essence of the blessing, he will know how to conclude the blessing.

If he did not hold the object at all, but the object was before him when he recited the blessing upon it, he has fulfilled his obligation. However, if the object was not before him when he recited the blessing, but rather was brought to him afterwards, even though he had it in mind when he recited the blessing, he did not fulfill his obligation and must recite the blessing again.*

* {The Pri Magodim, the Chayei Odom, and other authorities do not require a second blessing if one definitely knows that the food will be brought to him.}

   Blessings Before Eating
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