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Chapter 54: 1-3
Laws of Primary and Secondary Foods

1. If a person ate two foods or ate and drank, and his primary intention was for one of the foods, while the other was secondary and eaten only as an accessory to the first - i.e., he is eating it only because of the first, and were he not to eat the first, he would not eat the second - [the first food is referred to as the ikar and the second as the tofeil].

For example, if a person felt faint and desired to eat salted fish or radish to arouse himself - however, because they are very sharp, he also ate some bread or other food to dull their sharpness tightly,* [- the radish or the fish is considered the ikar and the bread, the tofeil]. Similarly, should one desire to partake of the alcoholic beverage, and in order to dull its sharpness, he eats some bread or fruit afterwards, [the beverages is considered the ikar and the bread or fruit, the tofeil.]**

* {From the statements of the Shulchon Oruch HoRav 212:1 and the Mishnoh B'rurah 212:3, it is clear why the Kitzur Shulchon Oruch phrased this law in this manner. If a person has any desire to eat bread, even if he eats it together with the other foods, it is not considered tofeil.}

** {The Shulchon Oruch HoRav 212:6 and the Mishnoh B'rurah 212:5 caution against using bread as tofeil to lessen the sharpness of alcoholic beverages, because it is difficult to determine whether one is eating it for the sake of the beverages or to satisfy one's hunger.}

[In these and similar cases,] one recites a blessing only for the ikar, and there is no need to recite a blessing either before or after partaking of the tofeil, for it is covered by the blessing recited over the ikar. (If bread is eaten as a tofeil,] there is no need to wash the hands and recite the blessing al netilas yodiyim before partaking of it.)*

* {The Mishnoh B'rurah 158:10 suggests washing the hands if one eats a k'zayis or k'beitzoh of bread, even as tofeil. However, the blessing for washing, al netilas yodoyim, should not be recited.}

2. The above applies only when: a) One eats the ikar, and then the tofeil; b) when one recites the blessing for the ikar, one has in mind to eat the tofeil, or it would be one's normal practice to do so, and thus it could be considered as if one had intended to eat it; and c) one eats the tofeil in the same time and place the ikar - in contrast to one who, in the interim, went out to another room.

3. However, should one eat the tofeil first and afterwards, the ikar, one is required to recite a blessing over the tofeil.

For example, a person desired to drink an alcoholic beverage, but so that he would not have to drink it on an empty stomach, he ate something else first. [Since the food is being eaten only because of the beverage, it is considered tofeil. However, since it is being eaten before the beverage, it requires a separate blessing.]

Nevertheless, since it is being eaten as a tofeil, some authorities maintain that it requires a lesser blessing shehakol, is recited over it [even though it is not the blessing appropriate for it]. Other authorities do not accept this principle. Hence, in order to prevent any doubt from arising, one should drink some of the beverage first and recite the blessing for it with the intention of including the tofeil.

   Primary and Secondary Foods
Paragraphs 4-6
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.

 

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