Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: HALACHA Category:FOOD Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Thu, 02 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 The Problematic Papaya

HaAdama…surprisingly.  The Papaya looks like a tree and has all the qualifications of a tree as determined by Chazal.  However it lack some key botanical features of a tree and exhibits properties of a “Yerek”.  For example it produces fruit within the first year it is planted.  Also its trunk is hollow unlike a fruit tree.

Because we do not know what bracha to make so HaAdama is safer bet.  Therefore if you are going to eat a fruit as well, make HaAdama on the Papaya first.  If you make HaEitz first on the fruit you may have “Patur’d” the papaya from a Bracha.

For the purpose of Urlah we are machmir and treat it as a tree and do not use the fruit produced the first three years.  (This is a problem considering the short life span of the tree.)  (V'Zos HaBracha)

Sun, 05 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Shavuos: People Eating Milk And Meat Together When three men eat together they form a zimun and must bentch together.  However, if a situation arises where one of the three could not partake in the food of another (e.g. he promised he would not derive any pleasure from one of the other two individuals), then they would not form a zimun because they would not be considered three people partaking in a meal together.
The Mishna Brura writes (196:9), that if two men were eating a fleishig meal and one man was eating milchig, the three men can join to form a zimun being that the person eating dairy can at any time clean his mouth and partake in the meat of the other two people.  The Mishna Brura adds that the one to lead the zimun should be the one who ate dairy since he can join the meat eaters whereas the meat eaters cannot partake in his dairy food.

However, if the person eating dairy was eating hard cheese he may not partake in the meat of the other two men and therefore he cannot join to form a zimun (Mishna Brura 196:9).  This is because one who eats hard cheese cannot simply wash his mouth and eat meat right away without waiting a certain amount of time.  If the three men ate a k’zayis of bread together and only afterwards they ate the hard cheese/meat they may form a zimun since their initial eating of the k’zayis was eaten together and enabled them to form a zimun.
These situations arise on Shavuos for those who eat meat at the end of a dairy meal and bentch together with men who did not partake in the meat. 

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 03:00:00 +0000

The Elya Rabbah writes (170:11) that one should use utensils to eat with and refrain from using their hands.  Additionally, one should refrain from taking large bites of food and make sure not to get any food particles caught in their beard or on their clothing.  The Elya Rabbah concludes by stating all these guidelines should be followed even when one eats alone in his home. 

The Piskei Teshuvos writes (170:11) that if it is accepted by the general public to eat a certain food with one's hands (i.e. jelly donuts, bagels, or pizza), there is nothing wrong with eating without utensils.  However, the Piskei Teshuvos quotes others who say that it is best to be stringent in this area and always use a fork and knife. 

Mon, 06 Dec 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Moshe Feinstein - Do You Become Fleishig From Fleishig Vitamins?

Rav Moshe Feinstein discusses (Igros Moshe YD 2:26) whether a person becomes Fleishig, and must wait before eating dairy, after ingesting a vitamin that contains meat ingredients inside.

Rav Moshe answers that he does not become fleishig. The Achronim bring two reasons why a person must wait to eat dairy after eating meat. One reason is that the taste stays with him for six hours. The other reason is that meat can get stuck in his teeth. Since neither of these reasons apply here, there is no reason wto wait before eating milchig.

One may ask that we find that even if the reason doesn't apply, the Chachomim still forbid it so as not to differentiate from one case to another (Lo Ploog). Along these lines we find by basar v'chalav the Chachomim assur even if the fleishig food was not solid but just liquid cooked with meat, even though the reasons to wait do not apply. However Rav Moshe says that this case is different because the person swallowed the vitamin and it is not even considered eating.

Furthermore Rav Moshe adds that even if the person were to chew the vitamin he would still not become fleishig.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha. We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation. Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

Wed, 24 Nov 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach: Shavuos Night Drinks, How Many Brachos? Drinks and snacks are served in most Shuls to refresh those staying up to learn on Shavuos night.  If you drink periodically throughout the night how often must you make a bracha?  Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo Shavuos 12:3) says that you could have in mind before the first bracha that it will cover all your drinks for the entire night.

We know that once you finish digesting food you need to make a new bracha and usually between drinks the effect of your first drink has lapsed, nevertheless when it comes to drinks we are noheg like the Even HaOzer who brings from a Tshuvas HaRambam that even if the whole day has passed you need not make another bracha on a drink if you had it in mind in the morning before you made the first bracha.

In any event, says Rav Shlomo Zalman, it is preferable to say Borei Nefashos after each drink and then make a new bracha before the next drink.  This way you will not miss out on Borei Nefashos on the earlier drinks which are not covered by the Borei Nefashos of your last drink.  These extra brachos would not constitute a Bracha She'Eino Tzricha since each drink is for a new thirst.

Sun, 16 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Bracha on Trees - Hurry, Nissan Is Almost Over The halacha is that when a person sees a tree blossom for the first time in the month of Nissan, he should make a special bracha known as "Birchas Ha'Ilanos" (Shulchan Aruch 126:1).  While many of the brachos that are to be recited when we see something are generally not made, (i.e. bracha when seeing a rainbow, bracha when seeing a Gadol Hador etc.) this bracha is held in high regard amongst the gedolim.

The Mishna Berurah (126:1) writes that the bracha does not need to be made in the month of Nissan, rather Nissan was just chosen because that was typically when trees blossomed in Eretz Yisrael.  According to the Mishna Berurah a person can make a bracha on a tree the first time he sees one blossom no matter what month it is.

Many other poskim including the Kaf HaChaim (126:1) disagree and pasken that the only time that the bracha may be made with the shem Hashem is in the month of Nissan.  After Nissan one should make the bracha without the shem Hashem. 

Wed, 14 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Sefiras Haomer - Helping Your Son Without Hurting Yourself

If your son wants to count sefira before he goes to sleep at night but needs your help with reciting the omer (and telling him what last nights omer was will not be helpful enough for him to recite it on his own) and it is after shekia but before Tzeis Hakochavim how can you tell him the proper lashon without preventing yourself from being able to count with a bracha at the proper zman?

The Mishna Berura gives a few options (489:20-22) which may help in this scenerio:

1.  Don't say "Hayom" before telling him the day. (The ikur mitzvah is only when you preface with "Hayom.")

2.  Have in mind specifically not to be yotzei when you say the day of the Omer.

3.  There are some shitos who hold that to be mekayem the mitzvah of sefiras haomer one must recite both the days and the weeks and if one leaves out the weeks he is not yotzei his mitzvah.  According to that one may tell their son the day without telling him the week.

Mon, 12 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Borei Nefashos In Middle of Your Seuda?

The Mishna Berura writes (174:25) that if before washing for a seuda a person takes a drink of something he does not intend on drinking during the meal, he must make a borei nefashos before washing for the seuda.  Furthermore, even if he has washed already, he must still make a borei nefashos during the seuda.  The reason for this is that drinking before a seuda has no connection to the seuda itself and therefore the birchas hamazon after the seuda will not cover this drink.

However, the Mishna Berura writes that just like with wine, if a person drinks whiskey before a seuda he need not make a borei nefashos since the whiskey is connected to the seuda by the fact that drinking things like whiskey and wine whets one's appetite for a seuda.

Therefore, if one arrives early at a restaurant and has a drink (other than wine and whiskey) before washing, he should first make a borei nefashos and then wash.  If he washed before making a borei nefashos, he is still required to make a borei nefashos during the meal.   

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Shevet HaKehosi: Can You Keep Medicine In The Bathroom? We are noheg not to eat food left under a bed or food that was brought into a bathroom, because a Ruach Ra descends upon it.  What about medicine?  Does a Ruach Ra affect medicine left under a bed or in the bathroom?

The Shevet HaKehosi (2:245) says that if the medicine has no taste and you do not make a bracha when taking it, then there is no need to worry about Ruach Ra.  However if it has a taste and a bracha is required, then it should not be taken into a bathroom.

Moreover says the Shevet HaKehosi, in Belz they are noheg that even coffee powder does not get affected by this Ruach Ra since it is not edible alone.  Furthermore Rav Aharon of Belz told someone with diabetes who carried sugar cubes on him at all time, that there is no problem to take them with him to the bathroom.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

Thu, 11 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
When It Comes To Birchas HaMazon A Levi Has Rights Too The proper order which should determine who should lead bentching is:
  1. A Talmud Chacham (unless there is a Kohen who is a Talmud Chacham even if he is not on the same level as the Yisrael Talmud Chacham). (Mishna Berurah 201:12)
  2. A Kohen (Shulchan Aruch 201)
  3. An Avel
  4. A Levi (The Mishna Berura 201:13 explains that this applies to making a hamotzei and giving tzedaka as well.  However this is only in instances in which the Levi is on the same level as the Yisrael in terms of being a Talmud Chacham).

The Levush (quoted in the Piskei Teshuvos 201:3) says that in this generation there are no halachos of kedima by bentching being that it will create too many fights.  Therefore, when there is a meal served at the home of a baal habayis he can choose who he wants to lead bentching and does not need permission from the Talmud Chacham, Kohen or Levi to pass over them favor of someone else.   

Wed, 10 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
When Spitting Out Your Food is the Best Option

The Shulchan Aruch (210:2) brings down a machlokes when it comes to making a bracha before tasting food.  The first shita holds that if you are tasting food, so long as the food is less than a k'zayis, no bracha rishona is made even if you swallow the food.  The second shita holds that if you taste and spit out the food, then even if the food is more than a kzayis you don't make a bracha.  However, if you swallow the food you tasted, you must make a bracha rishona even if it was less than a kzayis.

The Rama writes (based on the Mishna Berura 210:19)) that since the halacha is "safek brachos lehakel," so long as the food was less than a k'zayis even if you swallowed the food no bracha rishona should be made.  However, the Mishna Berurah writes that since many achronim argue on the Rama, one should have in mind before tasting the food to taste and to derive pleasure from digesting the food which would then allow one to make a bracha rishona even when digesting less than a kzayis. 

Therefore, the Piskei Teshuvos writes (210:9) that when you taste a food to see if it needs more spices, or to see if it is still too hot for a baby, it would be best to taste it on your tongue and then spit it out.  However, if you need to swallow it to get the full taste then one should  have in mind to derive some pleasure from the food and then make a bracha rishona before tasting and swallowing the food.  But, if you did not have this in mind then a bracha rishona should not be made if you will swallow less than a k'zayis.

Tue, 02 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
No Gesturing During Birchas Hamazon

The Shulchan Aruch writes (183:8) that there are those who say that the halachos regarding making an interruption by saying hello (out of respect or fear) during birchas hamazon is the same as during tefilah.  The Mishna Brura explains (183:30) that when the Shulchan Aruch refers to "tefilah" he is in fact referring to shmoneh esrei where the halachos are even more stringent than during krias shema and no interruptions are permitted.    

The Piskei Teshuvos writes (183:17) that based on this Mishna Brura, it seems that one can not make any of the interruptions that one may not make during shmoneh esrei.  Therefore, one should be careful not to even motion with their hands make noises to hint something or motion with their eyes during birchas hamazon just as one can not do these things while davening shmoneh esrei.   

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Popcorn, Potato Chips, Corn Chips and Pringles - R' Shlomo Zalman Joins The Party

R' Bodner, in his sefer on Brachos, writes (based on the Shulchan Aruch (202)) that in order to make a hoadama on a vegetable (same for ha'etz on fruit) the item being eaten must either have the physical form or the appearance of the original vegetable.  If the food item has neither the form nor appearance of the vegetable, a shehakol should be made.  For this reason the Mishna Berurah writes (202:7) that the proper bracha on jam is shehakol, being that it has neither the form nor appearance of the original fruit.

Based on this halacha both popcorn and potato chips require a hoadama.  In popcorn the kernels of corn are still intact and recognizable, and potato chips are clearly thinly sliced pieces of potato.  However, corn chips which are made from milled corn, do not maintain the form of corn nor do they look like they come from corn.  Therefore the proper bracha on corn chips is shehakol.

Pringles are a debatable issue.  On the one hand it is made from dehydrated potatoes and do not retain the physical form of a potato and therefore should require a shehakol.  However, R' Bodner writes, that R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach paskened that since Pringles have the appearance of a potato after they are made from the dehydrated potatoes, a hoadama should be made.   

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Mayim Achronim Before Eating One of the reasons brought down for washing Mayim Achronim before reciting birchas hamazon is that one should not bentch with dirty hands (Mishna Berurah 181:1).  Since it is likely that ones hands became dirty during the course of a meal one must wash mayim achronim to remove that dirt before reciting birchas hamazon.

The Mishna Berurah writes further that if during a meal, an "Istonis" (someone who is extra careful to always be clean) needs to make a bracha (e.g. wine, dessert), he must wash his hands prior to making the bracha being that his hands are probably dirty from touching food during the meal (181:23).  This seems to be an extension to the halacha of mayim achronim in that before reciting any bracha an Istonis must make sure his hands are clean.

The Piskei Teshuvos (181:3) brings down a Kaf HaChaim (181:5) which says that this halacha applies to everyone and not just an Istonis.  Therefore, one must always be careful to have clean hands before making any bracha.  This applies during a meal or even when eating food not during a meal.  Before making any bracha a person must make sure his hands are clean, and if they are not he must first wash his hands and then make the bracha. 

Wed, 30 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Vosner: A New Kind Of Buffalo, Can You Eat It? Rav Vosner was asked (Shevet HaLevi 10:114:1) about an animal eaten in America that seems to be from the Buffalo family and clearly has the required Simanei Kashrus but it is unclear whether it qualifies as a beheima or chaya and has no Mesora.  May you eat it?

This question revolves around a Shach and Pri Megadim.  There are differences in halacha with regard to eating the fat of an animal, whether it is a Chaya or Beheima.  The Shach says that when there is a question whether an animal is a beheima or Chaya we should not rely on the Simanim without a mesora. 

The Pri Megadim holds that even according to the Shach the chumra of mesora only applies to the question of whether you treat it like a chaya or beheima but in any event you can be assur the fat like a beheima and eat it without any mesora since the simanei kashrus are very clear.  Only by birds do we require mesora and not rely on simanim.

However the Chazon Ish says that the Shach is to be taken literally and one may not eat any animal even if it clearly qualifies as kosher without a mesora.  He bases this on  Chochmas Adam and says that this was the minhag in Lithuania.

Rav Vosner says that adding all this up, in America there is no problem to eat this new kind of Buffalo since a) the minhag of mesora was only in Lithuania, b) the Pri Megadim holds the Shach didn't require a mesora only for birds, c) this new Buffalo is close to the Buffalo family that has a mesora.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Can Yiray Shamayim Eat Jelly Donuts On The Run?

Question To Revach:  I've heard there is an issue with the bracha on sufganiyot, what can you tell me about it?

Rav Moncharsch Responds:  Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 168:13 writes that the Halacha is like the opinion that hamotzi only applies to baked products, however he brings a second opinion of Rabbeinu Tam who holds that anything that is a thick dough and not a thin batter is hamotzi even boiled or fried. Shulchan Aruch concludes that one who has Yiras Shamayim will satisfy both opinions by only eating it during a meal.

Our doughnuts are even more problematic, since they are eaten as a desert they would not be included in the hamotzi and it would not even help to make hamotzi first. Therefore, other more creative solutions are required. Therefore anyone G-d fearing should only eat sufganiyot as part of a bread meal, and should either make a bracha of mezonos on something else before he washes with explicit intention to exempt the doughnut, or at the end of the meal before eating the sufganiya he should make a mezonos on something that certainly requires a bracha during a meal such as Bisli.
While this is only a chumra, it is one endorsed by the Shulchan Aruch.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Chanukah: Don't Talk Just Light The Piskei Teshuvos writes (672:6) that if on the second night of Chanukah one lights the Menorah and talks in between the lighting of the first and second candle, he may be required to recite the bracha on the Menorah over again even though the first candle is required while any additional ones are simply a hiddur mitzvah.  It is his opinion that this halacha is a machlokes between the Bais Yosef and the Pri Megadim.

This may explain the difference in minhagim as to when to recite "Haneiros Halalu."  The Mishna Berurah writes (676:8) that after lighting the first candle one begins to recite Haneiros Halalu while he finishes lighting the rest of the candles.  This would fit with the Pri Megadim who holds that one does not repeat the brachos if he talks after lighting the first candle before he finishes the rest.  However, according to the Bais Yosef, who holds that one must recite the brachos over again if he talks in between lighting the candles, then it would seem that one may not begin to recite Haneiros Halalu until he is finished lighting all the candles.       

Thu, 10 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
No Thirst For Knowledge The Mishna Berurah writes (170:13) that a Talmud Chacham should not drink water in public.  If a Talmud Chacham needs to drink in public, he should turn his head in another other direction, drink, and then turn back to face the public.  However, the Mishna Berurah brings down from the Elya Rabbah that this halacha does not apply when drinking water during a meal in public, it only applies when drinking not during a meal such as during a lecture, speech or other public gathering. 

The Piskei Teshuvos explains that the rational for this halacha is that a Talmud Chacham is supposed to be discreet (tzenua) with regards to eating and drinking and by drinking water in public he is showing the public that he is quenching his thirst which is not an act of tzenius.  He continues to write that the same halacha would apply when it comes to drinking soda since one drinks soda only when he is thirsty.  However, he writes that if the drink is a chashuv drink, that one drinks for pleasure and not solely for thirst (e.g. coffee, tea, wine etc.), a Talmud Chacham would be permitted to drink that drink in public.    

Wed, 02 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
When Your Wife Has The Last Word

The Mechaber brings down from the Rosh the halacha that if someone says at the end of a bread meal "lets bentch," he can not continue to eat or drink without first making a new hamotzei. (Shulchan Aruch 179:1)  By saying "lets bentch" he is showing he no longer wants to eat, and anything eaten after that is like a new meal. 

If however, a guest at a meal says "lets bentch," and the host informs the guest that there will be more food served, then the guest can continue to eat and drink without first making a new bracha.  The reason is that the guest was mistaken when he thought the meal was over when in fact there was going to be more food served.  Had he known that there would be more food served he never would have said "lets bentch."  (Shulchan Aruch 179:2)

The Aruch Hashulchan (179:6) takes it one step further.  He writes that even when a host says "lets bentch," if his wife says that she has more food to serve he is treated as a guest and he may continue to eat and drink without making a new bracha.  When he said "lets bentch" it was the exact same mistake the guest made as he did not know that his wife had more food to serve.        


Thu, 26 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Steipler: Telephone Keeps Everyone Connected

The Shulchan Aruch writes (225:1) that when someone meets a friend he hasn't seen in 30 days, he should make a birchas shehecheyanu (with shem Hashem). This bracha should only be made when it is a person that truly creates simcha when you meet them, after having not seen them for 30 days, such as a close friend or family member. If however, you have communicated with this friend (e.g., via phone/letter) or if a third party has told you that your friend is alive and well, you should not make a bracha upon seeing him after 30 days.

On a similar note, the Shulchan Aruch writes (225:1) that when someone meets a person he has not seen in 12 months, he is obligated to recite a birchas mechaye hamesim (also with shem Hashem). In these instances, a shehecheyanu should not be made.

The Piskei Teshuvos writes that many poskim hold that nowadays these brachos should only be made with the shem Hashem in extreme circumstances (e.g. one who hasn't seen his child in a few years and did not know his whereabouts; someone who had not been seen due to a severe medical condition for an extended period of time). He brings down from the Steipler (1:93) that since we have telephones, even if you have not heard from someone in 30 days or even a year, since you know that if anything bad had happened to that person you would find out about it, these brachos should not be made with the shem Hashem. Rather, the Piskei Teshuvos writes that when people are in these types of situations, they should say a generic bracha (without shem Hashem) of "Baruch Hashem we are able to see each other again."

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Bread Meals: Take A Big First Bite The Rama (178:2) writes that when it comes to bread meals, the rules of Shinu Makom (changing locations) are more lenient.  Generally, if one eats a snack (e.g. a bag of potato chips) and then leaves his house before he has finished eating, he must make a new bracha on the same bag of chips when he returns to his house, even if it is only a few minutes later.  If however, he is in middle of a meal in which he washed and ate bread, he is not required to make a new bracha when he returns to his original place. 

The Mishna Berurah brings down a Magen Avraham that says that this halacha only applies in instances in which the person already ate a k'zayis of bread (178:28).  If however the person has not yet eaten a k'zayis of bread, he must make a new bracha on the bread if he wants to resume his meal at the original location.

This is an important halacha to keep in mind on Shabbos, at weddings, or other simchos during which people tend to eat a piece of bread smaller than a k'zayis at the time of making the hamotzei and often change locations before eating a full k'zayis of bread. 


Wed, 11 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
When A Bracha Is Really Not

If someone is unsure whether or not he made a bracha (whether it be a bracha rishona or bracha achrona), he should not make a new bracha. If it was a bracha rishona, he should eat without making another bracha and if it was a bracha achrona, he should simply not make a new bracha achrona (Shulchan Aruch 209:3). The reason is because brachos are M'drabanan and safek D'rabanan is L'kula.

The Mishna Brura (215:20) takes it one step further and says if one does make a bracha, according to many poskim, he will be violating an issur Min Hatorah (of bracha l'vatalah).

There are however two exceptions to this halacha. If one is unsure whether or not he recited birchas hamazon, he must recite it over again. This is because birchas hamazon is Doraisa. The second exception applies to a safek D'oraisa. The Mishna Brura (209:10) writes that if one is unsure whether or not he recited an al hamichya, since there is a safek whether or not an al hamichya is Min Hatorah, one should eat additional food that would require an al hamichya and then have in mind the previous food in the new al hamichya.

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Somewhere Over The Rainbow... When one sees a rainbow a bracha should be made.  However, one should be careful not to stare at a rainbow for too long (Shulchan Aruch 229:1). The Zohar writes that this is because one looking at a rainbow is as if he is looking at the Shechina (Parshas B'shalach 66b). 

There is a debate amongst the poskim as to whether or not these halachos apply to rainbows caused by natural events (as opposed to those that appear in the sky out of nowhere) such as after a rainstorm or in water.  The Ben Ish Chai writes (Parshas Eikev: 17) that it would seem that one should not make a bracha on a rainbow that appears naturally; however, being that the general accepted minhag is to make a bracha on any rainbow, one should make a bracha on a rainbow that appears naturally.   

It is written in the Mishna Brura (229:1), that when one sees a rainbow he should not inform a friend about it but rather make a bracha and keep it to himself.

Wed, 21 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Bread For A Sweet Tooth Bread products that are baked using liquids other than water (e.g. fruit juice) may not require a hamotzei.  The Beis Yosef (168) writes that breads that contain fruit juice and are not eaten as a mainstay at a meal require a mezonos and al hamichya.

R' Bodner in his sefer on brachos writes that he heard from R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach that this halacha would apply to sweet rolls.  Since sweet rolls contain fruit juice and are generally eaten as a snack and not as a meal one should make a mezonos and not a hamotzei.

R' Bodner points out that raisin challah, which many people have the custom to eat on Rosh Hashanah, would require a hamotzei since it is eaten as a meal and not a snack. The fact that it contains raisins does not change the bracha to a mezonos.    

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Succos - Teletransportation of Brachos

The rules pertaining to brachos and Shinu Makom (change of location) are very complex and contain many exceptions. The general rule is that when one makes a bracha on some food in his house and, while he is still in the middle of eating his food, but before making a bracha achrona, he exits his house, his bracha rishona is considered to be terminated, and when he returns home, he would be required to make a new bracha if he wants to continue eating.  If however, he makes a bracha in one room and, while he is in the middle of eating, he goes to another room in the same house, the rules are a little more lenient and under certain circumstances, he may not need to make a new bracha upon reentering the original room nor would he have to make a new bracha if he continued eating in the new room. (These halachos generally do not apply to mezonos and hamotzei products.)

R Bodner in his sefer on brachos points out that this halacha is very important to keep in mind on Succos. A succah which is connected to ones house (e.g. the succah and house share a wall) would not create a shinu makom and would be considered to be two rooms in the same building and therefore going from the succah to house or vice versa while eating would not terminate a bracha. However, if a succah is freestanding, and there is even a small space in between the succah and the house, then going from ones house to his succah or vice versa would be considered a shinu makom and a new bracha rishona would be required to continue eating.  

Fri, 09 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Turning Wine Into Water Part II Diluting wine with water can alter the bracha achrona of a beverage.  If the amount of water added to the beverage changes the bracha rishona to a shehakol, then a borei nefashos should be made.  On the other hand, if the added water does not change the bracha rishona and a hagafen is made, then the correct bracha achrona would be an al hagafen.

However, if one dilutes the wine with water and does not know if the added amount would change the bracha rishona, then a hagafen should be made on undiluted wine and the diluted beverage would no longer require a bracha rishona.  The remaining issue will be what bracha achrona should be made after drinking a sip of undiluted wine and a reviis of the diluted beverage. 

The best solution would be to drink a reviis of undiluted wine and make an al hagafen which would exempt the other beverage from a separate bracha achrona.  However, when that is not an option there are a few alternatives:

1)   Ask someone who drank a reviis of wine and is making an al hagafen to be motzei you (Shulchan Aruch 213).

2)  The Mishna Berurah writes (208:82) that if someone already drank the beverage and has a safek, he may eat or drink another food that would require an al hamichya (cake) or al haetz (grapes) and add the al hagafen to the same bracha.  This should not be relied on lechatchila, only in instances where you already have the safek and do not know the proper bracha (Mishna Berurah). 

3)   R' Bodner, in his sefer on brachos, writes in the name of R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, that if someone does not have any of the above options, he may ask someone who is making an al hamichya on a different type of food (cake) to be motzei him and by the phrase for the specific food the listener should add his own wording (al hagafen) to the bracha.

Wed, 16 Sep 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Turning Wine Into Water In the times of the Gemara water was added to wine to make it drinkable.  Nowadays, wine is sold diluted and therefore adding water to wine is unnecessary.  If one dilutes his wine with water (e.g. he can not tolerate the strength of the wine but drinks it for health reasons), the bracha in certain instances may change to shehakol.

The Pri Megadim (204:16) quotes the Elya Rabbah who paskens that if the wine was diluted to the point that the beverage contains more than 50% new water, a shehakol should be made.  However, if the beverage contains anything less than 50% new water, the bracha remains a hagafen. 

R' Bodner, in his sefer on brachos, writes that it is brought down that R' Chaim Kanievsky was told by the Chazon Ish that one should not add more than a third of water to wine.  If the beverage contains more than 33% of new water, a shehakol should be made. 

R' Bodner also quotes the Minchas Shlomo who writes that if even a small percentage of water was added to grape juice, the bracha changes from hagafen to shehakol. 

If one wishes to drink diluted wine/grape juice and is unsure as to what bracha should be make, he should make a hagafen on undiluted wine/grape juice and have in mind the diluted wine/grape juice which is in front of him.        

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 03:00:00 +0000
When To Ignore Your Children The Mechaber in the Shulchan Aruch paskens, that one may not answer amen to a bracha made by a tinuk (215:2).  However, the Mechaber writes that if a katan above the age of chinuch makes a bracha for himself one may answer amen (215:3).  The Mishna Berurah learns from there that if a katan who has not reached the age of chinuch makes a bracha one may not answer amen to his bracha (215:16).  While the age of chinuch varies from child to child, the Piskei Teshuvos writes that for this purpose it is roughly the age of 5 (215:8). 

However, many poskim hold that one may answer amen to a bracha made by a katan from the time he knows how to properly make a bracha (Piskei Teshuvos 215:8:46).  It is brought down that the Steipler would answer amen to a bracha made by children over the age of 3 to teach them that one must always answer amen after hearing a bracha.

To alleviate this concern, R' Shlomo Zalman Aurbach would answer amen without the "nun" at the end and simply say "ame" - this way the katan would think he was answering amen and learn that one must always answer amen, yet he would not really be answering amen to a bracha made by a katan who has not reached chinuch age.       

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
When Your Bracha Transforms The Food The Mishna Berurah writes (167:97) that one may not give an animal, bird or non-Jewish person a piece of the bread that he recited the Bracha of Hamotzi on.  He explains that if one recited a hamotzi (as done typically on Shabbos) on a challah, one may not give a non-Jew a piece of that challah. 

The Piskei Teshuvos (167:29) quotes from the Sefer Chasidim that this halacha applies to any food or drink that a bracha was recited on and not just to challah.

The Piskei Teshuvos writes there are those who take this one step further and pasken that any food that was on a table while divrei torah were said, should not be given to an animal, bird or non-Jew.  This would seem to apply to a Shabbos seuda, where although a bracha is not made on any of the food other than the challah, since there is divrei torah said at the meal one should not give any of the leftovers from the table to an animal, bird or non-Jew to eat.      

Thu, 20 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
No Rush to Wash Often at a Shabbos seuda the baal habayis (head of the household) will make a hamotzei and have in mind everyone at the table.  Generally everyone washes and when everyone returns to the table the hamotzei is made.  If however, one of the people just washed and has not had a chance to make an al netilas yadayim and dry his hands at the time the head of the household is ready to make the hamotzei, he may still listen to the birchas hamotzei, then make an al netilas yadayim dry his hands and then eat the challah without reciting a new bracha (Shulchan Aruch 167:7).

The Mishna Berurah (167:45) takes it one step further and says even if one has not yet washed his hands, he may b'dieved first listen to the birchas hamotzei then wash his hands, make an al netilas yadayim and eat the challah without reciting a new hamotzei relying on the hamotzei of the baal habayis.  The reason is that washing, making an al netilas yadayim, and drying ones hands are not considered a hefsek between the birchas hamotzei and eating the challah being that they are considered necessary for the meal. 

However, if one is in middle of reciting an al netilas yadayim at the time that the baal habayis is reciting the hamotzei, then he is not yotzei with the baal habayis's bracha being that he was speaking during his bracha.  In such instances that person would have to recite a new hamotzei on the challah (Mishna Berurah 167:45).     

Thu, 13 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Baruch Ata......Splat!

The Mechaber in the Shulchan Aruch paskens (206:6) that if a person makes a bracha on a piece of a fruit and then drops it and can no longer eat it, he may not eat the rest of the fruit relying on the same bracha but rather, he must recite boruch shem k'vod... and make a new bracha if he wants to eat the remaining pieces of fruit.

The Biur Halacha (206) based on the Rama argues with the Mechaber and holds that if one had intentions to eat more of the remainder of the same fruit he may eat that fruit without reciting a new bracha.  This applies even when the additional pieces of that fruit were not in front of the person reciting the bracha at the time he made the bracha.

The Biur Halacha writes that according to both the Mechaber and Rama if one did not intend on eating the rest of the fruit even if it was on the table in front of him at the time the bracha was recited, he must make a new bracha before eating the rest of the fruit.  However, the Biur Halacha based on a Raved writes that even in such instances, since the fruit was in front of him at the time the bracha was made, even if he did not have specific intention to eat it, he may eat the remaining fruit relying on the original bracha.        

Wed, 05 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Nine Days - Sometimes Eating Meat Is Required The Mishna Brura writes that unlike the Rambam who holds that making a bracha in vain is an isur D'oraisa, most Rishonim argue and hold that the isur is only D'rabanan.  Therefore the Piskei Teshuvos (215:17) concludes that if one makes a bracha and then realizes that the item he is about to eat may not be kosher, it is better that he not eat the item and violate the isur of making a bracha in vain rather than eating a non-kosher item and violating a [possible] D'oraisa prohibition.

On the other hand, the Piskei Teshuvos quotes from the Be'er Moshe (4:24) that if one made a bracha on a milchig item and realizes that he is fleishigs, as long as at least an hour has passed and he has no meat in his teeth he may taste the milchig item so as not to violate the isur of bracha l'vatalah. 

This halacha is relevant to the Nine Days as well.  If someone makes a bracha on fleishigs or wine and then remembers that it is the Nine Days, the Piskei Teshuvos (551:40) writes that he may taste the meat or wine, so as not to make bracha L'vatalah.

Tue, 28 Jul 2009 03:00:00 +0000
When The Bread-Winner Goes To The Back of The Line The Rema (166:1) writes that waiting a long period of time between making an al netilas yadayim and hamotzei on bread is a hefsek just as is talking between washing and making a hamotzei.  The Rema writes that waiting more than the time it takes to walk 22 amos (the Piskei Teshuvos writes that this varies according to the poskim between 16-30 seconds) is considered a hefsek.
Based on this Rema, people should be careful to have their bread (sandwich) ready to make a hamotzei before washing so as not to delay too long and create a hefsek between washing and hamotzei.  However, it should be noted that if there was a hefsek for a longer period of time, so long as one didn’t have hesech ha’das one need not wash over again.
This halacha comes up often on Shabbos when the head of the household makes the hamotzei for everyone at the table.  The Mishna Brura explains (165:6) that to prevent there being a long period of time between the al netilas yadayim and hamotzei, the head of the household should wash last so that his al netilas yadayim is closest in time to his hamotzei.

Mon, 13 Jul 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Buffet Meal - Manners Before Proper Order The Mishna and Gemara in Maseches Brachos discuss the different criteria used to determine the proper order for making brachos.  The four basic categories to determining the proper order of brachos are:

                                                    1. Most specific bracha (Hamotzei - Mezonos-                                                              HaGafen...), 

                                                    2. Shivas Haminim (Wheat-Barley-Olives...),

                                                    3. A whole item, and

                                                    4. Personal Preference.

While in most instances one must follow the guidelines to determine the proper order of brachos, there are instances where a person need not follow the proper order.  One common instance where this occurs is Kiddush on Shabbos.  Based on the guidelines determined in halacha, one generally should make a hamotzei on the bread prior to making Kiddush.  However, on Shabbos since Kiddush is required before a seuda we make a bracha on the wine before the hamotzei on the bread.  This according to some Rishonim is the reason why we cover the bread while making Kiddush.

Similarly, if one is at a meal in which all the food being served at the meal is set up buffet style, he may eat the appetizer before the main course even if typically based on the order of brachos one should eat the main course first.  R' Bodner, in his sefer on brachos, quotes a Ritvah in Hilchos Brachos that explains that since it is the way of the world to eat an appetizer before the main course, one need not follow the proper order of brachos and rather one may eat the meal in its proper order.   

Thu, 25 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Vosner - When You Are Too Hungry To Wait For A Bracha

The gemara Brachos (35a) says that it is forbidden to eat without making a bracha. The gemara adds that it is stealing from Hashem.  This implies than more than an obligation to make a bracha, under no circumstances may you eat without making one.  If it is a mitzva to make a bracha, then under duress when you are an Ones you may eat without one.  But if it is forbidden, then only in situations where it is Pikuach Nefesh, life dependent, would you be able to eat without making a bracha.

There are times and places where you may not make a bracha.  For example it is forbidden to make a bracha if there is a Jewish married women who has her hair uncovered, or a women is not dressed properly and you cannot turn your face in another direction.  Most of these situations can be cleared up and you can then eat, but what if it lingers for a long time.  For example if someone is in a hospital where there is a bad smell or the person himself is unclean, must he wait until he is on the threshold of death before eating?

Rav Vosner (Shevet HaLevi 6:23) says that it is clear to him that in these situations you may eat without a bracha.  He brings proof from the Mishna in Brachos that says that a Ba'al Keri should not make a bracha before he eats.  The Mishna in that case is surely not talking about a case of Pikuach Nefesh, says Rav Vosner.  Therefore he says that your hunger need not be life threatening, but even if you are an Ones because you would be forced to go a prolonged period without being able to make a bracha, you may eat without one.

How long is a prolonged period?  Rav Vosner says a full day just like a fast day.  This is considered painful and damaging and would qualify you as an Ones.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions. 


Wed, 17 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Dessert - There Is Nothing Like Good Ole Apple Pie Breads that are eaten as a snack but not eaten as a meal are referred to as Pas Ha'ba B'kisnin. These breads generally require a mezonos and al hamichya and there is no need to wash prior to eating them.

There is a three way machlokes Rishonim as to what falls under the category of Pas Ha'ba B'kisnin:

                        1. Pie - dough formed into a pocket filled with fruits or other food

                        2. Cake - flour kneaded with liquid other than water (eggs, juice, etc.)

                        3. Crackers - dry thin bread (pretzels)

The Shulchan Aruch (168:4) writes that because of the machlokes as to the definition of pas ha'ba b'kisnin, we must treat all three types as mezonos and not recite a hamotzei on them.  

When it comes to desserts the poskim take the opposite approach.  If pas ha'ba b'kisnin is eaten for dessert, while it should require a separate bracha since it is not part of the meal, a bracha should be made.  However, the Biur Halacha (168) writes that since any one of these three types of pas ha'ba b'kisnin may in fact be bread we follow the rules of Safek Brachos L'hakel and therefore don't make a bracha on them.  However, the Biur Halacha explains that if you were to eat a food that fits all three definitions of pas ha'ba b'kisnin then one should make a mezonos if eaten as a dessert during the meal.  R' Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg is quoted as saying that some apple pies do in fact fit all three definitions as it has a filling, is baked with other liquids, and can be dry and thin on top and would therefore necessitate a bracha even when eaten during a meal.

Thu, 11 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
At Weddings, Bar Mitzvos, Sheva Brachos, Think Before You Eat If one eats a non-mezonos food prior to a meal in which he intends on washing, he may be obligated to make both a bracha rishona and bracha achrona on that food even if he will have a full meal and bentch following the bread-meal. These halachos come up often at weddings bar mitzvos sheva brachos and other parties when eating at a shmorgasboard prior to washing for the meal.

If the food eaten before the meal, which would require a separate bracha during the meal (e.g., fruit) is eaten with the intention of exempting the person from making a bracha when eating that food during the meal, then he should make a bracha rishona but no bracha achrona because the birchas hamazon will  cover the food item eaten during the meal along with the one eaten before the meal.  The eating before the meal will be considered part of the same meal.  However, if you do not intend on eating that food during the meal, then you must make a bracha achrona on the food eaten before the meal prior to washing because there is no connection between that food and the meal (Mishna Brura 176:2).

If the food item is one that otherwise would not require a separate bracha during the meal because it is a food eaten as part of the meal (e.g. chicken or vegetables, as opposed to dessert items), then even if one intends to eat the same food during the meal, the food eaten before washing would not be considered part of the meal and therefore require its own bracha rishona and bracha achrona prior to the meal (Mishna Brura 176:2).

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Elyashiv Get Their Last Licks The general halacha is that food eaten at dessert time requires a separate bracha and is not exempt with a birchas hamotzei (Shulchan Aruch 177).  Since the food eaten at dessert is not considered "part of the meal" it necessitates its own bracha.  There are numerous exceptions to this rule including cakes (because they may be considered bread) and drinks (which are always considered part of the meal) on which no bracha is made even when eaten as a dessert.

There is a machlokes amongst the poskim whether or not ice cream requires a shehakol when served as a dessert.  Many poskim rule that one must make a shehakol on ice cream when served as a dessert (Piskei Teshuvos 177:3 in the name of R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and R' Elyashiv) since ice cream is served as a sweet and is not served to satiate as part of the meal.  Others hold that since ice cream is really a liquid consistency it should be viewed as a drink and not require a separate bracha when served a dessert (Kinyan Hatorah 4:19).

The Piskei Teshuvos recommends that one should make a bracha on something that would surely require a separate shehakol for dessert (candy) and have in mind the ice cream and thus not have a issue with making a separate bracha on the ice cream itself.              

Mon, 18 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Eat Before Time Runs Out K"day Achilas Pras - Some Achronim pasken that the shiur of k'day achilas pras is 6 minutes.  The Aruch Hashulchan writes that the shiur is equal to 3 or 4 minutes.  The Marcheshes writes that the accepted time is 3.6 minutes, however, R'Moshe Feinstein (O"C 4:41) paskens that one must make sure to eat a k'zayis of bread within 3 minutes in order to recite birchas hamazon.  

K'day Shtiyas Riviis - Many Achronim hold that this timeframe is the same as K'day Achilas Pras.  Other Achronim including the Mishna Brura (Shaar Hatziyon 210:11) hold that one must drink a reviis in a maximum of two gulps with a short pause between the two gulps.

Shiur Ikul - R' Bodner in his sefer on brachos writes that for small quantities of food one has 30 minutes until he can no longer recite a bracha achrona.  For larger bread meals, one generally has 72 minutes until he can no longer recite birchas hamazon for the k'zayis.  The Kaf HaChaim (184:28) paskens, that if 72 minutes have passed and you still do not feel hungry you may recite birchas hamazon.  If you are unsure whether or not you are still hungry, R' Bodner writes that you should eat another k'zayis of bread without a new hamotzei and then recite birchas hamazon.  If one can not eat another k'zayis and is unsure if he is hungry, he may not recite birchas hamazon.    


Thu, 30 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Moshe Shternbuch - Washing After The Bathroom, Even The Chofetz Chaim Did Not Do Like The Mishna Brura If you come out of the bathroom before washing your hands for a Seuda, the Mishna Brura (165:2-3) says you should wash your hands in a way that is not halachically correct for Netilas Yadayim and say Asher Yatzar.  After, you should wash properly and say Al Netilas Yadayim.  He also brings that some say you should wash properly and say Al Netilas Yadayim and then Asher Yatzar.  The Mishna Brura says you can rely on this only b'dieved.

Rav Moshe Shternbuch writes (1:168) that he heard that the best thing to do is to wash properly and say Al Netilas Yadayim.  After drying your hands, before eating the bread, you should say Asher Yatzar since the Shulchan Aruch says that you need not refrain from making a hefsek after drying your hands before HaMotzi.  Although it says that it is still better not to be Mafsik, certainly making and Asher Yatzar is not a hefsek and this is the best solution.

Rav Shternbuch says that his Rebbi, Rav Moshe Schneider witnessed the Chofetz Chaim wash his hands only once and say Al Netilas Yadayim and then say Asher Yatzar after drying his hands, not in accordance with what is written in the Mishna Brura.  The Chazon Ish was also noheg this way as well.

Mon, 27 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
K'zayis of Bread: Get it in Early Birchas Hamazon is only required when one eats at least a k'zayis of bread within a certain timeframe known as "k'day achilas pras" (varying from 2 to 9 minutes according to different poskim).   If one eats less than a k'zayis of bread or more than a k'zayis of bread but in a longer timeframe than k'day achilas pras, he can not recite birchas hamazon. 

R' Moshe Feinstein writes (IG"M O"C 1:76) that even if one eats a large seuda and is very full at the conclusion of the meal, he can not recite birchas hamazon if he ate less than a k'zayis of bread within the timeframe of  k'day achilas pras.

Based on this, the Piskei Teshuvos (184:13) recommends that one should try to eat a k'zayis of bread right at the beginning of a bread meal to ensure that he has eaten a k'zayis of bread within k'day achilas pras and does not have any concerns about reciting birchas hamazon at the conclusion of a meal.  Furthermore, this would seem to be even more relevant to a Pesach meal where matza is eaten instead of bread and a large piece of matza would be needed to be eaten in a k'day achilas pras to require birchas hamazon.    

Tue, 21 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Seder Night: 4 cups, 3 Matzos, 2 Dips... Only 1 Hoadama One of the reasons for eating karpas at the seder is so that no bracha need be made on the maror. On the one hand, maror should require its own bracha (even though it is during the bread-meal) being that it is neither part of the meal nor enhancing the meal. On the other hand,since it was on the table at the time the hamotzei is recited and everyone knows it will be eaten during the meal, a separate bracha should not be needed. To alleviate this problem we make a hoadama on karpas and have in mind the maror as well.

However, there is a debate amongst the rishonim as to how much of karpas one may eat. The Vilna Gaon held that one should eat more than a k'zayis of karpas because otherwise it is not considered an achilla.  Additionally, less that a k'zayis would not necessitate washing (orchatz). Most other poskim (e.g., Shulchan Aruch 473:6) hold that one should be careful not to eat a k'zayis because eating a k'zayis may require a bracha achrona and if a bracha achrona is made the hoadama will no longer work to include the maror.

As explained in a previous Brachos article, "Time Out for Bracha Rishona," it is not problematic that a bracha rishona was made on karpas and there may be as much as a two hour gap until the maror is eaten because a bracha rishona does not expire from being in effect so long as on had in mind a specific food that he may eat later on.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Gebruchts on Pesach: No Benefit for Zimun When a group of three men eat a bread meal together they are required to make a zimun for bentching.  When a group of ten men eat together at the same type of meal, they form a zimun and can use the shem Hashem when reciting the zimun. 

In instances where a zimun of three is one man short or a zimun of ten is short three men or fewer, the zimun may be completed with people who did not eat bread.  While the Piskei Teshuvos (197:2) writes that it is preferable that the person who completes the zimun should have eaten food on which a mezonos is made, such a preference is not required.  The Shulchan Aruch (197:2) writes that even if the third man merely ate vegetables or drank a reviis of anything other than water, he may be counted towards the zimun if he is required to make a bracha achrona.  However, the Mishna Brura warns (197:9) that the person who did not eat bread may not recite a bracha achrona (al hamichya/borei nefashos) prior to joining the zimun.  Once a bracha achrona is recited, he may no longer join the zimun.

This halacha is especially relevant on Pesach, a time when there are no mezonos products available at least for those who do not eat gebruchts.  Even when the third person didn't eat a mezonos product he can still join the zimun if he ate any food other than water which requires a bracha achrona.      

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Sugar Crisp and Crispix - Can't Get Enough Of....Brachos
Sugar Crisp - The proper bracha on puffed wheat kernels that are not cooked is borei pri hoadama.  A mezonos is only made if the grain is made into something but if it remains in its initial stage, a hoadama should be made.  If the puffed wheat kernels are cooked, then even if the kernels remain whole the bracha would be mezonos.


It would seem from this that Sugar Crisp, which is sugar coated puffed wheat, would require a hoadama since the kernels are still intact and have not been cooked.  However, R' Moshe Feinstein writes (O"C 4:45) that one may make a mezonos on Sugar Crisp because this form of puffed wheat is made to be satiating and may be the equivalent to cooking it and as such a mezonos could be made.  R' Moshe therefore concludes that while a borei pri hoadama would seem to be the more proper bracha, either bracha would be valid.     

Crispix - Crispix is made up of half rice and half corn.  Even though the rice portion requires a mezonos, since rice is not one of the five grains, it is not given special distinction in determining the bracha on crispix.  Since the cereal consists of corn (hoadama) and rice (mezonos) equally, R Binyamin Forst in his sefer on Brachos writes that one should make both brachos on crispix.  One should break a piece of the cereal in half and make a hoadama on the corn portion and a mezonos on the rice portion. 


Wed, 18 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Beware On Purim - Don't Drink And Daven

The Piskei Teshuvos (based on the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brura 95:1 and other poskim) summarizes the halachos of brachos with regard to one in a drunken state.  He breaks the discussion down into three levels of drunkenness and their respective halachic ramifications:

            1.  If one drank less than a reviis of wine not during a meal, or more than a reviis of wine or whiskey (any amount) during a meal, but does not feel like the alcohol affected him at all, he may daven shmoneh esrei and surely may recite all other brachos including bentching.

            2. If one drank more than a reviis of wine, or any amount of whiskey whether or not during a meal, if he feels light headed (even if his speech is not slurred from the drinking) then lechatchila he should not daven shmoneh esrei or recite krias shema until he feels like the alcohol is out of his system.  However, if he will be forced to daven without a minyan later or miss zman tefilah by not davening now, he may daven even while feeling light headed.  However, he should make sure to use a siddur while davening.  Other brachos including bentching are permitted to recite in his current situation. 

            3.  If one drank wine or whiskey and is so drunk that he can not talk properly and can not walk straight then in no situation is it permitted for him to daven even if he will miss zman tefilah.  The Shulchan Aruch writes that if one does daven in such a state it is the equivalent of serving avodah zarah.  With regard to other brachos it is preferred that he wait until he sobers up a little bit before making such brachos but if he makes other brachos in such a state he is yotzei.      

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
K'zayis - Not The Minimum

One must eat a minimum amount of food (generally a k'zayis) to be obligated in reciting a bracha achrona.  If less than a k'zayis was eaten, no bracha achrona would be required.  However, the Shulchan Aruch writes (210:1) that there are those who hold that if one eats an entire food item in its original form ("beryah") even if the food item is smaller than a k'zayis, a bracha achrona is required.  Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch advises that one should refrain from eating a food item that is smaller than a k'zayis unless he intends to eat at least a k'zayis of it in the requisite time.

Common examples include small grapes that are less than a k'zayis as well as beans and raisins.  If any of these items are eaten, one should be careful to eat a k'zayis worth of them so as to not get into a safek brachos.  This halacha applies even in instances in which a peel is removed prior to eating a fruit such as a manderine orange.  If a person eats a peeled manderine orange that is less than a k'zayis he may be required to recite a bracha achrona being that he ate an entire beryah.

The Piskei Teshuvos writes (210:5) that one can remove himself from such a safek if he were to cut the food item into two prior to making the bracha rishona and then eat the cut pieces one after another and not at the same time. 

Tue, 03 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000 The Shulchan Oruch (O.C. 183:11) says that if someone is on the move, Mehalech, and has to eat, he doesn’t have to stop before saying the corresponding Brochos, for, since he is in a hurry he won’t be able to concentrate on what he is saying for fear of being late. He is, therefore, allowed to say his Brochos on to go, including Birkas HaMozon. The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 63:3) also says that someone who is driving a carriage or riding a horse has the din of a Mehalech.

The question is, what about someone who’s driving a car? What about the passengers?  The Piskei Tshuvos (183:20:83) says that, halachicly the driver is allowed to say all his Brochos, including Birkas HaMozon, while driving the car. If, however, he started to eat when the car was stationary, then there’s no din Mehalech and he would have to stop the car for saying Brochoh Acharonoh or Birkas HaMozon.

Nevertheless, says the Piskei Teshuvos, if the eating session started while the car was moving, since both driving and benching require concentration, it would be a hidur to stop the car, if it’s at all possible, even though he is not halachicly required to do so.  However if only the passengers will bench, there’s absolutely no requirement of stopping the car.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

This article has not been reviewed by the posek of the AskRevach section, Rav Peretz Moncharsh. Any questions regarding this topic and Halacha L’Maaseh may be asked to him at

Sun, 22 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
A Taste Of Your Own Medicine Medicines that have a bad taste or even no taste at all do not require a bracha.  They are not considered food and therefore can be eaten without a bracha.  The debate amongst the poskim arises in instances where the medicine has a pleasant taste. 

Some poskim hold that as long as the medicine has a pleasant taste a bracha is required because, as numerous Gemaras state "it is forbidden to derive a pleasure in this world without making a bracha first."  However, R' Bodner in his sefer on Brachos writes that he heard from R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that even when a medicine has a pleasant taste a bracha should not be made.  His reasoning is that since the choleh would not eat the medicine if he weren't sick, eating medicine does not constitute deriving a pleasure.

R' Bodner goes a step further and explains that medicines that people do eat on occasion even when they are not ill such as cough drops and Tums are subject to a bracha.    

Tue, 17 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
An Ap"peel"ing Bracha The Mishna Berura writes (202:39) that there is a machlokes amongst the poskim whether to make a shehakol or ha'etz on orange peels glazed in honey. 

The Piskei Teshuvos (202:13) explains that if an orange tree is planted with the intentions of eating the peel, then a ha'etz would be required on the peel but if the general mindset of the planter is only for the fruit then a shehakol would be made on the peel.  Therefore, in the times of the Mishna Berura, when it was common to glaze the peel in honey and eat it, there were those who paskened that a ha'etz should be made.  However, nowadays when the sole intention of a planter is to plant for the fruit, a shehakol should always be made on the peel.  The same would be true if the peel were covered in chocolate, sugar or any other coating, a shehakol would always be the appropriate bracha.  

This halacha only applies to peels of fruits that are not generally eaten.  However, peels of fruits which are common to be eaten do require a ha'etz even when eaten alone without any topping (Piskei Teshuvos based on the Mishna berura in 203:10).  Common examples would include the peel of an apple, plum or peach.     

Tue, 10 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Smoking: Is A Bracha Required? Eating requires a bracha rishona, but merely tasting something and then spitting it out without digesting it does not require a bracha (Shulchan Aruch 210:2).  This commonly happens when a cook wants to taste something to see if spices need to be added to a dish.

The Magen Avraham (210:9) debates whether or not a bracha is required when smoking "Tabak."  On the one hand it is similar to tasting and then spitting out which does not require a bracha being that the smoke is never digested.  On the other hand this should be no different than smelling besamim which does require a bracha rishona.  Even more so here there is more reason to require a bracha since some people actually swallow the tabak. 

The Minhag Yisroel Torah (210) brings down from the K'sav Sofer that based on the shaila posed by the Magen Avraham, R' Mordechai Banet, prior to smoking a cigarette, would make a shehakol on another food item with the intent to include the cigarette as well.  Should the cigarette require a bracha, the shehakol (an all encompassing bracha) would include it.  However the Minhag Yisrael Torah writes that the minhag b'zman hazeh is not to make a bracha prior to smoking. 

Thu, 05 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000