370. The Bracha Mei’ein Shalosh

51:7 The seven special species of Israel as per Deuteronomy 8:8 are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. (The reference to honey in that verse is date honey, not bees’ honey.) Deuteronomy 8.9-10 continues by calling Israel “a land where you will not eat bread in poverty” and saying that we should “eat, be satisfied and bless.” Since bread is specified in the verse, we bentch on bread made of the five grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt. Bentching includes three brachos that fulfill the Biblical requirement plus a fourth, which was added by the Sages. On any cake or pastry of these grains, as well as on wine and grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates, one says a bracha that includes the themes of the three Biblical brachos of bentching and the additional fourth bracha. For this reason, it is called the “bracha mei’ein shalosh” – the single bracha that’s like three brachos.

51:8 The bracha mei’ein shalosh after cake or pastry is “al hamichya…” After wine, it’s “al hagafen…” On fruit, it’s “al ho’eitz…” If one eats fruits from the land of Israel, he concludes “for the land and for her fruit.” If one ate any combination of these items – cake and wine, fruit and wine, fruit and cake, or cake, fruit and wine – he combines them all in a single bracha. This is true even if he ate grapes and drank wine. When combining, al hamichya comes first, then al hagafen, then al ho’eitz. The conclusion of the bracha also reflects the multiple items; when combining, the words “al hakalkalah” are not said in the conclusion. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch urges us to commit this bracha to memory.