Tzarich Iyun: Making Berachot after Kiddush

Misconception:After drinking wine at a kiddush, one is required to make a separate berachah (blessing) over soda and other liquids.

Fact: Assuming one drank some wine or grape juice, the borei peri hagafen recited over it exempts all drinks within the collation, much the same way that hamotzi covers other foods.

Background: Over the centuries, rabbinic authorities have wrestled with this halachah and reached varied conclusions. A sampling of the opinions will be cited, but emphasis will be given to the majority opinion as found in the Shulchan Aruch, Mishnah Berurah, and contemporary posekim.

Unlike most other fruit juices over which a shehakol is said,[1] wine has a special status and hence merits its own berachah (Mishnah, Berachot 6:1). In this sense, wine is similar to bread, which, unlike all other grain products, merits the berachah of hamotzi. This is partly because bread and wine are considered among the main “foods of sustenance” (see e.g. Eichah 2:12 and Bava Batra 90b) as well as the “principal components of a meal.”[2] Wine, however, has a further distinction in that even after one has recited hagafen, if another brand of wine is brought out, one may have to recite another berachah, hatov vehameitiv.[3] (The proposal that a change of bread warrants an additional berachah was soundly rejected.)[4] The recital of hatov vehameitiv is based on the fact that wine “causes God and people to rejoice.”[5]

The uniqueness of bread and wine is noted in the Gemara; Rav Chiya taught (Berachot 41b) that “[The blessing on] bread exempts all other foods, and [the blessing on] wine exempts all other drinks.” Tosafot (ibid, s.v. eey hachi) explains that the reason behind this halachah is that wine, when present, is considered the main drink, and all other drinks are subordinate to it. Rav Chiya’s ruling, however, was not universally accepted.[6] Tosafot (ibid, s.v. veyayin; cf Tosafot Berachot 42a) rules against Rav Chiya. Moreover, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 174:3) notes that this halachah is not found in the Rambam or the Tur and suggests that it was appropriate for them to omit it because, according to his understanding, the Gemara rejects Rav Chiya’s ruling.[7] Thus, according to Tosafot, Rambam and the Tur, the hagafen recited over wine has no bearing on subsequent drinks.

However, Rosh, Rabbeinu Yonah, Ohr Zarua, Ra’avad, Rashba, Ritva and many others rule that wine does exempt other drinks. The halachah as decided in the Shulchan Aruch and Rema (OC 174:2) is that the berachot recited before and after wine suffice for all other liquids drunk during that repast.[8] There is also a minority view that if the wine is drunk purely for sacramental purposes and not because the person desires to drink it, such as often occurs with Kiddush, it does not exempt subsequent drinks.[9] However, the Mishnah Berurah (174:39) and Shulchan Aruch Harav (174:4) disagree with this approach. In light of the principle of safek berachot lehakel (when in doubt regarding berachot, we rule leniently and do not recite the berachah), it would seem that the halachah should follow the opinion that even “sacramental” wine exempts other liquids. Certainly having in mind to exempt other beverages while drinking “sacramental wine” would—according to most authorities—absolve one from having to make future berachot.[10]

According to many authorities, in order for the hagafen to cover other liquids, they must be present at the time the berachah is recited. However, significant decisors reject this condition. [11] Almost all,[12] however, agree that it is necessary to drink some of the wine (Mishnah Berurah 174:3)[13] and merely listening to someone else recite Kiddush, while fulfilling the Kiddush obligation, does not suffice to exempt future drinks. According to some opinions, as long as one does not make a conscious decision to stop drinking wine, he is exempt from making any further berachot. Others say that all that is necessary is that some wine remain available.[14]

Thus, in most cases when a person makes Kiddush and drinks some of the wine, there is no need to make further berachot on water, soda, orange juice or apple juice that are subsequently drunk. It would even seem that if one bentched over a cup of wine,[15] drank the wine and then wanted to drink coffee there would be no need to recite a shehakol.16

Similarly, the concluding blessing for wine—meiein shalosh (“al hagefen”)—covers the other drinks.[17] Most people are unaware of the significance of hagafen and thus, may end up making unnecessary berachot.

Notes:

1.There may be other exceptions. For example, some authorities rule that tomato juice requires a borei peri ha’adamah. However, unlike the blessing of hagafen which is recited only over wine, ha’admah is recited over all vegetables.

2. Zohar, Balak 189b based on Proverbs 9:5.

3. Yerushalmi Berachot 6:8; Bavli Berachot 59b and Pesachim 101a; Shulchan Aruch OC 175:1-6.

4. See Beit Yosef to OC 175.

5. See Berachot 35b and Shulchan Aruch Harav OC 175:1.

6. For a discussion of this halachah see Torah Loda’at 4:103 and Yechave Da’at 5:20.

7. The Aruch Hashulchan, while arguing that the halachah should not follow Rav Chiya, acknowledges that others have ruled that wine exempts other drinks and when faced with a rabbinic doubt, we are lenient; in the previous paragraph, he lays out his opinion of when the rule applies.

8. Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum, Vezot Haberachah, 5760, p. 267-9, discusses whether this rule applies as well to grape juice. On pages 99 and 267, he quotes Rav Elyashiv (whom he refers to as “one of the gedolei hador” throughout the sefer without using his actual name) who questions whether or not this rule applies to grape juice, and who therefore concludes that one should act stringently by including any new liquids in a berachah one recites over solid food (e.g. make a shehakol over fish and that will cover the orange juice one plans to drink as well). Rav Y. P. Bodner (Sefer V’ten Berachah [The Halachot of Berachot], 1989, p. 99) opines that concerning this halachah, grape juice and wine are equivalent. The prevalent custom seems to be not to differentiate between wine and grape juice. Hagafen can also cover soups, even those that require the blessing of ha’adamah such as vegetable soups (Rav Chaim Kanievsky, quoted in Tzohar, [Rav Elyakim Dvorkes, editor] vol. 5 (5759), pp. 117-118). The Ketzot HaShulchan (Badei Hashulchan 53:28) questions whether ha’adamah soups can be covered by the hagafen since their berachah indicates that they are halachically regarded as vegetables and not drinks. However, “watery” foods such as leben and yogurt can be included and according to Rav Elyashiv, even solidified liquid like ice cream and sour cream (Mandelbaum, p. 100). Mandelbaum has a comprehensive analysis of this halachah on pages 264-267 and 294-296.

9. See Chayei Adam 55:6 with Nishmat Adam 55:1 and Shut Kol Eliyahu 2:OC: 7.

10. See Birkei Yosef 175:1 cited in Kaf HaChaim 175:2.

11. Mishnah Berurah 174:3; cf Shut Chatam Sofer OC:47.

12. Ironically, it is the Aruch Hashulchan OC 174:3, who concludes that merely hearing Kiddush possibly suffices.

13. It is questionable if a sip is sufficient or if an entire melo lugmav (cheekful—about 1.7 fl. oz.) is required. See Biur Halachah 174:2; Sha’ar Hatziyun 174:9; Yechava Da’at 5:20; Shulchan Aruch Harav 174:4 and Minchat Yitzchak 8:19. Rav Chaim Kanievsky (quoted in Tzohar, [Rav Elyakim Dvorkes, ed.] vol. 5 (5759), pp. 117-118) observes that the minhag is to be lenient and even a sip suffices to exempt other drinks. Rav Ovadia Yosef rules similarly (See Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Yalkut Yosef, vol. 3, 5751, p. 166). (There are those who suggest that in order to satisfy all halachic opinions, a berachah should be recited on another food item, e.g. making a shehakol on fish and then drinking the soda.) The hagafen exempts even if one only takes a sip of the grape juice and his sole intention is to exempt future drinks. This is unlike hamotzi which does not cover other foods unless the bread is truly the staple and at least a kezayit is eaten (see Iggerot Moshe OC 4:41).

14. Rabbi Moshe Levi, Sefer Birchat Hashem (5760), vol. 3, pp. 389-394 (notes 311-312). See all of chapter 10, section 6 (pages 387-399) on this topic. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (49:4-6) rules that if while reciting hagafen, one has in mind to drink other liquids or other liquids are in front of him, then he is certainly not required to make a new berachah.

15. See “Legal-ease: What’s the Truth about … Birkat Hamazon over Wine?” Jewish Action, winter 2000, 62-3.

16. See Ginat Veradim (Rav Avraham Halevi, Egypt, 17th century, reprinted 5751), OC 1:1 who says this explicitly after a long discussion of this topic. See also Yalkut Yosef, ibid, p. 171.

17. This only applies when the wine was drunk first. If a person first drinks water or other liquids and then wine (a situation which obviously cannot occur with Kiddush because it is prohibited to eat or drink anything—even water—between davening and Kiddush, Aruch Hashulchan OC 289:4), most authorities would require that a borei nefashot and an al hagefen be said (see Rav Moshe Levi, ibid, pp. 397-399, notes 325-327 who cites Shiltei Giborim and the Mordechai).

Reprinted from JEWISH ACTION Magazine, Winter 5763/2002 issue