Types of Blessings

Blessings: Morning (Birchot HaShachar)

In the morning blessings, say she’asa li kol tzarki even if you are not wearing shoes (even on Tish’a B’Av morning).

Blessings: Food: General Rules

Food When No One Will Bless

You should feed a poor Jew, even if he or she won’t say a blessing on the food. If a Jew is not poor, you should not give him or her food unless he or she (or someone else–it could be yourself) says a blessing on it for him/her.

Note: If someone else says the blessing for the poor person, the person saying the blessing must also eat some of that food.

You may sell food to Jews even if they will not make a blessing over it (you may of course sell to non-Jews since they are not required to say a blessing on it).

Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): General Rules

Priorities

You must say the blessing which was designed to be said on each type of food. B’diavad, a lower level blessing will still cover the food.

From lowest to highest level, here are the food fore-blessings:

* She’hakol,

* Borei pri ha’adama,

* Borei pri ha’eitz (on common fruits),

* Borei pri ha’eitz (on the Five Special Fruits)

Note: You will only say borei pri ha’eitz ONCE to include both common fruits and also special fruits that you will eat at one sitting

* Borei minei mezonot,

* Borei pri ha’gafen, and

* Ha’motzi lechem min ha’aretz.

In general, say the highest-level fore-blessing (bracha rishona) on a food.

Note: As some foods get processed by cooking or by other means, they qualify for a higher levelblessing.

Examples:

Raw, rolled oats only merit the fore-blessing of she’hakol. But once the oats are cooked, the blessing of borei minei mezonot applies.

Note: Raw oats could get the fore-blessing borei pri ha’adama, since they grow directly in the earth. But because oats are not normally considered edible when raw, they get demoted to she’hakol.

A raw grape or raisin gets the blessing of borei pri ha’eitz. But once made into wine or grape juice, it merits borei pri ha’gafen.

Minimum Measurements

Always say one of the six fore-blessings (bracha rishona) before eating, as long as you expect to get enjoyment or benefit from whatever you ate, even when eating:

* Less than a minimal quantity (minimal shiur), or

* Eating a small (kolshehu) amount of food.

Examples:

Say a fore-blessing before you taste food you are cooking.

Say a fore-blessing before you taste a tiny amount of honeysuckle nectar.

Exception: Do not say a fore-blessing on water that you drink with medicine.

Time Limit

You may continue eating without saying a new fore-blessing–without a time limit–as long as you are not involved in some other activity that distracts you from eating (hesech da’at).

Example:

Situation: You are eating and take a break to do work for your business or read a magazine article that involves your concentration.

What To Do: You may not continue eating unless you say a new fore-blessing.

Note: This is true whether you became full at any time or not.

Food Categories

Your fore-blessing covers all other same-category foods that you will eat at the same time (same sitting), if:

  1. They are in front of you when you say the blessing, OR
  2. You intend your blessing to cover all other same-category foods that you own and will eat at the same sitting–even if they are not in front of you when you make the blessing.

Note: You do not need to state your intention out loud, just think it. If you usually have this intention but you forgot on an occasion, you do not need to say new blessings on the subsequent foods of that type that you already own.

Examples in Your Home:

You say she’hakol over two kinds of she’hakol foods on your table. The blessing also covers a third she’hakol food in your refrigerator and a fourth in your pantry that you know you own.

You say she’hakol and are eating an omelette when a visitor brings you a gift of chocolates: you must say a new she’hakol blessing before eating the chocolates.

Note: Anytime your spouse is serving you food, it is assumed that your initial foreblessings will cover all food that you will eat.

Examples outside Your Home

Guest at Someone’s Home

Whenever you are a guest at someone else’s house, it is assumed that whatever foods you will eat, will be covered by your initial fore-blessing as long as they are in the same category.

Attendee at Kiddush or Wedding

If you say she’hakol over fish at a kiddush or wedding, the blessing covers all she’hakol foods in the room.

Diner in Restaurant

If you have made an order in a restaurant, all ordered foods will be covered by your first fore-blessing(s). However, if you later order more food, even if the fore-blessings are the same, you must still say a new fore-blessing.

HaMotzi and Desserts

For details on HaMotzi and desserts, see Which Foods HaMotzi Covers.

Identifiable Produce

Say borei pri ha’eitz or borei pri ha’adama for foods made of identifiable pieces of fruit or vegetables.

Note: Even if you know the ingredients in a prepared food–such as grated apples–you must see identifiable pieces in order to say a specific blessing (borei pri ha’eitz, borei pri ha’adama…). If no ingredients are visually identifiable, you must say she’hakol (or possibly borei minei mezonot).

Example: Say borei pri ha’adama on a potato kugel with coarsely ground potatoes; if the potatoes are pulverized, say she’hakol.

When Not Thirsty

Do not say a blessing on water that you drink before you are thirsty in order to prevent thirst later.

Do not say a blessing if you drink water in order to swallow pills.

Forgetting

Situation: You ate some food and do not remember whether you had said the after-blessing. Now you want to eat or drink more food. What To Do Depends on if what you want to eat or drink is water.

Not Water:

If the food or drink had been in front of you when you had said the blessing before, do not say it again. If the food or drink was not in front of you and was also not available to you when you said the first fore-blessing, say a new fore-blessing.

Water (after having drunk water earlier in the same place):

If you are not certain whether you had said the after-blessing and even if you definitely did NOT say the after blessing, do not say a new fore-blessing.

Reason: Water is always considered to be in front of you (in the water pipe).

Incorrect Blessing

Situation: You say the incorrect blessing over food in front of you but you also have a food in front of you that does fit the blessing.

What To Do: You may eat the food covered by your actual blessing, and then say the correct blessing for the food you originally intended to eat.

Note: You may not go into a different room to find food that qualifies for the incorrect food blessing. You should instead say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l’olam va’ed as soon as possible.

Note: There is no specific time limit beyond which you may no longer say Baruch shem kevod malchuto l’olam va’ed.

Changing Location

The fore-blessing (bracha rishona) must be said where you eat. However, sometimes you may begin eating in one domain and continue eating in another domain. A domain may be any physically limited area (car, house, restaurant, office building) or the outdoors (highway, park, etc.). Once you left the first place, you are considered to have had an interruption of thought (hesech da’at) and are no longer eating that original snack or meal. Whether you say a new fore-blessing depends on your intention when you said the foreblessing:

Do not say a new fore-blessing if you had intended to go to the second place, as long as the food at the second place is in the same food categories as what you already blessed on at the first place.

Say a new fore-blessing if you had not intended to continue eating in the second domain, even if you had planned to return to that first place and continue eating.

Exception: You do not need to make a new fore-blessing if:

You return to the first place and even one person who was eating with you is still there, OR

You had eaten bread or mezonot and then left but had not said the after-blessings of birkat ha’mazon or al ha’michya, even if no one is left from before.

Reason: Since you are required to say birkat ha’mazon or al ha’michya, you are still considered to be continuing your meal.

Note: As long as you are under the same roof, do not say new blessings on food at the new place (such as when switching seats or even rooms in a restaurant).

Exception: Even if you washed your hands and said ha’motzi at the first place, say a new blessing on food that would have required a new blessing at the first place, such as new wine or any dessert other than mezonot.

Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona) in Vain (Bracha L’Vatala)

To avoid making a blessing in vain (bracha l’vatala), you may intend a fore-blessing to cover all other foods of that category that you will eat at the same time.

Note: You may make the condition:

Each time you eat, or

Once and intend it to apply to all future instances.

Note:You then do NOT say new fore-blessings on these new same-category foods.

Fore-Blessing (Bracha Rishona): Liquid from Foods

When you have said a fore-blessing on one type of food, such as borei pri ha’adama on vegetables, you do not need to say she’hakol on the liquid that remains after having eaten the solid vegetables.

Reason: The fore-blessing covers all components, even if they are not the same classification.

Note: If you ate the vegetables, said the after-blessing, and then later came back and drank the liquid, you would need to say she’hakol.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their web site for more information.

This material is provided for informational purposes only – not a substitute for the consultation of a competent rabbi.