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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Beshalach


Hilchos B'rachos part XXIII

            Order of Berachos

            Is there any importance in the order one recites Berachos, and if yes, why?

            The Mishna Berachos 40b cites R Yehuda saying that for one who has fruits before him, one first recites the bracha on one of the seven species and Chachamim say that one recites the bracha on the fruit one prefers. [1]

            We therefore see from Chazal that there is significance to the order of Berachos, and it should not be taken lightly.

            The Shulchan Aruch HaRav writes [2] that it is a , and the Mishna Berura writes [3] that it is a . The consensus is that one should recite the bracha on the most important item. The poskim then argue as to what is considered the most important item. For example, an item one prefers over others, or one of the seven species. As we will see, the idea is to enhance the bracha to its utmost.

            What defines the correct order of Berachos?

            There are two categories: different berachos and different foods of the same bracha.

            Different Berachos

            Two or more items of different berachos, one recites the more important bracha, regardless of the type of food. The order of Berachos is:

1) Mezonos, 2) Gefen, 3) Eitz, 4) Adamah, 5) Shehakol. (In Lashon Hakodesh the acronym is , , , , ).

However, between eitz and haadamah, things are not that simple. Variables will dramatically change the order, as follows.

1)     Generally preferred [4]

2)     Seven species [5]

For example, one has an olive and a carrot. If one likes carrots more than olives, one would recite haadamah over the carrot and then haeitz for the olive. If no preference, one would recite haeitz, both because the olive is of the seven species and because when no preference, haeitz precedes haadamah.

Lmaase: cookies, lokshen and cake precede everything else, because one recites mezonos over them.

~          A piece of cake precedes a glass of Coke, even though one tends to always prefer Coke to anything else.

~          An apple precedes candy, even if one always prefers candy, because an apple is haeitz and candy is shehakol.

~          A melon and grapes and one prefers melon, one will recite haadamah on the melon and then haeitz on the grapes.

Must one finish eating the first item and only then recite the bracha on the second item?

One need not finish eating the first item, as the order of the berachos only deals with the reciting of the bracha and not with the entire eating.

What if a more important item is on the table but I do not want to eat it?

One need not recite a bracha on the more important item just for the sake of the bracha, as the order of berachos deals with the items one wishes to eat and not with items available.

Similar Berachos

When one wishes to eat several fruits and vegetables and they share the same bracha, one must recite the bracha over the most important item, as in the following list:

1)     Seven species, 2) Whole, 3) Preferred. [6]

2)     Within the seven species, one recites the bracha on the one closer to the , of , . A date precedes a grape because a date is 2nd from the second and a grape is 3rd from the first .

~          A date and an apple the date.

~          A whole apple precedes half a pear, even though the pear is preferred. If however one slices the apple before the bracha is recited, it loses its precedence.

~          Carrots and watermelon, the bracha is recited on the preferred item (watermelon, to most people). As stated, one need not eat the entire watermelon and only then eat the carrot. It is enough to have one bite of watermelon and then one may eat the carrot.

~          Rice and dates, one recites mezonos on the rice and then haeitz on the dates. [7]

~          Puffed wheat and figs, first recite haadamah on the puffed wheat and then haeitz on the figs. [8] The Mishna Berura writes that wheat precedes species mentioned later in the possuk.

If you recited a bracha on a secondary item instead of the main one, the bracha is valid. [9]

[1] There are two explanations to this statement, we will see beH later.

[2] Siman 168:1 with regards to reciting a bracha over a whole loaf or half a loaf.

[3] Siman 168:1.

[4] MB siman 211:9.

[5] MB siman 211:18.

[6] Based on siman 211:1 and MB 13.

[7] See " ' 1, a machlokes in this matter.

[8] MB siman 211:18. See also MB 27. The Vilna Gaon disagrees and when the Berachos are dissimilar, there is no precedence.

[9] MB siman 211:32-33.


Vort on the Parsha

Rav Y. Borodiansky, the Mashgiach in Kol Torah, related the following: He once went to visit the famed Mashgiach of Ponevez, Rav Yechezkel Levinstein ztzl, and he heard from within the apartment chairs being moved. Alarmed lest the Mashgiach had fallen over chairs and hurt himself, he opened the door, and to his immense surprise he saw that the Mashgiach had arranged two rows of chairs and was walking between them. Seeing the surprise on his face, the Mashgiach explained that he was imagining . So that we should understand, the Mashgiach was a pillar of emunah and had toiled on that middah his entire life. And yet he saw fit to entrench emunah more and more.

For a printed version, click here.



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