shabbos candles

Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

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 Mishpotim


Hilchos B'rachos part XXV

Main and Secondary , Part II

            A mixture of two or more items.

The laws of ikar and tafel also apply to a mixture comprised of various items, where one will often only recite a single bracha.

Examples of various mixtures: rice and chicken, fruit salad, cholent, apple pie, vegetable salad, salad with croutons, chicken soup with vegetables and many more.

In such cases, is one required to recite two berachos or is one sufficient? What factors determine the correct bracha?

 Two factors determine the correct bracha. The first is to determine which item is the main ingredient. The second, when there is no main ingredient, which is the dominant item.

Importance: When there are two ingredients or more in a mixture and one of them is more important than the other, one only recites a bracha on the main ingredient. [1]

How does one determine importance?

One item enhances the other. [2]

Raisins mixed into rice, pomegranate mixed into lettuce salad, almonds in cabbage salad. In all these cases the important item is the rice, the lettuce, the cabbage, and the tafel item enhances the main item. One recites a single bracha over the important item and it will include the tafel item.

The same applies to cake where fruit is placed on the cake, or cake crumbs sprinkled on ice cream. One recites a single bracha over the main item, and it includes the tafel.

What if the main item is less in quantity?

The poskim write that even in this case one recites a single bracha over the main item. [3] This might be practical with meat balls or gefilte fish packed with ground matza or breadcrumbs. Even though breadcrumbs are important and they might be dominant, nevertheless, the main item is the meat or fish and a shehakol will include everything. [4]

The majority

When two or more items are in a mixture and are equally important, one recites the bracha on the majority. [5] The Mishna Berura presents a case where for Purim people would cook sesame seeds in honey and then mix it with broken nuts. He rules that if the sesame is the majority, one would recite haadamah only. No bracha is to be recited over the nuts.

How would this affect a fruit salad?

A fruit salad is a typical example of a mixture comprised of different items, where most often all items are equally important, with no particular preference. According to the Mishna Berura above, one would recite a single bracha, over the dominant item.

The Chayei Adam however says [6] that one only follows this rule when the smaller items are not noticeable and separated. When one can discern the pieces and they are separated one from another, one recites a bracha for each item.
The Mishna Berura rules that and one only recites a single bracha. [7] The Shulchan Aruch HaRav rules [8] that one recites a single bracha when cooked together, but if merely mixed together one recites two berachos.

How small must the pieces be to be considered a mixture?

It seems that the defining factor is if both items are usually scooped together into a spoon. If they are small enough that they are usually scooped up at the same time, it is a mixture. [9] If one needs to scoop them separately into a spoon they are not a mixture, and will require more than one bracha according to all opinions.

What if there is no majority of a single fruit, only a majority bracha?

For example, the boreh pri haeitz includes apples, pears and oranges, which total 30 pieces (10 apiece), and boreh pri haadamah includes banana and pineapple, which total 24 pieces (12 apiece). In total there is more haeitz, but each type is less than the haadamah, which bracha is recited?

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl ruled [10] that the haeitz species unite and form a coalition, which in total outnumber the haadamah. The bracha is haeitz.

What if I cannot discern what the majority is?

Many solutions are suggested, see footnote. [11] The most obvious is to add one of the species to make it a majority. Another option is to recite berachos on items that are not in the mixture, but this is a hidur and not always feasible.

Another is to recite two berachos on both species, subsequent to removing them from the mixture. Normally, to remove the tafel and recite a bracha is prohibited, but in this case, because there is doubt, one may remove both items and recite berachos on both.

[1] Siman 212:1 and MB 1.

[2] Based on MB 212:1 who says that one food is the other food.

[3] " ".

[4] See MB siman 212:1.

[5] MB siman 212:1.

[6] See Biur Halacha siman 212:1 " .

[7] See " where he cites many contemporary poskim who rule like the MB.

[8] Siman 204:17.

[9] See Oruch HaShulchan siman 212:2 and " ".

[10] Personal testimony.

[11] ' " '.


Vort on the Parsha

The Saba of Slabodka met a newlywed and asked him whether he helped his wife on Erev Shabbos. The avreich replied, of course, we find that the Amoraim helped at home on Erev Shabbos!!

The Saba smiled and said, tzadikl, is that the only reason, and what about that she has a lot of work to do on erev Shabbos, whats with your bein adam lachaveiro whats with aiding and easing another persons burden

For a printed version, click here.



One may receive and distribute these weekly shiurim by calling or writing: Office 99 Rechov Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim,
Phone Numbers:U.S. and Canada 732-370-3344 Israel 972-3-616-6340
 South Africa
078 1655 242 England 44-020-8731-6666 Australia 61-296835626 Switzerland 01141430288
e-mail:, or, weekly sponsorships are available as well. 

If you would like to send a question to Rav Ostroff, you can write to him at

Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.