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Quiz: Blessings on Fruit

Quiz: Blessings on Fruit

Tu B’Shvat is a good time to brush up on the laws of blessings.

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These questions are on an advanced level. To learn the laws of blessings, try out the course at JewishPathways.com.

Question #1

If you sit down to eat a platter with the following items (in alphabetical order): almonds, apples, apricots, dates, figs, grapes, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts and raisins. On which fruit should you make the blessing -- and why?

See answer

1. You should say the blessing on the date. Since the verse in Deut. 8:8 praises the Land of Israel with 7 species (2 grains and 5 fruits), the Sages said that when you make a blessing “Ha’aitz” on different fruits -- and you plan on eating one of the fruits of the 7 species as well -- the blessing should be recited on fruits of the 7 species.

Even within the 7 species, the order is determined by how closely that specie appears in the verse to the word "land." The verse reads: "A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and [date] honey." The order, therefore, is: wheat, barley, olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates.

Furthermore, the blessing is said over fruits of the 7 species even when another fruit requires the blessing "Sheh-hechiyanu."

Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:1, 4.

Question #2

After making the proper blessing, do you have to also eat them in the order as outlined in the answer to question #1?

See answer

No. The Sages only said that the original blessing should be recited over fruits of the 7 species, thereby making the blessing more “special.” Beyond that, however, there is no requirement to eat them in any special order. (Source: Talmud - Brachot 40b)

Question #3

If you mistakenly made the blessing on the apricot (rather than a fruit of the 7 species), does that blessing cover the 5 fruits, or do they still require a new blessing? (The case is that the fruit of the 7 species was in front of you at the time of the blessing, but you did not have it specifically in mind, nor is it your custom to eat them in this setting, nor were they served to you by your host.)

See answer

The fruits of the 7 species still require their own blessing of “Ha’aitz!” This is because since you didn't have them specifically in mind at the time of the blessing -- and since you violated the halacha by not reciting the blessing over the fruits of the 7 species -- it is considered as if you were not planning to eat them. Therefore, they are not covered by the original blessing. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:5; Mishnah Berurah 33)

Question #4

What if you specifically had fruit of the 7 species in mind at the time of the blessing, and you knew that you should have made the blessing on them (but you didn't), do they still require their own blessing?

See answer

No. Even though the halacha requires you to say the blessing over the fruits of the 7 species, nevertheless if you had them specifically in mind when making the blessing on another fruit, that blessing is still effective for fruits of the 7 species.

Similarly, if you made the blessing “Shehakol” (by mistake or intentionally) on food requiring a different blessing, the blessing is still effective. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:5; Mishnah Berurah 33)

Question #5

If you made a blessing on a fruit of the 7 species, without having the other regular fruits in mind (though they are in front of you on the table), do they require a separate blessing?

See answer

No. Since they are in front of you at the time of the blessing, it is considered as if you had them in mind at the time of the blessing and they are covered. The fact that you made the blessing on one fruit doesn't show mean that you didn’t want to eat the other fruit -- since the halacha had required you to do so. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:5; Mishnah Berurah 32)

Question #6

Let’s say the original blessing was made on dates (which also covered other fruit) and now you have totally finished the dates. There are still other fruits left over in front of you. Now somebody knocks on your door and -- surprise! -- they’ve got apples. Do you have to say a new blessing on the apples?

See answer

No. As long as there remains some fruit in front of you for which the blessing is still valid, the original blessing continues on any other food (of the same blessing) which is brought afterwards.

If, however, all the fruits were finished (or you decided to finish eating), and only afterwards the apples were brought in, since at the time of the blessing you didn't specifically have in mind to eat apples as well, they will need a new blessing. It’s best to always have in mind that the blessing be effective for whatever similar-type food you might wish to eat later. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:5; Mishnah Berurah 32)

Question #7

When the blessing “Shehakol” was made on chocolate, does it cover a drink which was not in front of you at the time of the blessing (and which you didn't have in mind), but was brought out while there is still some chocolate left on the table?

See answer

No. Even though we say that the blessing continues as long there remains some food for which the blessing is valid, this only works for food that is similar to the original food. Therefore, it does not work from solids to liquids. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211:5; Mishnah Berurah 21)

Question #8

If in the middle of eating your plate of fruit, you leave the building for Mincha (and you’re planning to come back to finish the fruit), do you have to recite a new blessing upon returning?

See answer

Yes. Since you left the building, even with full intention to come back and eat more, this constitutes a shinuy makom -- a change of location which terminates the original blessing. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 178:5-6; Mishnah Berurah 45)

Question #9

Does it make a difference, and what would be the halacha, if:

a. you had eaten a kezayit of fruit of the 7 species, or

b. you were eating with a group of people, some of whom some remained at the table.

See answer

a. Yes. Because in the case of the fruits of the 7 species where you ate a kezayit, it is a halachic doubt whether shinuy makom terminates the original blessing. Therefore you are in a situation of safek bracha. You should preferably remove the doubt by either first reciting an after-blessing, or by hearing the before-blessing from someone else. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 178:5-6; Mishnah Berurah 28)

b. Yes. Because in such a case, shinuy makom does not affect the before-blessing, and you may therefore continue eating without a new blessing -- even if upon returning you found that the other people had already left! (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 178:2; Mishnah Berurah 15)

Question #10

What if you decide not to have any more fruit, and then minutes later you decide to eat more fruit. Must you make a new blessing?

See answer

Yes, when dealing with a "snack" (as opposed to a bread meal), a firm decision to stop eating terminates the before-blessing and a new blessing is required. (Source: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 179; Biur Halacha s.v. "Ain")

Published: May 12, 2010


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Visitor Comments: 2

(2) Anonymous, January 26, 2013 12:48 AM

Torah Vitamin

My sincere apologies for not thanking Rabbi Daniel Schloss in my previous comment yesterday, about the above Tu B'Shvat Quiz which served as Torah vitamin to my mind. I only mentioned Rabbi Shraga, for whom I do have a very high level of respect. I should have thank both, as both the article and the Quiz were of upmost importance to me. Thanks to both of you Rabbi Shraga and Rabbi Schloss, sincerely.

(1) Anonymous, January 24, 2013 2:14 PM

Refreshing

It was wonderful to read the Tu B'Shvat article followed by the quiz. It challenged my mind and what I am learning about the Laws of Blessing. Thank you so very much Rabbi Shraga.

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