In the previous class we learned about different foods that require a bracha when eaten during a bread meal.

What about fruit eaten during a bread meal: Is it covered by the Hamotzee or not? Fruit is often eaten as dessert, or as a tasty garnish to a meal. On the other hand, fruit can also be the main course, or a filling side dish eaten for sustenance. So in order to determine whether or not a bracha is warranted on fruit eaten during a bread meal, we need to analyze what purpose the fruit is serving.

Here are four typical ways that fruit is eaten during a bread meal:1

  1. as the main course
  2. as a prepared dish eaten for sustenance
  3. as an appetizer
  4. as dessert or for a sweet taste

The halacha differs in each of these four situations. We will now discuss the correct approach in each particular case, illustrated with practical examples.

1. As the Main Course: If you are eating fruit as the only main course (think fruit platter and fad diet), the accepted practice is not to say a separate bracha on the fruit. There is, however, an opinion that you should say a bracha in such a case. Therefore, when starting to eat the fruit, it is recommended to eat some fruit and bread together in the same bite.2 By doing so, you are designating the fruit as the main course, and not merely a tasty addition to the meal.3

2. A Prepared Dish: When fruit is prepared as a dish, and eaten as a course within the meal, no separate bracha is made on the fruit, since it is like any other part of the meal which is being eaten for nourishment.4 Some examples: fruit soup and Waldorf salad.5

3. As an Appetizer: If fruit is eaten at the beginning of a bread meal, technically no bracha is necessary. However, due to some differences of opinion, it is advisable to use the following approach: Say a bracha on a small piece6 of the fruit before saying Hamotzee.7 So if you like to begin your meal with a halved grapefruit or fruit cocktail, before saying Hamotzee, you would say Ha'aitz and eat a little.

Note that in cases where an additional bracha is required, it applies not only to fruit whose bracha is Ha'aitz, but also to other foods whose bracha is Ha'aitz (e.g. nuts), and also to fruit-like foods whose bracha is Ha'adama, e.g. watermelon.8 (Of course, an additional Ha'adama bracha is usually not necessary, since most "ha'adama" foods – potatoes, vegetable salad, etc. – are "satiating" parts of the meal and thus covered by Hamotzee.)

4. As Dessert: When fruit is eaten merely for its good and refreshing taste, a separate bracha must be made on the fruit – regardless of whether it is eaten in the beginning, middle, or end of the meal.9 In this case, you should specifically eat the first bite without bread, and say a bracha on the fruit.10

In the middle of dinner, Joey found out that his mother had bought cherries at the market. As he snuck into the kitchen to get one, he heard his mother calling, "Don't forget to say Ha'aitz!"

Even in such a case, however, there is one way to have the fruit "covered" by the bread so that no separate bracha is required: If you eat every bite of fruit together with bread, then it is covered by the Hamotzee on the bread.11 Actually, this is a general rule that applies to any of the situations we've described in this class:

If you eat each bite of fruit together with bread,
no additional bracha is necessary.

Before the Meal

Let's say that you want to eat a food that requires a separate bracha when eaten during a bread meal, for example a fruit. In such a case, you can get ahead of the game by saying Ha'aitz on a fruit before the meal. If you have the "during-meal fruit" in mind when saying the bracha now, you won't need to say a bracha on that fruit during the meal.12

Mike wants to eats an apple before eating bread. He bears in mind that his "borei pri ha'aitz" covers the grapes he'll be eating for dessert. There is no need for a new Ha'aitz at dessert time.

[Additionally, you will not say an "after-bracha" on the apple you ate before Hamotzee. We'll learn more about this topic later in class #34.]

This concludes class #14 on Hilchot Brachot. In the next lesson, we'll learn about drinks that require a bracha during a bread meal.

  1. based primarily on Halachos of Brochos, pp. 88-94
  2. Orach Chaim 177:3, with Biur Halacha
  3. Mishnah Berurah 177:8; Halachos of Brochos, pg. 90, footnote ‘e’
  4. see Mishnah Berurah 177:4 and Biur Halacha – s.v. "Kegon"; V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 76 in the name of Rabbi C.P. Scheinberg; Halachos of Brochos, ch. 5, footnote 17
  5. Halachos of Brochos, pg. 95
  6. This should be less than a kezayit, to avoid the possible need for an after-bracha (Sha’arey Teshuva 174:9). We will learn about after-brachot in a later class. Another solution is to say a bracha on a different piece of fruit that is certainly not part of the meal.
  7. In the case of a fruit eaten for the purpose of increasing one's appetite (e.g. grapefruit), the accepted practice is not to say a bracha on the fruit, since it is considered part of the meal (Magen Avraham 174:11). However, since there is an opinion that a bracha is indeed required in this case (Sha’ar Hatziyun 174:45), it is advisable to say a bracha on the fruit before Hamotzee. In halachic terms, eating fruit cocktail and watermelon at the beginning of a meal falls into a slightly different category, since these are eaten as an entrée, but not to increase appetite. However, the practical halacha emerges the same: It is best to say a bracha on the fruit before Hamotzee. See also Mishnah Berurah 174:39.
  8. Mishnah Berurah 177:4, 12
  9. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 74
  10. Mishnah Berurah 177:10
  11. Sha’ar Hatziyun 177:13
  12. Mishnah Berurah 176:2. Shu”t Igros Moshe (OC 3:33) opines that even without express intent to cover the fruit eaten for dessert, it is assumed that this was in the back of your mind, given that you are about to embark on a bread meal.