By Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld | Series: | Level:

The blessing on bread is “…Who brings bread out of the earth” (167:2), and after eating it, grace must be said (see Ch.14). The bread must be made of the five species of grain: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt; see 168:4. To be regarded as bread, it must be baked in an oven (see 168:13,15-17) or in a pot without liquid (see 168:8,13-14), even if it was cooked first (see 168:14); it must resemble bread (see 168:10,13) and must not be crisp (see 168:7); and it must not have sweets, fruits, or spices as major ingredients or fillings (see 168:7). Bread remains bread even if it is broken into small pieces (168:9-10); and a food that contain pieces of bread that are the size of a KE-ZAYIS, or that are recognizable as bread and have not been cooked, is also regarded as bread (see 168:10-12). When food made of grain is not regarded as bread, the blessing on it is “…Who creates kinds of nourishment”, and after eating it, the blessing “…on the sustenance…” is recited (see below); but in most cases, someone who intends to eat a quantity of it that most people would regard as a meal should recite the blessing on bread and should say grace afterward (see 168:6,8,15). The blessing on bread should preferably be recited on a large, unbroken piece made from clean wheat or barley; see 168:1-5.

The blessing on wine (or grape or raisin juice or lees; see 202:11 and 204:3,5-6) is “…Who creates the fruit of the vine” (202:1). On fruits that grow on trees, including grapes, and on olive oil (see 202:4), the blessing is “…Who creates the fruit of the tree” (202:1). On other edible parts of a tree, or on unripe fruit, the blessing is “…Who creates the fruit of the ground”; see 202:2,3,6,18 and 203:6. The blessing “…by Whose word everything exists” is recited on the juices of fruits other than grapes and olives (see 202:8,15), or on foods or drinks made from fruit that is no longer recognizable (see 202:7,10-11), or made from unripe fruit that is normally not eaten unripe (202:13-14;204:1), or on fruits that never ripen (see 202:9;204:1), or on raw fruits that are normally eaten cooked (202:12), or on small fruits that grow on trees that are not regarded as fruit-bearing (see 203:4-5).

The blessing on fruit that does not grow on trees, but rather on bushes or plants that do not have permanent trunks, is “…Who creates the fruit of the ground” (202:17;203:1-3,8), and the same blessing is recited on vegetables and legumes (205:1) or on grain or rice eaten whole or ground (see 208:4-5,7). The blessing “…by Whose word everything exists” is recited on raw vegetables that are normally eaten cooked; on cooked vegetables that are better when eaten raw (205:1,5;204:1); on unripe vegetables (204:1); on cooked vegetables that are no longer recognizable (208:8); and on vegetable juices (205:3); but on the water in which vegetables are cooked, the blessing is the same as on the vegetables (205:2).

The blessing on foods that do not grow from the ground is “…by Whose word everything exists” (204:1). This includes animals, birds, fish, locusts, eggs, milk, and cheese (204:1); honey (204:10); mushrooms (204:1); salt and spices (204:1); and water (204:1,7). This blessing is also recited on food whose origin is not recognizable (204:1); on parts of plants that are not usually eaten (204:1;208:4); on drinks made from grain (204:1;208:6); and on foods that are eaten only as supplements to other foods (see 212:1).

If a blessing that is more general than necessary was recited by mistake, it is acceptable; and in cases of doubt, the more general blessing should be recited (202:18;204:13;206:1-2). On cases in which the blessing on (or after) a food is applicable to other foods see 208:13-18; on errors in blessings see 209:1-2. On precedence in blessings, as regards preference vs. the importance of the food or the blessing, see 211:1-6 and 210:1-2.

The blessing after eating most types of food is “…Who creates many souls…” (207:1). After eating grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, or dates, the blessing is “…on the tree…”; see 208:1,10. After eating foods that contain the five types of grain, the blessing is “…on the sustenance…”, provided they are the primary ingredient; see 208:2-4,6,9. The blessing on cooked or baked rice is “…Who creates kinds of nourishment”, but “…on the sustenance…” is not recited after it (208:7). After drinking wine, the blessing is “…on the vine…” (208:11). For combinations of these things, these blessings are combined (208:12). The Sabbath, New Moon, and holidays are also mentioned in them when appropriate (208:12).

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.

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