1) HALACHAH: WHAT BLESSING TO SAY FIRST
OPINIONS: In the Mishnah, Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan argue about which blessing one says when he has two foods before him, one of which is of the seven species. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the food which is of the seven species takes precedence, while the Rabanan maintain that one may recite the blessing on the food that he wants (that is, the food which is "Chaviv," that he likes more).
The Gemara explains (according to the first opinion in the Gemara) that the argument between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan applies only when the two foods have the same blessing, and one wants to recite a blessing on one of them to cover both.
In contrast, when the two foods have different blessings (such as a radish ("ha'Adamah") and an olive ("ha'Etz")), everyone agrees that one recites two separate blessing on the two foods. However, in such a case, on which food does one recite a blessing first?
(a) The BEHAG (cited by Tosfos and the Rosh) and the RITVA rule that one recites the more specific blessing. If one food is a "sheha'Kol" and the other is a "ha'Adamah" or "ha'Etz," the "ha'Adamah" or "ha'Etz" is said first. If one food is a "ha'Etz" and the other is a "ha'Adamah," the "ha'Etz" is said first as it is a more specific blessing.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Aval), RASHBA in the name of RAV HAI GA'ON, RABEINU YONAH in the name of the RIF, and other Rishonim explain that in such a case Rebbi Yehudah agrees with the Rabanan that one recites a blessing on the food he likes better ("Chaviv"), even if one food is "ha'Etz" and the other is "ha'Adamah." One recites the more specific blessing first only when there is a choice between a "sheha'Kol" and a blessing such as "ha'Adamah" or "ha'Etz." (The difference in specificity between "ha'Etz" and "ha'Adamah" is not great enough to warrant saying "ha'Etz" first if one prefers the "ha'Adamah" food.)
(c) The ROSH (6:25) and RASHI (DH Aval) assert that when the two foods require two separate blessings, there is no precedence of the "Chaviv" food, and one may recite a blessing first on whichever he chooses. (They agree with Tosfos (b) that "ha'Etz" and "ha'Adamah" are considered to be of equal specificity.)
HALACHAH: When there are two foods in front of a person, what blessing does he say first? Do we rule in accordance with Rebbi Yehudah or the Rabanan? In addition, when the two foods before him require two different blessings, what is the Halachah?
(a) RABEINU CHANANEL, RIF, RAMBAM, RE'AH, RITVA, RAV HAI GA'ON cited by the Rashba, and other Rishonim rule like the Rabanan, that "Chaviv" takes precedence when the two foods require the same blessing.
(b) The BEHAG, TOSFOS, ROSH, and RA'AVAD rule like Rebbi Yehudah, that one recites the blessing on whichever food is of the seven species (when the blessings for the different foods in front of him are the same).
The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 211:1-2) cites both opinions, and the MISHNAH BERURAH (211:13) says that it seems from the words of the Shulchan Aruch that the accepted opinion in practice is that of Rebbi Yehudah (as the Behag, Tosfos, Rosh, and Ra'avad rule).
Although the BEHAG
(as cited by Tosfos) rules that the argument between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan also applies when the two foods require different blessings, most Rishonim maintain that the argument applies only when the two foods have the same blessing. According to those Rishonim, when the foods require different blessings, Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan agree that the first blessing is made on the food that is "Chaviv." (See Insights to Berachos 40:4
for the Halachic definition of "Chaviv." The BI'UR HALACHAH
(beginning of DH v'Yesh Omrim she'Gam) points out that the opinion of the Rosh, who rules that one may recite the first blessing on whichever food he wants, is a minority opinion.) If neither food is "Chaviv," then it is best to recite a blessing first on the food that is of the seven species.
In the case of a food of "ha'Etz" and a food of "ha'Adamah," the Shulchan Aruch (OC 211:3) cites both opinions (that of most Rishonim, and that of the Behag). The Mishnah Berurah writes that when neither food is Chaviv, one should recite "ha'Etz" first and then "ha'Adamah," but when the "ha'Adamah" food is Chaviv, he should recite that blessing first.
2) PRECEDENCE OF BLESSINGS BASED UPON THE ORDER OF THE SEVEN SPECIES
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that the order in which the seven species are listed in the verse (Devarim 8:8) teaches the order of precedence for the blessings of those foods.
How can we learn the laws of the precedence of blessings from a verse in the Torah when blessings themselves are only mid'Rabanan?
(a) RASHI (DH u'Pliga) explains that the verse's order teaches which foods taste better. Consequently, we learn which food to recite a blessing on first. (See PNEI YEHOSHUA.)
answers that the Gemara is discussing which food is mentioned first in a Berachah Acharonah
, according to those opinions that maintain that the Berachah me'Ein Shalosh is mid'Oraisa (see Insights to Berachos 35:2
). When one recites a Berachah me'Ein Shalosh after eating both a wheat product and a fruit of the seven species and therefore he must mention both "Al ha'Michyah" and "Al ha'Etz," the verse teaches which one to mention first.
3) EATING FRUIT DURING A MEAL
QUESTION: Rav Sheshes maintains that when one eats figs and grapes during one's meal, one must recite a blessing both before and after eating them. RASHI (DH Bein Lifneihem) explains that Birkas ha'Mazon does not exempt the fruits from their own Berachah Acharonah, because the fruits are not items that are nourishing ("Zayin").
What does Rashi mean? The Gemara earlier (35b) says that all foods are nourishing ("Zayin") except for water and salt! (MELO HA'RO'IM)
(a) Perhaps Rashi means to say that these foods are not considered "Mazon" (a meal-food). They are, however, considered "Zayin," as Rashi himself says later (DH v'Lo l'Achareihem) and as the BEHAG says. (Further support for this can be found in Rashi to 44a, DH Mezona, and DH v'Hu Mezono.) (M. KORNFELD)
(b) The SEFER BEIS YOSEF explains that when one eats these fruits because he wants to put a sweet taste into his mouth and not because he is hungry, they are not included in Birkas ha'Mazon. This is what Rashi means when he says that these foods are not nourishing -- he means that the person is not eating them for their nourishment, but rather to sweeten his mouth.