THE BLESSINGS SAID FOR FOOD
(Mishnah) Question: Which blessing do we say for produce?
Answer: The blessing for fruits of a tree is Borei Pri ha'Etz, except for wine;
On wine we say Borei Pri ha'Gafen.
On things that grow from the ground we say Borei Pri ha'Adamah, except for bread;
On bread we say ha'Motzi Lechem Min ha'Aretz.
On Yerek (vegetables other than legumes) we say Borei Pri ha'Adamah;
R. Yehudah says, we say Borei Minei Desha'im.
(Gemara) Question: What is the source of this?
Answer #1 (Beraisa - R. Akiva): "Kodesh Hilulim la'Shem" -- this teaches that one must bless before and after eating [Revai, fourth-year produce];
This is the source that it is forbidden to taste any food before blessing.
Question #1: [Even though "Hilulim" (plural) connotes two praises,] we need this to teach two other laws!
One must redeem ("Chilul" is like "Hilul," "Hei" and "Ches" are interchangeable) Revai before eating it [outside Yerushalayim];
Redemption is needed only for what is used for Hilul (Shirah), i.e. wine:
(R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): Shirah is said only over wine -- "va'Tomer Lahem ha'Gefen... Tiroshi ha'Mesame'ach Elokim va'Anashim."
Question: We know that wine gladdens man -- how does it gladden Hash-m?
Answer: Shirah [of the Leviyim gladdens Hash-m, it] is said only over wine (Nesachim).
(Tana'im argue whether or not the law of Revai applies to fruit of all trees, or only to grapes; there is an argument about the text of anonymous Mishnayos, whether it says Neta Revai (like the first opinion) or Kerem Revai (like the latter opinion).)
This is not difficult for the first opinion -- he holds that all fruits must be redeemed, he does not expound (2) above, so one "Hilul" teaches that one must bless before eating;
But according to the second opinion (Kerem Revai), how can we answer?
(R. Chiya or R. Shimon b'Rebbi): The text of the Mishnayos says Kerem Revai.
(The other of R. Chiya and R. Shimon b'Rebbi): The text says Neta Revai.
Partial answer: If he learns the following Gezeirah Shavah, we can answer:
(Beraisa - Rebbi): It says regarding Revai, "l'Hosif Lachem Tevu'aso," like it says regarding Kil'ei ha'Kerem, "u'Sevu'as ha'Karem" -- just like the latter refers [only] to produce of a vineyard, also Revai.
The Gezeirah Shavah teaches that only grapes must be redeemed, he need not expound (2) above, so one "Hilul" teaches that one must bless before eating;
But if he does not learn the Gezeirah Shavah, how can we answer?
Question #2: Even if he learns the Gezeirah Shavah, one "Hilul" should teach only about a Berachah Acharonah (after eating, like Birkas ha'Mazon) -- what is the source for a Berachah Rishonah (before eating)?
Answer (to Question #2): We learn from a Kal va'Chomer:
If one must bless when he is satiated, all the more so he must bless when he is hungry!
Question: This teaches about blessing for grapes -- what is the source to bless for other food?
Answer: We learn from grapes -- just like people benefit from grapes and must bless for them, also for all food.
Question: We cannot learn from grapes, from which Olelos (deficient clusters) must be left for the poor, to other foods to which Olelos do not apply!
Answer: [Bread made from] Kamah [grain] show that this is not the determining factor -- one must bless after it, even though Olelos do not apply to it! (We know that one must bless for bread, for it says, "Tochal Bah Lechem... v'Achalta vSavata u'Verachta." Whenever we say "grain," this refers to wheat and barley (which are explicitly listed among the seven species) and their three subspecies, spelt, oats, and rye.)
Question: We cannot learn from Kamah, from which Chalah must be taken, to other foods to which Chalah does not apply!
Answer: Grapes show that this is not the determining factor;
Conclusion: Each has its own stringency; their Tzad ha'Shaveh (common side) is that people benefit from them and must bless for them, the same applies to all food.
Question: We cannot learn from grapes and Kamah, for both of these are brought on the Mizbe'ach!
We can learn olives, for also [oil of] olives is brought on the Mizbe'ach.
Question: Even without this, we should say that one must bless for olives, for they are also called "Kerem" -- "... v'Ad Kerem Zayis."
Answer (Rav Papa): They are called "Kerem Zayis," they are not called [plain] Kerem.
Question (s) remains (we still lack a complete answer to Question (f)).
BENEFIT WITHOUT BLESSING
Answer #2 (to Question (f)): Rather, we learn from the seven species of Eretz Yisrael;
(We are thinking that one must bless mid'Oraisa for the seven species, for it says, "Eretz Chitah u'Se'orah... v'Achalta vSavata u'Verachta.")
Just like people benefit from them and must bless for them, also for all food.
Objection #1: We cannot learn from the seven species, for Bikurim are brought from them!
Objection #2: We could learn only a Berachah Acharonah from them, not a Berachah Rishonah!
Answer (to Objection #2): We learn from a Kal va'Chomer -- if one must bless when he is satiated, all the more so when he is hungry!
Objection (to Answer 1:g): Above we said that the opinion that one who maintains "Neta Revai" can learn from "Kodesh Hilulim" -- but we can learn only fruits (to which Revai applies)! What is the source for other things, such as meat, eggs and fish?
Answer #3 (to Question (1:f)): Rather, reasoning dictates that it is forbidden to benefit from this world without blessing.
(Beraisa): It is forbidden to benefit from this world without blessing -- doing so is like transgressing Me'ilah.
Question: If one did so, what should he do to rectify it?
Answer: He should go to a Chacham.
Question: What will a Chacham do for him, he already transgressed!
Answer (Rava): One should go to a Chacham from the beginning to learn the laws of Berachos, so he will not transgress Me'ilah.
(Rav Yehudah): One who benefits from this world without blessing is like one who benefits from Hekdesh -- "la'Shem ha'Aretz u'Melo'ah."
Contradiction (R. Levi): It says "la'Shem ha'Aretz u'Melo'ah," and it says "ha'Shamayim Shamayim la'Shem veha'Aretz Nasan li'Venei Adam"!
Answer: Before one blesses, everything belongs to Hash-m; after one blesses, it is considered his.
(R. Chanina bar Papa): If one benefits from this world without blessing, it is as if he steals from Hash-m (Rashba - denies His Hashgachah) and Keneses Yisrael -- "Gozel Aviv v'Imo... Chaver Hu l'Ish Mashchis";
"Aviv" refers to Hash-m, "Imo" refers to Keneses Yisrael;
Question: What does "Chaver Hu l'Ish Mashchis" mean?
Answer (R. Chanina bar Papa): He is a peer of Yarov'om ben Nevat, who was Hishchis (corrupted the ways of) Yisrael to Hash-m.
Contradiction (R. Chanina bar Papa): It says, "v'Lakachti Degani b'Ito," and it says "v'Asafta Deganecha"!
Answer: When Yisrael do Hash-m's will, it is considered their grain; when they do not, it is considered His.
(Beraisa - R. Yishmael) Question: What do we learn from "v'Asafta Deganecha"?
Answer - Suggestion: It says, "Lo Yamush Sefer ha'Torah ha'Zeh mi'Picha" -- perhaps this is literally true (one may never cease learning)!
Rejection: "V'Asafta Deganecha" -- one should engage in earning a livelihood.
Question (R. Shimon): Can it really be that a man will engage in all agricultural labors -- plowing, sowing, reaping, threshing and winnowing, each in its time? When will he have time for Torah?!
Answer: Rather, when Yisrael do Hash-m's will, others will do these for them -- "v'Amdu Zarim v'Ra'u Tzonchem...";
When Yisrael do not do Hash-m's will (Tosfos - so totally), they must work themselves -- "v'Asafta Deganecha."
Furthermore, they will have to do others' work -- "va'Avadta Es Oyvecha."
(Abaye): Many Talmidim followed R. Yishmael and succeeded; many tried to follow R. Shimon and did not succeed.
Rava (to Rabanan): Please do not come in front of me [to learn] in Nisan and Tishrei (when you should be harvesting or pressing grapes and olives), in order that you will not lack food for the whole year.
(Rabah bar bar Chanah): Later (current) generations are unlike previous generations!
Previous generations made their Torah Keva (primary) and their work Arai (secondary), they succeeded in both of them; later generations made their Torah Arai and their work Keva, and succeeded in neither.
Also -- the early generations would bring their produce into the house through the gate, in order to obligate themselves to tithe it;
Later generations bring their produce through the roof or yard in order to exempt it from tithes.
(R. Yanai): Produce need be tithed only when it sees (is brought in through) the entrance of the house -- "Bi'arti ha'Kodesh Min ha'Bayis."
(R. Yochanan): Even entering the yard obligates one to tithe it -- "v'Achlu vi'She'arecha v'Save'u."
THE BLESSING FOR WINE
(Mishnah): [The Berachah for fruits...] except for wine...
Question: Why is wine different from other fruits?
Suggestion: Because it improved (wine is better than grapes), its Berachah changes.
Objection: Olive oil is better than olives, yet its Berachah does not change!
(Rav Yehudah): The Berachah for olive oil is Borei Pri ha'Etz.
Answer: That is because there is no alternative Berachah suitable!
We cannot say Borei Pri ha'Zayis -- the fruit itself is called Zayis!
Objection: We could say Borei Pri Etz Zayis!
Answer (Mar Zutra): Wine gets a special Berachah because it nourishes, oil does not.
Question: Oil does nourish!
(Mishnah): One who vows not to eat "Mazon" (that which nourishes) may eat water and salt.
Inference: Everything other than water and salt is called "Mazon"!
Suggestion: This refutes Rav and Shmuel, who say that we bless Borei Minei Mezonos only for [foods from] the five species of grain;
Rejection (Rav Huna): No, the Mishnah refers to one who said "Kol ha'Zan (anything that nourishes) is forbidden to me."
Summation of question: This shows that oil nourishes!
Answer: Wine sustains (this is a higher level of nourishment).
Question: Wine does not sustain!
Rava used to drink wine every Erev Pesach to arouse his appetite, in order to eat much Matzah!
Answer: Much wine arouses appetite, a small amount of wine sustains.
Question: Wine does not sustain at all, only bread -- "v'Yayin Yesamach Levav Enosh... v'Lechem Levav Enosh Yis'ad"!
Answer: No, wine sustains and gladdens, bread only sustains.
Question: If so, we should say Birkas ha'Mazon after wine!
Answer: We do not, for it is abnormal to base a meal on wine.
Question (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): If one bases a meal on wine, what is the law?
Answer (Rava): If Eliyahu will tell us that wine can be the basis of a meal, he will say Birkas ha'Mazon -- until then, we are not concerned for his opinion, the Halachah is based on normal people.
(Rav Yehudah): The Berachah for olive oil is Borei Pri ha'Etz.
Question: What is the case?
If one drinks it, he would not bless, for it is harmful!
(Beraisa): A Zar (non-Kohen) who drinks Terumah oil pays principal but not Chomesh (a fifth); a Zar who anoints with Terumah oil pays principal and Chomesh.
Answer #1: The case is, he ingests the oil with bread.
Rejection: If so, the bread is primary and the oil is secondary;
(Mishnah): The general rule is, if one eats a primary and a secondary food together, he blesses only on the primary, this exempts the secondary.