Latest update: May 27th, 2013
A Vicious Cycle
‘Many Different Kinds Were Set Before Him’
Our Gemara discusses the order of priority in reciting berachos over foods. If a person plans to eat fruit with different berachos, most poskim maintain that he should first make a berachah over the fruit he prefers to eat. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a pineapple, and he prefers the pineapple, he should first recite borei pri ha’adamah over the pineapple, and afterward borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes.
This is so despite the fact that grapes are one of the shivas haminim and that the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz is more distinguished than borei pri ha’adamah (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 211:1; Mishna Berurah s.k. 9). However, if someone is eating two fruits with the same berachah, he should make a berachah over the shivas haminim item first. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a peach, even though he prefers the peach, he should still recite the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes first (Shulchan Aruch, ibid.).
Everything’s Just Peachy
Based on the above rulings, the following question arises. What is the halacha if a person wishes to eat a peach, a pineapple, and grapes, and his most favorite food is peach, second favorite is pineapple, and least favorite is grapes? If he wants to make a berachah over the peach first, we should object that the grapes must precede it since they too are borei pri ha’eitz fruits and are one of the shivas haminim. If he wants to make a berachah over the grapes first, we should object that the pineapple must precede it since it has a different berachah than that of grapes and he prefers it to the grapes. If he wants to make a berachah over the pineapple first, we should object that the peach must precede it since he prefers it to the pineapple. Which lead us back to square one.
The Steipler Gaon, zt”l, offered the following solution to this problem. He said the person should recite the berachah over the grapes first. The answer to the objection that the pineapple should precede the grapes since the person prefers it is that the berachah over the grapes, borei pri ha’eitz, is also the berachah for his first preference, the peach. The grapes have the advantage of being both one of shivas haminim and possessing the same berachah as the preferred fruit (the peach).
Indeed, the heart of the halacha that one should eat one’s preferred fruit first is that one should say the berachah of the preferred fruit first. Normally, one says the berachah over the preferred fruit directly. In this case, however, where there are considerations at play, one says the berachah of the preferred fruit over a different fruit.
The Steipler stressed that the above solution is a point for consideration and should not necessarily be relied upon in practice (sefer Zichron Chai 2:9; see also VeZos HaBerachah, Birur Halachah 47).
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About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.
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