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 grapes and pineapple are on a table before him and he prefers 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 the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz is more distinguished than the berachah of borei pri ha’adamah. A favorite food takes precedence (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 211:1; Mishna Berurah, s.k. 9).
However, if he is eating fruit with the same berachah, he should make a berachah over the shivas haminim. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a peach, even though he prefers the peach, he should 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 should a person do if he wishes to eat a peach, pineapple, and grapes? His most favorite food is the peach, second favorite is pineapple, and least favorite is grapes. If he were to consider eating the peach first, we would object that the grapes must come first since they bear the same berachah and are from the shivas haminim.
If he were to consider eating the grapes first, we would object that the pineapple must come first since it bears a different berachah and he prefers it to the grapes. If he were to consider eating the pineapple first, we would object that the peach must come first since he prefers it to the pineapple. This person seems to have entered into a hopeless quandary: whichever fruit he takes in his hand to say a berachah, he must take a different one.
The Steipler Gaon, zt”l, suggested that he make a berachah over the grapes first. To the objection that the berachah on pineapple should come, we respond: The berachah over the grapes – borei pri ha’eitz – is also the berachah for his first preference, the peach.
The halacha to proceed with the preferred fruit is principally a rule about reciting the berachah of the preferred fruit. In our case, borei pri ha’eitz has the advantage of being both the berachah of the shivas haminim in question (the grapes) and the advantage of being the berachah of the preferred fruit (the peach).
The Steipler stresses, however, that his solution should not necessarily be relied upon in practice. It is merely a solution to be considered (Sefer Zichron Chai 2:9; see also VeZos HaBerachah, Birur Halachah 47).