One must recite the me’ein shalosh blessing, better known as al hamichya, after drinking wine, eating mezonot products, or eating any of the “fancy fruits” (fruits that the Torah associates with Eretz Yisrael). The conclusion of the al hamichya blessing after drinking wine is “al ha’aretz v’al pri hagafen” (for the land and for the fruit of the vine); after eating mezonot it is “al ha’aretz v’al hamichya” (for the land and for the nourishment); and after eating fancy fruits it is “al ha’aretz v’al hapeirot” (for the land and for the fruit). If one ate mezonot food and drank wine and the like, only one me’ein shalosh is recited, and the appropriate insertions are combined into one.
If the wine or fruit that one has eaten is from Eretz Yisrael, the concluding blessing is changed slightly to reflect this and thereby praise the Land. In such a situation, the blessing after drinking wine is changed to “al ha’aretz v’al pri gafna” (for the land and for the fruit of its vine), and after the fancy fruits it is “al ha’aretz v’al peroteiha” (for the land and for its fruit).1
However, there is an inconsistency here. Why is it that we only modify the conclusion of the blessing when drinking wine or eating fruits that originated in Eretz Yisrael? Why isn’t it also modified when eating mezonot products that originate from Eretz Yisrael? Perhaps we should conclude with the words “al ha’aretz v’al michyata” (for the land and for its nourishment)?2
One of the answers offered for this inconsistency is that only the fruits and wine of Eretz Yisrael are superior in quality and taste to those of chutz la’aretz, the Diaspora. The wheat, flour, and other similar produce of Eretz Yisrael do not have any distinction or superiority over those in chutz la’aretz. In other words, bread, cakes and cookies made from flour produced in Eretz Yisrael taste the same as those made with flour from other places. Accordingly, no change is made in the conclusion of the al hamichya after eating mezonot products that originated in Eretz Yisrael.3
Another reason might be that it is only in Eretz Yisrael that all seven of the “fancy fruits” are indigenous. Although one can find one or more of these seven fruits growing in other countries, only the seven are native to Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, it is only for these specific items that we change the conclusion of the me’ein shalosh blessing to reflect this unique feature.4
It is also noted that mezonot foods cannot be eaten raw in their natural state. To enjoy a baked product, much time and effort must be invested. The fancy fruits of Eretz Yisrael, however, can be eaten in their raw, natural state and require no further processing to be enjoyed. To remind us of this unique feature, only the fancy fruits of Eretz Yisrael merit to have their concluding blessing modified.5
Closely related to this idea is Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s explanation for the inconsistency. Rav Auerbach explains that the difference between mezonot foods and fruits is that the contents and ingredients of a baked mezonot food are completely unrecognizable from how they appear in their original state, whereas the fruit content of most fruit dishes is clearly identifiable.
One who forgets to modify the wording of the concluding blessing after eating fancy fruits or wines from Eretz Yisrael has nevertheless discharged his or her obligation. There is no need to repeat the blessing. One who eats fancy fruits or drinks wines from Eretz Yisrael as well as fruits or wines from chutz la’aretz concludes the blessing in accordance with the produce of Eretz Yisrael.
- OC 208:10. For more on the change of wording for produce from Eretz Yisrael, see Mishne Halachot 6:46; Kinyan Torah 4:21; Teshuvot V’hanhagot 3:75.
- A number of Sephardic authorities rule that one should indeed change the conclusion of al hamichya when eating mezonot foods that originate in Eretz Yisrael, and some Sephardim do so accordingly. See for example Birkei Yosef, OC 208:10; Kaf Hachaim, OC 208:10; Mishne Halachot 6:41; and Yabia Omer 7:30. Nevertheless, common custom does not follow this view, as explained in the main text.
- Netziv, Meromei Hasadeh, Berachot, chapter 6. Cited in Devar Chevron 2:192. See also Ha’emek She’eila 51:15 for another reason in the name of the Netziv.
- Shu”t Hilchot Ketanot 2:55.
- Otzar Hayediot, chapter 138.