Q51) Related to the previous question, does on make a shehakol on water if it is drink to aid in the swallowing of a pill?
A51) That is a fantastic question. Water is different than any other beverage since it does not provide any nutritional benefit nor flavor. The reason we typically make a bracha on water is due to water's ability to quench thirst. Thus, while there are no calories in water, since it hydrates us and our body needs water - that is its benefit. However, that would only apply when one intentionally drinks water to quench thirst or hydrate our body. If the only reason one is drinking water is to facilitate the swallowing of a pill - then no bracha should be made. If you were to drink any other liquid, e.g. orange juice, than one would make a bracha even if one does so only to facilitate swallowing. (MB 204:42)
Q50) Do you make a bracha on medicine?
A50) This question raises the issue of what necessitates a bracha: Is it benefit of nutrition / satiety, or taste? The accepted halacha is that both require a bracha. Therefore:
- Pills that are swallowed - no bracha
- Chewable and liquid medications that are enjoyable enough that you would eat them even had they no medicinal effect - yes bracha
- Chewable and liquid medications that are moderately enjoyable but not to the extent that one would eat them anyway - there is a difference of opinions and either option is valid. Preferably, though, one should make a bracha on a shehakol food beforehand and have in mind to cover the questionable medication as well.
Q49) Would one make a bracha on non-kosher food?
A49) Although several opinions exist amongst the rishonim, the accepted halacha (Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brura 196:1, 3) is that we do not say a bracha, either beforehand or afterwards, on nonkosher food. Since the food is prohibited and it is a sin to eat it, the bracha functions as a curse rather than a blessing. However, if one needed to drink or eat a prohibited food out of danger then he would make a bracha.
Q48) What bracha should be made on a salad which contained chopped 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 small avocado, and about 12 small black olives chopped in half. My friend said the Haadamah blessing and I said the Ha Etz first as my first amount to eat contained an olive. What is the situation in this case to say the haadama as the other veggies were a majority or Ha Etz as the olives are fruit of the land and do they take precedence?
A48) A salad is a classic example of a mixture which follows the majority (see http://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Ikar_and_Tafel#Both_ingredients_are_equally_important).The majority of this salad seems to be the cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach, which are all Haadama. Even though avocado and olives are Haetz they are in the minority. The idea of making a bracha upon the 7 species with which the land of Israel is praised is only relevant to precedence of brachot (http://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Order_of_Brochos) and not to which bracha to make upon a mixture.
Q47) If I have a salad that consists of avocado, tomato and hearts of Palm and I want all of them equally what Bracha(s) do u make, one or two?
A47) Based on Vezot HaBracha (p. 93), we would make the bracha of the majority of the ingredients in salad. Tomato and hearts of palm are haadama. Avocado is ha'etz. If you want them all equally, you follow majority of the salad. If there's roughly an equal portion of each ingredient, the majority would consist of haadama foods, making the bracha haadama.
Q46) What bracha are donuts made from frozen challah dough?
A46) If the dough is deep fried, the bracha is mezonot (S"A 168:13). Really there's a dispute about this case and to avoid a dispute it is better to have it in a meal (ibid), however, there's a few mitigating factors such as if the dough is filled and fried with something sweet (rama ad loc. but cf. mishna brurah 168:82) or has a oily taste from the deep frying (mishna brurah 168:85).
If it isn't fried and is baked, likely it would be hamotzei unless it is a sweet dough (cf 168:7).
Q45) I'm still confused about the bracha on pita chips?
A45) If the pita chips are made from regular pita that was made in order to be eaten as pita and then later it was toasted, the bracha would be hamotzei since it originally was pita which is hamotzei and toasting bread doesn't change its bracha. However, if the pita chips were originally made from dough and baked so long that it original came out as a chip, then there is good reason to make mezonos (like the third definition of pas habah bekisnin).
Q44) I have a question about some cookie bars I made last night. Basically the way they're made is by melting together sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk, boiling it, then removing it from the heat and stirring in rolled oats and peanut butter. As soon as I finished making them I realized I had just made myself a safek bracha because of the oats and I did not know if I should make mezonos or haadamah. The oats are really the main bulk of the cookies. Does stirring oats into boiling hot liquid count as cooking, enough to make them mezonos? The oats remained very chewy, almost hard, and did not get soft.
A44) Thanks for the great question. Here's the breakdown of my thinking:
What bracha does one make on a fruit or veggie smoothie / protein shake? We drink a lot of shakes. Generally the ingredients go as follows: Always present in every shake: Soy milk or Almond milk, Banana, plant-based protein powder. We also add some but not all of the following: blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, spinach, and kale.
A43) It’s a great question. There’s two factors involved. The first is that the fruits or vegetables are pureed and not recognizable. Based on this factor alone, according to the Rama (202:7) and Mishna Brurah (202:42), who Asheknazim generally follow, it should be Shehakol and Boreh Nefashot (this assumes that we are discussing where the primary ingredient isn’t grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, or dates). The second factor is that by making fruits into a drink, they may lose their status as a fruit and become Shehakol (Gra 202:4 based on Tosfot Brachot 38a; additionally, see S”A 202:8).
This is true if it is thick and certainly if it is thin. However, if it is so thick that there are recognizable chunks one should make the bracha on a chunk (HaEtz or HaAdama) and with that exempt the rest of the smoothie.
Q42) What bracha is made on shlishkis?
A42) Thanks for the question. The Bracha on shlishkes is mezonot because the potato part is made with flour. Also, the bread crumbs on the outside don't make it hamotzei since they are fried and stuck onto the potato dough. The above halacha comes from Responsa Kinyan Torah Behalacha vol 2 p. 46.
Q41) What is the Bracha on Grape Popsicles?
A41) Although you would think that the bracha shouldn't change from being a hagefen, there is a dispute about this and the contemporary poskim say to make shehakol once it changed its form by being frozen (Laws of Brachos p. 313, Vezot HaBracha p. 396). By the way, since the ices aren't eaten as quickly as a drink would need to be drunk in order to make a bracha achrona, no bracha achrona should be made on the ices (Vezot HaBracha above).
Q40) What's the Bracha on passion fruit?
A40) The Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, p. 396) writes that it's HaEtz, however, Vezot HaBracha (p. 397 says Passiflora which is the passion fruit) and Yalkut Yosef (Klalei HaBrachot p. 213) say it's HaAdama. I looked it up on wikipedia and it's clear that it does grow on a vine. Nonetheless, the Halachos of Brachos is based on the Mishna Brurah 203:3 who says that berry from a bush which is smaller than 3 tefachim the minhag is to make HaAdama but implying that if it's above 3 tefachim the bracha is HaEtz. Halachos of Brachos (p. 393) explains that the main criteria discussed by the gemara and rishonim is whether the tree produces fruit year after year or the branches die and regrow every year, however, a bush or vine is also considered a tree even if it has a very thin "trunk". Unfortunately, in Vezot HaBracha and Yalkut Yosef I didn't find an explanation of their position regarding the passion fruit.
After searching Otzar HaChachma I found this book called Binyan Shalom (p. 98) who said that passion fruit was Haadama based on the halachot ketanot's rule that a plant with a hollow trunk, such as the papaya, is Haadama and not HaEtz and he said the same is true of the passion fruit. It seems, however, that Halachos of Brachos (p. 422) doesn't accept the opinion of the halachot ketanot because he quotes two other reasons as to why the papaya fruit should be haadama before quoting that halachot ketanot.
Q39)How much bread does someone on a low carb diet need to eat for a (Shabbos) meal?
A39)On Shabbat or Yom Tov, someone on a low carb diet should wash (without a Bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim according to Sephardim and with a Bracha according to Ashkenazim) and eat a kezayit of bread (half the center piece of a 1 lb rye bread). For having a meal during the weekday see the full discussion full discussion.
Q38) What is the Bracha on guacamole?
A38) For regular thick guacamole the Bracha is either HaEtz or Shehakol. However, in the unusual case that the guacamole is very thin like a liquid the Bracha should be Shehakol. (see full)
Q37) I was walking in shuk in Yerushalayim and storekeeper gives me one grape to taste. What is the beracha?
A37) The bracha rishona would remain the same regardless of quantity, Haeitz in this case. Regarding the Bracha Achrona, in general we try avoid eating one whole item since there are opinions that whole items receive a bracha achrona even if they are less than the volume of a kezayis. Therefore, either try to get a few grapes from him (3 should do the trick) or break up the single grape into two parts. (see more).
Q36) What bracha do you make on soup croutons?
A36) That is a great and tricky question. The answer is that it depends on how they are made. See full.
Q35) What's the bracha on Craisins?
A35) Craisins are just dried cranberries (sometimes sweetened) and receive the same beracha as cranberries, which according to most opinions is Ha'adoma since the plant grows within 9inches of the ground (see more).
Q34) What is the bracha on corn thins, multi grain corn thins and soy crisps?
A34) Both Corn and Soy are Ha'adoma when eaten whole and intact. And both become shehakol when processed into a flour. I believe corn thins and soy crisps are made in such a way that the grain is milled into a flour and then used to reform a chip - therefore they should be shehakol.
As far as the multigrain version is concerned. Does the multigrain version contain wheat, spelt, barley, oats or rye? If yes, and if there is a substantial amount (meaning it comes up as one of the first several ingredients) then it would be mezonot. If not, then shehakol.
Q33) What should I do if I forgot to make a bracha rishona? Also, can I still make a bracha achrona?
A33) As long as you didn't already swallow the food, you can still make a bracha rishona. If the food won't become inedible, you should remove it before making the bracha. If it will become inedible, move the food to the side of your mouth. If it is a liquid, you should spit it out. Once you already swallowed the food, you can no longer make the bracha rishona on that food. You should find a different food with the same bracha (or shehakol if you can't) and make a bracha on that item as soon as possible. Lastly, a Bracha achrona is completely independent and should be said regardless.
Q32) What is the bracha for raw cookie dough?
A32) It's an amazing question and I have asked different poskim and have recieved different answers that it should be shehakol and mezonot. The question is if the processed batter becomes mezonot even before it is baked. The psak of Rabbi Mandlebaum, the author of V'Zos Habracha, is that raw cookie dough is shehakol.
Q31) What bracha would one make on orange juice with the pulp bits inside?
A31) Fruit juices generally lose their ha'eitz bracha and become shehakol. Although there has been some discussion why that is so even in cases where the fruits are planted for the sake of the juice (which is how juices are made today) - nevertheless the prevalent minhag ha'olam is to still make shehakol on these fruit juices. As far as the pulp is concerned, it is tafel, or subordinate - because if you wanted the actual fruit then you should just eat the actual fruit..
Q30) I enjoy the taste of grape juice mixed with fresca - usually I use 1/3 grape juice and 2/3 fresca - do i make Hagafen?
A30) Although one can dilute wine with water up to 5 parts water with 1 part wine (Ashkenazim), mixing wine with other liquids is different. The mixture would be treated like any other mixture of two items and we must determine the Ikar and Tofel components. Since this is a case of "Tofel by Form," the majority ingredient dictates the bracha (see details). Thus, in order to make Hagafen in these cases there would need to be at least 51% wine or grape juice.
Q29) How much can you dilute grape juice or wine before you can no longer make "hagafen"?
A29) In general, Sefardim allow one to dilute wine or grape juice up to 50% before it loses its Hagefen bracha. Ashkenazim allow even more, up to 5 parts water with one part wine or grape juice. That being said, there are two other qualifications: First, it must still taste like wine or grape juice (and not just a grape flavored drink). Second, it must be within common standards of dilution. Meaning, people would still consider it as wine.
Important to Note: In Israel, there is a real problem for Sefardim since many wines are diluted with water beyond 51%. Those wines are Shehakol. Fortunately, in America there is no such problem. I have personally confirmed this fact: Wines in America are not diluted AT ALL.
Q28) Would one make a HaAdoma or Shehakol on hydroponically grown vegetables?
A28) Hydroponics! Great Question. Nowadays more and more vegetables are being grown hydroponically. However, when it comes to their bracha - They are shehakol, since it is in appropriate to say HaAdoma on items not grown from the earth. (Contemporary consensus, based off Chaya Adam 51:17). This is similar to mushrooms which also recieve a shehakol. The reason provided for mushrooms is because "although they spring up from the earth, their sustenance is not derived from the earth." (Berachot 40b)
Q27) Does one make a bracha when eating vegetable soup in order to help swallow a pill?
A27) Yes. When it comes to water, if one drinks water for any purpose other than for quenching thirst he would not make a shehakol. However, for any other food or drink one must make a bracha even if used only to help swallow a pill. (Mishna Berura O.C. 204:42). As far as what bracha is concerned, it is actually a dispute whether it's shehakol or its normal bracha. The minhag Olam is to say its regular bracha - and in our case that's ha'adoma.
Q26) If a baker bakes a pas habah bikisnin product with intent of using it as a meal, what brocha is it?
A26) Great Question. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the baker intends, but rather only what the eater intends. If the eater considers the pas haba bikisnin as his meal then Ha'motzei, and if not then mezonot. (See here for more)
Q25) I would like to know which beracha I should make on a bar made out of nuts: cashews, brazilian nuts, macadamia, almonds, walnuts and peanuts. They are in fragments, so technically I would be able to separate a piece of peanuts and make ha’adama and an almond and make ha’etz. The other ingredients are honey (which keeps the nuts together), flavors, glucose and fibers.
A25) Peanuts are Ha'adoma while all other nuts are Ha'eitz. In this case, one would make a single bracha which would cover the entire bar and the bracha depends on the majority ingredient. Therefore, if there are more peanuts than all the other nuts - then Ha'adoma. If there are more of the assorted nuts than peanuts - then Ha'eitz. (See Ikar and Tofel: Mixture for more on this)
Q24)Which brocha is made on a cookie made with sorghum flour?
A24) As far as I can tell, Sorghum is a grain but not one of the special 5 grains. Therefore, a cookie made from Sorghum would be shehakol, but see Grains for more on this.(If the cookie has some wheat flour and some Sorghum flour, then provided that the wheat flour is used for more than just a binding ingredient - it would be mezonot. Concerning it's after bracha - see discussion)
Q23) Regarding soups which contain a near-puree consistency, but do maintain some intact small pieces, is the the beracha shehakol or ha-adama?
A23) If there is a single solid recognizable vegetable, make Ha'adoma on that piece and that will cover the rest of the soup. But, please see Soup Section for more full discussion.
Q22) What if I forgot the addition of Yaaleh V’Yavo on Rosh Chodesh in Bentching?
A22) The short answer is you do NOT need to repeat it. However, since these halachot are related to our brochot topic, I will explain these halachot in detail - here.
Q21) What is the blessing one makes on Humus (Chickpeas that are mixed into a paste)?
A21) Great question. Chickpeas are considered vegetables and therefore Ha'adoma. The question is if they loose their ideal bracha when processed into humus. First off, I'd like to point out the obvious just to be sure that almost all the time humus would be tofel to whatever you are eating it with. Therefore, the question is primarily theoretical. Rishonim argue on this point and both sides are valid. I asked Rav Shechter for the final psak and he said there is even more room by Ha'adoma then by Ha'eitz where it can lose it's form and still retain it's ideal bracha - therefore the bracha on humus would be Ha'adoma (see more on this subject).
Q20) If I have a bread that the baker made for me special with 3 grains (meals) in the same quantities: oat, rice and buckweat. What would the beracha rishona and achrona be on such an item? Would I need to eat 3 kazayit of bread to ensure I ate 1 kazayit of oat flour or would 1 kazayit be enough to merit a birkat hamazon?
A20) This is a great question with huge ramifications. See the Whole thing.
Q19) This is kind of a big question, but can you add some more cereals to the site? The types of health food cereals sold in the organic sections of supermarkets and at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are kind-of complex. Like Barbara's Puffins contains a bit of oat flour --- I'm guessing mezonot.
A19) I hope to add more in the future, but fortunately I have barbara's Puffins as well as 3 others in my closet now:
- Barbara's Puffins (Cinnamon) - Mezonot / Borei Nefashot. This is because the cereal has both corn meal and oat flour. The oat flour is tasteable and added for nutritional value, therefore it is treated as the Ikar. Regarding the bracha achrona, see guide for more.
- Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls - Mezonot / Al hamichya
- General Mills Curves Cereal (Honey Crunch) - mezonot / al hamichya
- Nature's Path Heritage Heirloom Whole Grain Bites - mezonot / al hamichya
Q18) What is the appropriate blessing before eating a “tortilla”. I had been using “mine mezonot”, however recently someone pointed out that it really depends on what product was used to make the “tortilla” (corn, wheat, spelt) and the use the “tortilla” is given. For example; used to hold meat and vegetables such as a “taco”, used as a wrap like you would bread for a sandwich, or toasted and used in a soup or salad as you would croutons.
A18) This is the 4th question concerning Tortillas so I guess I should probably learn what a tortilla is and dedicate a section for it. (Read the whole thing)
Q17) What's the brocha for wraps, like say a tuna wrap?
A17) This is another fantastic question with a lot of controversy on both sides. Some argue that although the dough is thin and isn't considered bread and as such the bracha should be Mezonot. (See discussion)
Q16) Why would Crispix be both Mezonot and Ha'adoma
A16) This is a great question. Crispix would be classified as the 3rd category of Ikar and Tofel: One Mixture and normally foods in this category can't be separated even if you wanted to. The rules for this category are: if there is mezonot in the mixture then the mezonot takes all.The thing is that this doesn't apply to rice. While it's true that rice is mezonot, it doesn't have the chashivut of the other 5 grains. The second rule is to go after the majority ingredient, but since there is no majority - we are forced to make two brochas on one item.
Q15) Why are onions shehakol?
A15) When it comes to Fruits and Vegetables, we only say the ideal bracha if the food is eaten in the common state. Since most people eat onions cooked, when the onions are raw they receive a mere shehakol (See Changing Fruits and Vegetables for more.)
Q14) What is the correct bracha for Kashi Go Lean Bars?
A14) So this question took a while but the results are finally in. All Kashi Go Lean Bars are Ha'adoma. (read more)
Q13) You list SUSHI as being mezonos, assumedly because a mezonos food is never considered a taful. Is this actually true for rice as well, because, clearly, the rice of the sushi is taful to the rest of the ingredients.
A13) What bracha to say on Sushi is a really difficult and fantastic question. I personally asked Rabbi Mandlebaum, the author of V'Zos Habracha, and he confirmed that we treat sushi as the third category of Ikar and Tofel- TaArovet Tofel. Therefore, the bracha would be dictated by the largest ingredient by volume. I am no expert in sushi, but I feel like there is more rice than there is fish or vegetables (counted each separately)
Q12) How many grapes (smallish red grapes) are there in a Kazayis?
A12) It seems like 4 should do it, but maybe 5 to be on the safe side. (If you're interested in running an experiment, you can measure the water displacement of 4 or 5 grapes and see if they displace one fluid ounce - then you have a Kezayit.)
Q11) Any ideas about the beracha on hearts of palm? The gemorah in Berachos mentions it, but I'm not clear as to the outcome of the discussion.
A11) This a famous and popular bracha question and unfortunately there is no clear consensus as for an answer. I personally hold of V’zot Haberacha’s psak that they are Ha’adoma. (click here to see a lengthier discussion)
Q10) I was looking on the site to find out the bracha for Grits. Grits are made from corn; I was checking to see if they are HaAdama or SheHakol and was very surprised to see Mezonot/Al HaMichya listed as the proper brachot. Can you please tell me the source for this?
A10) The grits I am referring to are barley grits, however, you’re right, corn grits (also known as Corn Fritters) would be Shehokol and Borei Nefashot. The reason Corn Fritters are Shehokol as opposed to Ha’adoma is because it is made from milled and grounded corn. (see the Read more from the question on Kamut below.)
Q9) What is your source for Pringles being"Haadama"? All sources that I've checked, including "Zot Habracha",
say that Pringles are "Shehakol", because they are processed. I've
asked many rabbis in the past, they all said the same.
A9) You're right! I never saw this before, footnote 79 in the way back discusses pringles and say they are shehakol. My source for saying they are ha'adoma is Rav Bodner who writes:
"According to some Poskim, the brocha for “Pringles” ( potato chips made from dehydrated potato granules) is borei pri hoadoma, since the end product is recognizably a potato chip."
Q8) According to your site, lemons are shehakol and borei nefashos. May I ask you why?
A8) On the one hand, lemons come from trees, and thus deserve the bracha of Ha'etz. Yet, on the other hand, since lemons are bitter and not normally eaten directly, perhaps one shouldn't make any brocha. As for the final halacha, we differentiate between different types of lemons. Lemons that are really bitter and can only be eaten when forced down - wouldn't receive any bracha, since it is considered harmful. Lemons that are mildly bitter and are eaten with some difficulty receive a shehokol. Finally, lemons that are naturally sweet - would receive the bracha of Ha'etz. According to V'Zot Haberacha, almost all the lemons around nowadays fall into the second category. (As a side note, if one put sugar or something similar on the lemon, it would then qualify for Ha'etz.)
Q7) Does the product "Lactagen," designed to cure lactose intolerance, need a hechsher? If yes, can u tell me based on the ingredients if it is kosher? (see website www.lactagen .com)
A7) Sorry, but this question is way beyond me. However, i did find that the Star K Kashrut organization provides a useful approved medicine list and you can check it out at http://www.star-k.org/cons-appr-medecine.htm
Q6) Does one make a brocha on Listerine Pocketpaks Strips?
A6) No, it is not considered food.
Q5) Honey bunches of oats (all) is listed as mezonos, I was looking at the ingredient panel and the 1st ingredient is corn, can you please tell me why it is still mezonos (I would like to try and know how to figure out berachot when I don't have internet access to check the site!)
A5) True, but the second ingredient is whole grain wheat (and the fourth is whole grain rolled oats). These are from the 5 special grains and since they are processed and turned into Pas Haba Bisinin - they get a mezonot. Even though, corn is the majority ingredient, the Ikar mezonot is covering the tofel corn. (I discuss this in Ikar and Tofel, under the third category of, “Tofel by Form,” and in this category even a minority amount of mezonot can be the Ikar [as long as its not “serving.” An example of “serving” would be to thicken the batter or if used as a binding agent in a recipe, but here the mezonot adds its own flavor.] and would be considered the Ikar despite not be the majority ingredient.)
Q4) What is the bracha for quinoa?
A4) Quinoa is not one of the five special grains, and therefore could only recieve either an Ha'adoma or Shehokol depending on how it's used. If you grind it up and make it into a cake then it's shehokol, if kept whole - then Ha'adoma (see the Read more from the question on Kamut).
Q3) Can you tell me the proper beracha for Fortune Cookies?
A3) They are made with flour, but since they are hard (and thus, qualify as Pas Haba Bikisnin) they are Mezonot.
Q2) Which Beracha comes first, Mezonot or Ha' gafen?
A2) Mezonot then Ha'gafen (see more on Order of Brochos)
Q1) What's the Beracha for Kamut?
A1) It seems to me that kamut is a type of wheat, and therefore would follow all the same rules of wheat. If you just cooked the grains whole- then adoma, if made into cake - then mezonot, and if made into bread - then hamotzei. (Read more)
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