Halachot of Berachot
Questions and Answers
Making the right bracha on soups is very confusing and often people get this one wrong. However, if you read over the general rules and understand them then it will be easy to remember the specifics. Let’s start with the two important factors when working with vegetables in the soups:
- Are the vegetables solid pieces (and thus retain their original bracha) OR finely blended (so that they become shehakol)
- Even if they are whole, perhaps you don’t want them there - so they would be tofel.
3 General Rules
What come from these two factors are 3 general Rules:
- If there are pieces of vegetables in the soup, that aren’t tofel, then the entire soup is Ha’adoma.
- If there are no solid pieces of vegetables in the soup OR if there are pieces just that they are tofel then the entire soup is Shehakol
- If there is barley or noodles, even if it is not the majority ingredient, then the entire soup is Mezonot.
How can you tell if they are Tofel or Not
- The Vegetables are only Tofel if the chef deems them as such, regardless of the preferences of the consumer. Therefore if the soup was cooked with vegetable pieces but the consumer decides only to eat the broth he would still have to make a Ha’adoma.
- In Vegetable soups, by the chef putting in the vegetables he is clearly indicated he wants them there - thus they would NOT be Tofel
- If, however, the chef puts the vegetables in, but he want the water MORE then the vegetables ARE TOFEL.
- If there are solid vegetable pieces then Ha’adoma. If they are finely pureed then Shehakol
- Moreover, it won’t change anything if one puts in flour to thicken the broth (see Ikar and Tofel: Serving Tofel)
Chicken or Meat Soup
- This is what I was referring to in Factor 2. Even if they are whole chunks of celery and carrots in the chicken soup, the chicken broth is the ikar and the vegetables only add flavor. Thus, one would only make a shehakol.
- If there are SOUP NUTS or CROUTONS in the chicken soup – since they are only to enhance the ikar broth we treat the croutons as Tofel. However mezonot tofel still requires its own bracha (see Ikar and Tofel) therefore one would need to make a separate mezonot on the croutons.
- MATZO BALLS and KREPLACH also require their own mezonos.
- If noodles - then Mezonot
- If no noodles but rather only water and vegetables – then it could be either Shehakol or Ha’adoma depending on how you consider the vegetables. This is similar to the Chicken Soup example. Most people don’t actually treat those vegetables in instant soups as the Ikar. Often they don’t even like them but even if they do, they are at most considered something which contributes flavor to the ikar broth. Their intent is to eat the broth. The vegetables are just like the other spices in that they add some flavor. Therefore most people should say Shehakol on Instant soup without noodles.
- Mushroom Barley soup would be mezonot based on General Rule 3
- Plain Mushrooms are Shehakol therefore Mushroom soup is also Shehakol
- If there are Mushroom and other vegetables – since neither is tofel (you put them both in) then you go by the majority ingredient to determine the single overall bracha.
- If solid pieces then Ha’adoma
- If finely pureed then Shehakol
- If rice was cooked in as well then this becomes a case of ikar and tofel since its cooken and eaten together and therefore only one brach as needed. If your primarily want tomato soup and the rice enhances then Ha’adoma. If you primarily want the rice ance the tomato flavoring enhances then Mezonot. If you want both equally go by majority ingredient.
Split Pea Soup
- If noodles then mezonot
- If solid pieces then Ha’adoma
- If just liquid then shehakol
- Pieces then Ha’adoma
- Liqiud then Shehakol
- If solid pieces - then Ha’etiz
- If liquid - then Shehakol
- If both Ha’etz items and Ha’adoma items - go by majority ingredient
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