Halacha for Tuesday 13 Shevat 5781 January 26 2021

Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far
In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing.

Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” Over “Boreh Peri Ha’adama
The only thing left to explain is the proper procedure to follow when there are both fruits of a tree and produce of the ground in front of an individual. If, for instance, one has in front of him pineapple (which requires a “Boreh Peri Ha’adama blessing) and an apple or a cucumber and a date, does one have precedence over the other?

The Disagreement Among the Rishonim
Indeed, there is a dispute among the Rishonim about this and some are of the opinion that since the blessing of “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” includes in it fruits of a tree as well (since trees indeed grow from the ground), the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing is considered less specific than the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing and the more specific blessing of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” must therefore be recited first. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot and others rule likewise.

Most Rishonim, however, maintain that there is no priority in such a situation, for although regarding the “Shehakol” blessing which is all-inclusive and therefore of minimal significance does the blessing of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” have priority, nevertheless, the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing is considered no less important than “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” and one does not have priority over the other. This is the opinion of Rav Hai Gaon, the Rif, and others.

The Bottom Line
Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 211, Section 3) rules in accordance with the majority of the Rishonim that there is, in fact, no priority of the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing over the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing. Thus, if one has fruits of a tree and produce of the ground in front of him, one may recite a blessing on whichever item one wishes first, taste it, and subsequently recite a blessing upon the other. Therefore, in the above situation where one has pineapple and an apple in front of him, one may recite a blessing on whichever one he wants first. (Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that since there are those who rule that “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” does have priority over “Boreh Peri Ha’adama,” it is proper to recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing before the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing unless one likes the vegetable or other produce of the ground better, in which case one should recite a blessing on the one he enjoys more first.)

Priority of a Fruit of the Seven Species Over a Vegetable
This that we mentioned that one need not recite the blessing on fruits before vegetables (or other produce of the ground) applies even when the fruit is a member of the Seven Species, for instance, in the above situation where there were cucumbers and dates placed in front of an individual, although cucumbers require the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing and dates require the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing and it is one of the Seven Species, one still need not recite a blessing on the dates first. The reason for this is because the only time that the Seven Species take precedence over another food is only with regards to another fruit that shares the same blessing, for instance dates and apples. However, if the two foods have different blessings, for instance, cucumbers and dates, the dates do not take precedence over the cucumbers.

Summary: If one has a “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” item and a “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” item before him, one need not give precedence to one’s blessing over the other.

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