Halacha for Tuesday 20 Cheshvan 5782 October 26 2021

Must One Recite a Blessing Before Merely Tasting a Food?

We have already discussed several times that regarding the laws of Blessings of Enjoyment recited before eating that there is no limit for reciting a blessing before eating, meaning that no matter what amount of food or beverage one eats or drinks, one must still recite a blessing. The reason for this is because one may not enjoy from this world without reciting a blessing and one enjoys while eating or drinking a small amount. Only with regards to an after-blessing or Birkat Hamazon must one eat the amount of a Kezayit (olive’s volume approximately 27 grams) as we have discussed in the past. To recite a blessing before eating, however, requires no minimum amount to be eaten.

The Gemara (Berachot 14a) states that if one eats a food not for the purpose of eating, rather, one does so merely to taste the food in order to ascertain if it is missing a certain spice and the like, one should not recite a blessing before tasting the food. Only if one tastes the amount of a Revi’it (approximately 81 ml) must one recite a blessing, for in such a case, it does not make sense that one would taste such a large amount of food without also having in mind to “eat” it since one does not require such a large amount just in order to “taste.”

The Rishonim disagree regarding the explanation of the above Gemara concerning one who does not need to recite a blessing before merely tasting a food. According to Rabbeinu Chananel, one who merely tastes a small amount of food is exempt from reciting a blessing before eating only when one spits out the food after tasting it, for since one is not swallowing anything, one need not recite a blessing on the food. On the other hand, according to the Rambam, even if swallows the small amount of food he has tasted, as long as one does not intend to “eat” and is only doing so to “taste,” one will not recite a blessing before eating this food, for our Sages only instated blessings upon foods one eats and enjoys while intending to actually “eat” and not merely “taste.”

Halachically speaking, Maran rules in his Bet Yosef that since the Rif agrees with the opinion of the Rambam and there is an issue of a “doubt regarding blessings,” for according to the opinion that one should not recite a blessing before tasting a small amount of food even if one swallows it, doing so would constitute a blessing in vain, thus, the Halacha follows the opinion of the Rambam that since one does not intend to actually “eat,” one does not recite a blessing before doing so. Maran rules likewise in his Shulchan Aruch.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that the Tashbetz (Rabbeinu Shimon bar Tzemach, one of the great Rishonim) agrees with the opinion of Rabbeinu Chananel and explains that even according to the Rambam, as long as one swallows that which one has tasted, one must recite a blessing before eating and the aforementioned Gemara which exempts one from reciting a blessing applies only when one spits out the food he has tasted. Several other Rishonim rule likewise. Nevertheless, halachically speaking, the ruling on this matter certainly follows that of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, for we have a great rule that “When in doubt regarding a blessing, act leniently and do not bless.”

Nonetheless, in order to try and fulfill all opinions, it is preferable that before one tastes any given food, one should have in mind specifically to enjoy the food one is tasting and treat it as though one were actually “eating” in which case one would be permitted to recite a blessing before tasting according to all opinions, for one intends to enjoy what he is eating as well. Doing so would save one from any concern of eating without first reciting a blessing.

Summary: If one merely tastes any given food, one should not recite a blessing on the food before doing so (unless one tastes an amount of 81 ml). Nevertheless, it is preferable for one to intend to actually “eat” and enjoy the food while one tastes it in which case one will be permitted to recite a blessing before tasting the food and will have fulfilled all of the various opinions quoted by the Poskim.

Ask the Rabbi

ספר אביר הרועים - בית מידות
ספר אביר הרועים
לפרטים לחץ כאן

הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Taking Haircuts and Shaving During the Omer Period

Abstaining from Taking Haircuts During the Omer It has become customary among the Jewish nation to refrain from taking haircuts during the Omer counting period: According to the Ashkenazi custom, until the 33rd day of the Omer and according to the Sephardic custom, until the morning of the 34th day......

Read Halacha

Producing Sound and Whistling on Shabbat

The Gemara in Masechet Eruvin (104a) tells us that our Sages banned producing sound on Shabbat and Yom Tov, for instance, by playing a musical instrument, for they were concerned that while the tune is being played, the player will come to fix the instrument. This decree would certainly apply eve......

Read Halacha

Clapping and Drumming on a Table on Shabbat and Yom Tov

The Gemara in Masechet Beitzah (30a) states that one may not drum, clap, or dance on Shabbat lest one come to fix a musical instrument (ibid. 36b). This means that just as we have discussed in the previous Halachot that our Sages have decreed that one may not play musical instruments on Shabbat ......

Read Halacha

Toys Which Produce Sound and those Which Operate Using a Spring or Coil

Question: Is it permissible for one to allow one’s young children to play with toys which produce sound, such as a doll which makes noise when shaken, on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition of producing sound on Shabbat, such as by banging on a board, ......

Read Halacha

Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: Approximately one week ago, we have discussed that, before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, I......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b) ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Kissing One’s Parents’ Hands on Shabbat Night- The Students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Question: Should one kiss the hands of one’s parents and receive a blessing from them on Shabbat night and does the same apply equally to one’s father and mother? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Avodah Zarah (17a) tells us that when Ulah (a sage who lived during the Talmudic era) would......

Read Halacha