Halacha for Tuesday 25 Iyar 5780 May 19 2020

Question: Must one recite the “Boreh Nefashot Rabbot” blessing after drinking hot tea or coffee?

Answer: We have already discussed on several occasions that after drinking any beverage, one must recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing. The amount one must drink in order to become obligated to recite this blessing is a Revi’it in one shot, i.e. approximately 81 cc or 2.8 fluid ounces.

However, another condition must be met in order for one to become obligated to recite an after-blessing which is that one must drink this amount in one shot (i.e. in the usual manner that people drink, even if this is in two or three gulps, but the gulps must be swallowed one after another in a continuous manner and without interruption). On the other hand, if one sips water or any other beverage slowly, even if collectively one has drunk the amount of a Revi’it, one will not recite an after-blessing.

Now to our discussion: If one drinks a Revi’it of tea or coffee but not in one shot, must one recite an after-blessing or not? This means to say, do tea and coffee have a different law than other beverages?

Indeed, Hagaon Rabbeinu Avraham Ha’Levi rules in his Responsa Ginat Veradim that since the usual manner of drinking tea or coffee is to sip them slowly and not swallow larger gulps in one shot, even if one has sipped the Revi’it slowly, one will be obligated to recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing since this is the way these beverages are drunk. This is because the determining factor regarding reciting an after-blessing is the “way of the world,” i.e. the normal way such a beverage is drunk; thus, as long as one has drunk a Revi’it of the coffee or tea even if this was not done in one shot, one should recite an after-blessing on them. Hagaon Kenesset Ha’Gedolah rules likewise.

Nevertheless, the Peri Chadash rebuffs the opinion of the Ginat Veradim and rules that the only way one can become obligated to recite an after-blessing on beverages is if one drinks a Revi’it of the beverage in a continuous manner; if one sipped a Revi’it of the beverage slowly, one will not recite an after-blessing. Many Acharonim agree to his opinion. Even the Ginat Veradim himself who rules that one need not drink the coffee in one shot writes that the custom in the holy city of Jerusalem is not to recite an after-blessing after drinking a hot coffee. Thus, the custom follows the opinion of the great Peri Chadash.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l deals with this matter extensively in his Responsa Yabia Omer and then once again in his Responsa Yechave Da’at and rules that halachically speaking, since we follow the rule that “when in doubt regarding a blessing, do not bless,” one should not recite an after blessing after sipping hot tea or coffee slowly. Although he provides several proofs to the opinion of the Ginat Veradim, nevertheless, since a doubt still exists, one should not recite an after-blessing unless one has drunk a Revi’it of the beverage in one shot.

Summary: One does not become obligated to recite an after-blessing on beverages unless one drinks a Revi’it (approximately 2.8 fluid ounces) of the beverage in a continuous manner. It makes no differences whether one is drinking water, tea, coffee, or any other beverage and one will never be obligated to recite an after-blessing unless one drinks a Revi’it of the beverage in one shot.

In the next Halacha we shall discuss whether one who drinks a Revi’it of tea or coffee in one shot becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing or perhaps, an after-blessing never applies to tea and coffee.

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