Halacha for Wednesday 26 Iyar 5780 May 20 2020

An After-Blessing After Drinking Tea or Coffee-An Incident Involving Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l

In the previous Halacha we have discussed the basic laws of reciting an after-blessing after drinking a beverage in that as long as has drunk a Revi’it (approximately 81 cc or 2.8 fluid ounces) of the beverage in one shot (in a continuous manner without interruption between gulps), one recites the “Boreh Nefashot” blessing after drinking the beverage. However, if one drinks less than a Revi’it or if one drinks a Revi’it of the beverage slowly, in several sips, one does not recite any after-blessing.

Based on the above, it would seem clear that if one drinks a Revi’it of hot tea or coffee in one shot, such as when the tea or coffee cools off and this becomes possible, one should certainly recite an after-blessing after drinking just like any other beverage.

Nevertheless, this is not so simple, for we have explained above that the amount one must drink in order to become obligated to recite an after-blessing is contingent upon the way most people drink the given beverage. Since most people do not drink coffee cold (we are not discussing iced coffee at this point), Hagaon Chida writes that this persons actions “are voided by the actions of most of humanity” and one will not recite any after-blessing at all, for this is not the normal manner in which most people enjoy tea or coffee. Although this is subject to a disagreement among the Poskim, many Acharonim concur with the opinion of Maran Ha’Chida and write that the custom some have of allowing their tea or coffee to cool off so that they can drink a Revi’it of it in one shot and recite an after-blessing is an improper custom, for they have gained nothing by doing so and this blessing is a possible blessing in vain.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l delves deeply into this manner as well and rules in accordance with the opinion of Hagaon Chida that if one drinks (black) coffee in one shot, one should not recite an after-blessing, for this is not the usual way to drink coffee. Nevertheless, with regards to tea which many people allow to cool off so they can drink it quickly to quench their thirst, one cannot claim that this is not the way most people drink tea; thus, if one’s tea has cooled off and one has drunk a Revi’it of the tea in one shot, one should recite an after-blessing.

It seems that the same would apply to coffee with some milk mixed into it and has cooled off somewhat in that since many people drink coffee quickly in such a manner since it is not so hot, if one drinks a Revi’it of the coffee in one shot, one should recite an after-blessing after drinking. Nevertheless, if one adds only a small amount of milk such that the coffee is still hot and can only be sipped slowly and one has drunk the entire coffee in this manner (as opposed to drinking a Revi’it in one shot towards the end of the cup once it has significantly cooled off), one will not recite an after-blessing in this manner.

Let us now relate an amazing story related to this issue: Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l would walk every day from his home to the Yeshiva where he taught. For many years, he would pass on his way a Café which would serve coffee to people seated on tables outside alongside the sidewalk. Hagaon Harav Auerbach paid attention that whenever someone was served coffee, he was also served a glass of cold water along with it. (This was done because this is how coffee is served in many elegant coffee houses around the world, especially in France.)

One day many years later, a son-in-law of Hagaon Harav Auerbach, Hagaon Harav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg Shlit”a, began discussing the subject matter we are currently dealing with (reciting an after-blessing after drinking coffee) with his teacher, Hagaon Harav Auerbach. After analyzing the subject in great detail, Hagaon Harav Auerbach exclaimed, “Look at what a nice custom they have in the Café I pass on my way to the Yeshiva every day. Because they are concerned with the opinion of the Poskim that one must recite an after-blessing after drinking coffee, they also serve a glass of cold water so that the customers can recite an after-blessing according to all opinions!”

Indeed, Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was known to be extremely keen and not naïve at all; however, because of his tremendous righteousness, love of his fellow Jew, and the Torah which he constantly toiled in, he genuinely could not think of any other reason for why one would serve a glass of cold water along with coffee besides for the fact that the Café owner was concerned with the opinion of the Poskim that one must recite an after-blessing after drinking coffee!

Based on this incident with Hagaon Harav Auerbach zt”l we can infer that of one wishes to act stringently in accordance with all opinions, one should drink a Revi’it of water (in one shot) along with one’s coffee in which case one may recite an after-blessing according to all opinions and in this way, one shall truly be blessed.

Summary: If one drinks a Revi’it of coffee with milk or tea which have cooled off in one shot, one should recite an after-blessing of “Boreh Nefashot Rabbot” after drinking. However, if one drinks a very hot beverage or black coffee (which is not usually drunk cold), even if one drinks a Revi’it in one shot, since most people do not drink in this manner, one should not recite an after-blessing after drinking.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Shavuot- Teachings of Kindness

The Torah introduces the momentous event of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation with the verse (Shemot 19), “On the third month from when the children of Israel left Egypt, on this day they arrived at the Sinai desert.” Our Sages in the Pesikta ask: Why is it that the Torah w......

Read Halacha

“Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (The Twelfth Blessing of the Amida)

Question: In the Blessing regarding the heretics in the daily Amida prayer, how should one end the twelfth blessing: “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (He who smashes enemies and humbles the wicked) or “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Minim” (He who smashes enemies and humb......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by strik......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halachot we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha


How One Should Conduct Himself in the Morning

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5) states: “Yehuda ben Tema says: Be bold like a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and mighty as a lion to perform the will of your father in Heaven.” Let us now explain this Mishnah. The Tanna writes that one must be as “bold as a ......

Read Halacha

The Holiday of Shavuot- Coronavirus

The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated, G-d willing, at the conclusion of the period of the counting of the Omer this coming Friday (beginning from Thursday night), the 6th of Sivan (and outside of Israel on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan as well). Let us, therefore, begin to discuss some of the perti......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

Question: What is the significance of reciting Kaddish for a deceased individual? Answer: When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Simil......

Read Halacha

Deceit and Trickery

One may not deceive or trick others when it comes to monetary transactions. Monetary Deceit If one knows that one’s merchandise is flawed or faulty, one must reveal this to the buyer. For instance, if one wishes to sell his home and he knows that the ceiling is full of mold because of a bu......

Read Halacha