Halacha for Monday 6 Tevet 5771 December 13 2010              

Halacha Date: 6 Tevet 5771 December 13 2010

Category: Berachot

The Laws of Mistaken Blessings

The Mishna in Masechet (Tractate) Berachot page 40a teaches us that on the fruits of a tree one blesses “Borei Peri Ha’etz” and on fruits of the ground (i.e. vegetables) one blesses “Borei Peri Ha’adama.” The Mishna further states that one who blessed “Borei Peri Ha’adama” on a fruit fulfills his obligation whereas one who blessed “Borei Peri Ha’etz” on a vegetable has not fulfilled his obligation, and if one blessed “Shehakol” on any of them he fulfills his obligation.  This means that if one mistakenly blessed “Borei Peri Ha’adama” on a fruit for which the appropriate blessing would have been “Borei Peri Ha’etz,” for instance if one takes an orange in his hand and blesses “Borei Peri Ha’adama”, he fulfills his obligation of to bless for all produce, including fruits that grow on trees, indeed grow from the ground. Therefore, the blessing of “Borei Peri Ha’adama” is applicable to all produce, even those whose appropriate blessing is “Borei Peri Ha’etz.”
However, if one mistakenly blessed “Borei Peri Ha’etz” on a vegetable which would normally require the “Borei Peri Ha’adama” blessing, he has not fulfilled his obligation, his blessing is in vain, and he must still recite the “Borei Peri Ha’adama” blessing before eating. This is because the “Borei Peri Ha’etz” blessing does not include produce that grows from the ground for they do not in fact grow on trees.
When the Mishna says “and on any of them,” this means if one mistakenly blessed “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro” on fruits or vegetables, he has fulfilled his obligation to bless for indeed they were all created by the word of Hashem. There is a dispute amongst the Rabbis in the Gemara about one who recited the “Shehakol” blessing on bread or wine if he fulfills his obligation or not, and the Halacha follows the Rishonim and Maran HaShulchan Aruch who have ruled that even if one blessed “Shehakol” on bread he fulfills his obligation and he need not recite any further blessings.
Since one who blesses “Borei Peri Ha’adama” on produce that should require a “Borei Peri Ha’etz” fulfills his obligation, the Poskim write that any produce about which its blessing lies in question whether to recite “Borei Peri Ha’etz” or “Borei Peri Ha’adama” on it, one should simply recite the “Borei Peri Ha’adama” blessing on it. Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit”a writes regarding the blessing on a banana which is a dispute between the Poskim whether it is a fruit of a tree or a fruit of the ground, that one should recite “Borei Peri Ha’adama” because of the uncertainty. Similarly, the blessing on eggplants and peppers is also up for debate for there is a dispute if they are considered to be fruits or vegetables; one should thus bless “Borei Peri Ha’adama” in order to fulfill his obligation according to all opinions.

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