Halacha Date: 25 Sivan 5777 June 19 2017
In the previous Halacha, we have explained that after one recites a blessing on any food, one may not speak at all until one partakes of that food. We have written that one should swallow some of the food and only then is it permissible to speak. However, if one has only tasted some of the food and not yet swallowed, one should not speak. Nevertheless, if one mistakenly spoke after merely tasting the food, one need not recite another blessing, for the essence of the blessing was established for the enjoyment of the taste of the food, even without swallowing.
One Who Recites a Blessing on a Food and then Hears Another Blessing or Kaddish
Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that since it is forbidden to speak between reciting a blessing on a food and eating, even if one recites a blessing and immediately hears a friend recite another blessing or Kaddish, one may not stop and answer “Amen” to the blessing or Kaddish until one has eaten some of the food. One who speaks between reciting the blessing and eating has caused the blessing to become a blessing in vain. This is especially common at “Hazkara” meals or “Amen” parties commonly attended by women that each recite their own blessings on their food and drink and answer “Amen” to everyone else’s blessings, in that one must be careful not to answer “Amen” to another’s blessing until one has partaken of some food after one’s own blessing.
One Who Has Tasted Some of the Food But Not Swallowed and then Hears the Blessing of Another
Nevertheless, Maran zt”l points out that since the primary aspect of the blessing was established for the bodily enjoyment of the food’s flavor, if one has already tasted the food but not yet swallowed anything and then hears a blessing or Kaddish recited by someone else, one should not wait until one swallows; rather, one should answer “Amen” immediately, even before swallowing. Clearly though, when the food is close to the back of one’s throat and one cannot answer “Amen”, one should not answer “Amen”, and one should only do so in one’s mind.
Blessing on Chewing Gum
Based on the above, this would pose a ramification regarding chewing gum as well, which has no substance but does have taste. For this reason, some authorities rule that one should not recite any blessing before eating gum. Nevertheless, Maran zt”l has rebuffed this opinion, for as long as one’s palate enjoys the flavor of the given food, one must recite a blessing. This is especially true since by chewing gum, some substance from the sugar and other flavorings enter the body of the individual in which case, according to all opinions, one must recite a blessing on it.