Halacha for Monday 12 Shevat 5781 January 25 2021

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israel has been praised with, as we have explained. Now we shall deal with a scenario where priority is given to a certain blessing over another not because of the innate importance of the food, rather, because of the importance of the blessing itself.

The rule is that the more specific a blessing is, the more significant it is. For instance, the blessing of “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro” (“That everything was created through His word”) is not such a specific blessing in that it includes the entire creation within it. Thus, this blessing is not as important as the rest of the blessings where the praise of Hashem is more explicit within them.

For instance, the blessings of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” or “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” are more specific in that they apply exclusively to fruits of the tree or of the ground. It is for this reason that one who recites the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” or “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessings on water or cheese and the like does not fulfill his obligation, for these blessings do not include the idea of the creation of water or cheese at all. However, if the opposite happens, meaning that one recites the “Shehakol” blessing on fruits or vegetables, one does, in fact, fulfill his obligation, for the “Shehakol” blessing includes all creations, including fruits and vegetables.

Based on this, if there are fruits and other foods which require a “Shehakol” blessing placed in front of an individual, one must first recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing on the fruits, for this blessing is more important in that it only exempts fruits of the tree. Similarly, if there are vegetables and other foods that require the “Shehakol” blessing in front of a person, one must first recite the blessing on the vegetable, for this blessing is more important in that it exempts only produce of the ground.

Summary: The blessings of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” and “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” should be recited before the blessing of “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro.” Thus, if there are fruits and other foods which require the “Shehakol” blessing placed in front of an individual, one should first recite a blessing on the fruits, taste a piece of fruit, and only then recite the “Shehakol” blessing and partake of the other foods.

In the next Halacha we shall explain some more details regarding these laws.

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