Halacha for Thursday 1 Shevat 5784 January 11 2024

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on Similar Types of Fruit

In the previous Halacha, we have established that one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on citrus fruits, such as grapefruits or oranges, which are not so readily available throughout the year. When one merits eating from these fruits the first time during the year and the fruits are new to this year, one should recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing followed by the blessing of “Shehecheyanu Ve’Kiyemanu Ve’Higianu La’Zeman Hazeh,” after which one partakes of the fruit. Although certain citrus fruits are not natural fruits and are the byproducts of grafting different species together, nevertheless, this does not impede the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, as is the prevalent custom.

We must now discuss a situation where one recited the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a certain citrus fruit, for instance, a grapefruit, and a few days later oranges were brought before him; may one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing again on the oranges or do we say that since these fruits are considered the same species as they are all citrus fruits, especially according to the opinion that oranges consist of a grafted version of the grapefruit, one should not recite another “Shehecheyanu” blessing on the oranges?

The root of this question is already subject to a disagreement among the Rishonim. Regarding black (purple) figs and white (green) ones, some say that each variety requires its own “Shehecheyanu” blessing since they are fruits that are different from one another, be it with regards to their appearance and their taste. Others, however, say that one should not recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on each variety since ultimately, they are the same species. These authorities bring a proof to their opinion from the laws of Terumah (tithing), for it is clear from the Mishnah in Masechet Terumot that such fruits are considered one species. If so, the same applies to the “Shehecheyanu” blessing in that they are considered one species and a second “Shehecheyanu” blessing should not be recited.

Regarding citrus fruits, however, it is quoted in the name of Hagaon Harav Ben Zion Abba Shaul zt”l (Ohr Le’Zion Volume 2, page 141) that according to all opinions, one must recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on various citrus fruits since these fruits differ from one another in three ways: Name (each fruit has its own name, i.e. orange, grapefruit, pomelo, clementine, citron, etc.), appearance (each of these fruits possess a different external appearance), and taste (each of these fruits possess their own distinct taste). According to the opinion that one would even recite a separate “Shehecheyanu” blessing on different colored figs, one would certainly recite a “Shehecheyanu” blessing on each kind of citrus fruit. Even if one were to now eat a fruit which has been grafted from a fruit that he has already eaten previously, one would still be permitted to recite a “Shehecheyanu” on each species, for ultimately, there is now a completely different fruit before him.

Similarly, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim rules in his Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Re’eh) that a separate “Shehecheyanu” blessing should be recited for both cucumbers and squash, for although they are extremely similar to one another, since each one possesses its own distinct name, appearance, and taste, one may recite a “Shehecheyanu” on each one.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise (in his Halichot Olam Volume 2, page 200) regarding citrus fruits in that as long as there is a distinction in outer appearance, name, and taste, one should recite a separate “Shehecheyanu” blessing on each type of fruit.

Summary: One should recite a “Shehecheyanu” blessing before partaking of a new citrus fruit. Even if one has already eaten grapefruit and recited the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on it, one may recite another “Shehecheyanu” blessing before partaking of oranges or any other citrus fruit for that matter.

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