Halacha for Tuesday 10 Tammuz 5784 July 16 2024              

Halacha Date: 10 Tammuz 5784 July 16 2024

Category: Berachot

Fruits and Vegetables Grown in Flower Pots

On fruits which grow on trees, one recites the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing and on vegetables which grow from the ground, one recites the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing.

Truffles, Mushrooms, and Hydroponic Produce
The Mishnah (Berachot 40b) states, “On items which do not do not grow from the ground, one recite the blessing of ‘Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro.’” The reason why mushrooms require the “Shehakol” blessing and not the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing is because it is primarily nurtured through the air as opposed to from the ground. Thus, the “Ha’adama” blessing is not applicable to them, for they are not a fruit of the ground. The Rambam (Chapter 8, Halacha 8 of Hilchot Berachot), the Tur, and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 204) rule likewise.

We have already mentioned this topic with regards to our discussion of the laws of Shevi’it where we have quoted the ruling of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l that the appropriate blessing for all hydroponic produce, such as sprouts that are grown in vessels on top of water treated with all types of nutrients, is “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro.”

Hydroponic Produce and Produce Grown in Flower Pots Regarding Shevi’it
Based on this, it is permissible to sprout an avocado pit in a pitcher of water during Shevi’it and this does not constitute the forbidden work of planting on Shevi’it since the Torah only forbids planting in earth; however, planting in water which has no earth in it is permissible.

Regarding a flower pot that does not have holes through which it can be connected to the ground, we have written that it does not share the same law as actual ground in which it is forbidden to plant during Shevi’it. Nevertheless, our Sages forbade planting even in such a flower pot without holes during Shevi’it, as we have explained previously.

Fruits and Vegetables Grown In a Flower Pot
We must now discuss the law regarding fruits grown on trees housed within large barrels or vegetables grown in flower pots. Does this produce retain the same law as produce grown from the ground and will require the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” or “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing or will it require the “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro” blessing similar to hydroponic produce since it is not actual produce grown from the ground?

Indeed, the Chayei Adam (Chapter 51, Section 17) writes that if wheat was planted in a flower pot without holes and was used to make bread, the “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” blessing is not recited on this bread, for this flower pot is not considered “earth.” He supports his view based on a Talmud Yerushalmi. He therefore rules that one should not recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” on vegetables grown in flower pots without holes, for “Ha’adama” only applies to something connected to the ground. He brings a proof from the Gemara in Masechet Chullin.

On the other hand, after analyzing the opinion of the Chayei Adam, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l quotes the words of Hagaon Harav Chaim Pontrimoli zt”l in his Sefer Petach Ha’Devir where he rules: “Bread baked from wheat grown in a flower pot without holes but placed on the ground requires the “Hamotzi” blessing, for this bread is likewise considered bread which grows from the ground. Similarly, vegetables grown in such flower pots require the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing.” (The Petach Ha’Devir (Chapter 206) rules that the same applies to trees grown in such flower pots without holes and their fruits require the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing.)

Nevertheless, all of this applies only to a flower which is placed on the ground and underneath it is earth; however, if it is placed inside the house on any type of flooring (tile, parquet, carpet, etc.), one can imply from the words of the Petach Ha’Devir that the blessing on such vegetables is “Shehakol Nihya Bidvaro” and not “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” similar to the law regarding hydroponic produce. (Halachically speaking, this matter must be delved into deeper regarding a flower pot which is not directly on the ground.)

Summary: Produce which grows from the ground, such as fruit or vegetables, requires its appropriate blessing of either “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” or “Boreh Peri Ha’adama.” Produce grown in non-perforated flower pots placed on the ground in one’s yard and the like likewise requires either the “Ha’etz” or “Ha’adama” blessing. Hydroponic produce requires the “Shehakol” blessing.

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