Shabbat Parashat Eikev| 5765
Ask the Rabbi
Question: If I eat (not during a meal) fruit salad containing a variety of fruit, including melon, peaches, and grapes, what beracha acharona (= ba)do I make on it?
Answer: You imply that you know the beracha rishona on the fruit salad, and this actually will affect the answer regarding the ba.
The ba on the majority of the ingredients in a standard fruit salad is Borei Nefashot. Assuming you eat a k’zayit of those fruit, you have an obligation to say Borei Nefashot. If you have less than a k’zayit of grapes (and/or the other of the five fruit that get an Al Ha’etz) then there is no possible obligation to recite Al Ha’etz. The question arises when you have a k’zayit eachof Borei Nefashot fruit and Al Ha’etz fruit. Which of the berachot “wins out” or do you make two berachot acharonot?
The main question is how to look at a fruit salad, which contains ingredients that form a new food, yet the “building blocks” are clearly discernable. Is it one food or many? When one “noshes” from a vegetable platter, we look at the individual vegetables as separate entities. When one mashes different fruits or vegetables together until the ingredients are not distinct, then we certainly have one entity. In that case, there is a single beracha, which is determined by the majority (volume-wise) of the ingredients (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 208:7). The question is how to categorize a food, like fruit salad, which is intended to be eaten as a combination (i.e. each spoonful contains a few varieties), but the ingredients are distinct enough to select one at a time if one desires. In this case, a significant machloket exists. The Mishna Berura (212:1) says that one makes one beracha based on the majority, whereas the Chayei Adam (51:13) says that you make separate berachot. The more accepted opinion is the Mishna Berura’s that one makes only one beracha, but there are some who follow the Chayei Adam (or try to arrange things to accommodate both opinions) (Piskei Teshuvot 212:4; V’zot Haberacha 11:3).
The outcome of this machloket has a direct impact on the question of the ba (see Piskei Teshuvot 208:14). According to the Mishna Berura, you look at the fruit salad as one unit, and, assuming the grapes (and other of the five minim, including raisins) do not constitute a majority, you recite only Borei Nefashot. However, if one has the practice to make two berachot (or, according to all, in a case that the pieces of fruit are so big that they are eaten individually), then there is an obligation to make Al Ha’etz even if the grapes are a minority. Here, the situation is tricky. When one eats separately, but at the same sitting, fruits of trees that get Borei Nefashot and those that get Al Ha’etz, then the Al Ha’etz exempts him from saying Borei Nefashot (Shulchan Aruch, OC 208:13). That is because Al Ha’etz is appropriate, on a certain level, for all fruit of tree, just that the more elaborate beracha was reserved for the five special species that Eretz Yisrael were praised for (see Beit Yosef, ad loc.). However, that would only exempt one from the ba on the peaches, apples, etc. But if the salad required a Borei Pri Ha’adama for melon, pineapple, etc. and one had a k’zayit of that component, then he would need a Borei Nefashot as well. But again, the Mishna Berura’s approach is the more prevalent one.
Let’s end with a little mathematical/halachic riddle. If a fruit salad has 40% grapes, 35% melon, and 25% apples, what berachot (rishona and acharona) does one make, according to the Mishna Berura? The answer is that, regarding each beracha, we must find the common denominator that forms a majority. For the beracha rishona, the apples and grapes join up to require a Borei Pri Ha’etz. Regarding the ba, the apples and melons join up to require a Borei Nefashot. Paradoxically, the smallest component “wins” twice by teaming up to form a majority.
Enjoy your summer (fruit)!
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