Shabbat Parashat Noach | 5764
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Question: Someone made the beracha of “Shehakol” on a food which required a different beracha (for argument’s sake, “Mezonot”). I know he is yotzei b’dieved (fulfilled his obligation, after the fact). However, does that mistaken beracha work to exempt other foods, either those which require “Mezonot” like the food he is eating or those that require “Shehakol” like the beracha he made?
Answer: In order to answer your question, we will have to investigate some of the concepts which you correctly assume and see how they apply to your case.
One does not have to make a separate beracha on every food he eats (even if it is not part of a meal, which he began with bread). Rather a beracha can pertain to any other food that he will eat at that sitting which shares the same beracha (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 206:5). The idea is that while the person’s most direct intention was on the first food upon which the beracha was said, he had some level of intention that other foods would or might be eaten afterward, and that the beracha should pertain to them as well (see Rama, ad loc. and Mishna Berura 206:20).
Another assumption you make is that “Shehakol” works for foods that should have gotten a different beracha. This is true and is part of a rule that more general berachot work b’dieved for ones for which a more specific, and, therefore, preferable beracha should have been said (Berachot 40a).
When we put these two facts together we have the following problem. If one makes “Shehakol” on milk, and then he is about to eat cookies, why should he make a beracha on them, as the “Shehakol” which was already said (b’dieved) is capable of exempting even cookies from a beracha? Rashi (Berachot 41a) answers that the idea of being yotzei with the more general beracha applies only when one makes it mistakenly on a certain food, but it does not extend to exempt other foods. Rabbeinu Yona (ad loc.) says that it actually all depends on intention. If one is correctly making “Ha’adama” on a vegetable, there is no reason to interpret his intention as one to exempt a beracha on a fruit that he will eat at the same sitting, as “Ha’etz”is the beracha it rightly deserves. The Shulchan Aruch (206:1), adopting Rabbeinu Yona’s approach says that if for some reason, one had in mind to use the beracha of “Ha’adama” for the vegetable and a fruit that was there as well, then he would not subsequently make “Ha’etz.”
Along similar lines, one who makes “Shehakol” on something which he later realized requires “Mezonot” had in mind (generally) not only for that food but also for everything else with that beracha, and all “Shehakol” foods are exempted (based on Mishna Berura 209:8). As we have seen, it is his intention that is crucial, not the fact that the new foods being brought out have a different beracha from the food he mistakenly made “Shehakol” on. On the other hand, foods that require “Mezonot” are not exempted, because he did not have them in mind when making “Shehakol,” as, to the best of his knowledge, it was the wrong beracha, l’chatchila.
The more interesting question is in regard to foods which share the beracha that he made, yet he presumably did not have them in mind. This can occur if the mistake was not in identifying the beracha of the food, but that he intended to correctly say “Mezonot” and “Shehakol” slipped out. In this case, the Har Tzvi (Orach Chayim 106-7) says that his intention for “Mezonot” foods excludes “Shehakol” foods from the beracha, and they would require a new beracha. He implies (and Piskei Teshuvot 206:6 states) that “Mezonot” foods are exempted with the “Shehakol,” because he intended to make a “Mezonot.”
The siituation may be different for foods that were not present when the mistaken beracha was made, but that discussion is beyond our present scope.
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