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Thought for the Day: Shiva Minim and Chaviv

When deciding which food to eat first, ie, which bracha comes first, chaviv (what I like) comes at the bottom of the list.  That is because posikim tell us the order of categories of brachos, and it is only when I have several foods in the same category that chaviv kicks in.  For example, I have an strawberry and a kiwi, whichever I generally like better will take precedence.  Shiva minim only comes into play when I have the same bracha (not category).  So if I have a strawberry and a grape, the strawberry comes first (for me); I like strawberries better than grapes and they are different brachos, so shiva minim doesn't come into play.  If I have a kiwi and a grape, however, the grape comes first because they are both "borei pri ha'eitz" and the grape is from the shiva minim.  Simple enough.

Suppose, now, that I have a strawberry, a grape, and a kiwi; and I want to eat all of them.  I like kiwi best, strawberry a close second, and grapes a distant third.  If I decide to go with the kiwi, the grape trumps because it is also ha'eitz and from the shiva minim.  But if I take the grape first, then there is that strawberry that I like better which is "ha'adama", so it goes first.  Now that I have that strawberry almost to my mouth, I see the kiwi.  Since I like kiwi better than strawberry, the kiwi should go first.  But now am in "ha'eitz" land and the grape goes first.  But... round and round she goes!  How do I get off the merry-go-round and eat my snack?

To answer this we need to clarify how making one bracha for two foods works.  First recall how ikar (primary) and tafel (subordinate/supporting) works.  The bracha on lemon pudding is she'hakol.  The bracha on lemon meringue pie is m'zonos.  Even if I have lemon pudding left after the crust is gone, I don't make another bracha because the pudding, by becoming tafel to the crust, has lost its identity -- the bracha of m'zonos therefore already covered it.  Now, when I have a strawberry and banana in front of me, so I am going to make only one ha'adama.  I could say that the banana has become tafel to the strawberry, and therefore lost its separate identity.  Or I could say that since I am eating two foods with the same bracha, I need to have them both in mind when I make the bracha.

How that works will make a difference to our case of the kiwi, strawberry, and grape.  If the kiwi becomes tafel to the grape, then I would eat the strawberry first (as shiva minim only kicks in when the bracha is the same).  If I need to have both in mind, then the grape will come first.  Why?  Because "both in mind" means I am making a bracha on both things simultaneously and it is only that I can't eat them both simultaneously that I need to eat one first.  Therefore, I will want to make a bracha on the kiwi first because it is most chaviv, but that automatically covers the grape, so I will eat the grape first because that's the rule with shiva minim.  The Steipler Gaon, R' Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, z"tzl, paskens like the second way.  Thank you, Dirshu Edition Mishna Brura.

Just for the record: no, you can't just wash and make a motzi.


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