Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: The Almost Anything Bracha

Most everyone knows about the everything bracha: she'hakol.  It works, for anything you care to consume orally that requires a bracha.  Why all those qualifiers?
  • consume: it does not work for fragrances.  Nothing substantive enters your body, so fragrances have their own set of brachos.
  • orally: nutrition that enters your body via injection or feeding tube does not require a bracha because you get no immediate pleasure from it
  • that requires a bracha: a catch all.  Drinking plain water when you are not thirsty (eg, to wash down pills), does not require a bracha.  (That's why I add a bit of flavoring to water I will need for exercise.)  Forced eating may not require a bracha.
Sometimes it work l'chatchila.  A food whose bracha is the subject of an unresolved machlokes ha'poskim may end up with a she'ha'kol.  B'di'avad, of course, she'hakol works for anything even if it was said by mistake.  (Darn it!  I meant to say a borei pri ha'eitz!)  Important aside: she'hakol does not work -- that's right does not work -- if you just don't happen to know the appropriate bracha and have been too lazy to go find out.  In that case, says the Mishna Brura, continue your laziness by being too lazy to eat it.  If you have enough energy to chew and/or swallow, you have enough energy to learn the correct bracha.

Less well known, as far as I can tell, is that that is another bracha that works like that: borei minei m'zonos.  That bracha (with the same caveats as above) works for anything except water (including diet soda, plain coffee and tea) and salt.  The reason for those exceptions is the language of the bracha: "Who creates various categories of nourishing foods."  So as long as the food has any nutritional value (yep; even empty calories), it qualifies.  So even if you are about to eat a steak and accidentally make a borei minei m'zononos, you are covered.

As long as we're on that topic, R' Moshe has an interesting chidush about brachos that work b'di'avad (IM O.Ch. 4, 40)  Since the bracha only works b'di'avad, says R' Moshe, you should only eat the minimum shiur and then stop.  The Mishna Brura is not machmir like that, but if it's not too much trouble you may want to cover your bases.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…