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Thought for the Day: Da'as, Stam and Otherwise

You go to the bakery and buy a single sweet roll to eat on the commute into work.  You take a seat (car, bus, train), make a nice "borei minei m'zonos" and eat your sweet roll.  Yum.  You make a bracha acharona.  Amein.  What's the question.  No question; at least not in this case.  One sweet roll, one bracha.  If you want another sweet roll, you'd need another bracha.  Simple.

You are at home and want a snack, so you grab a banana (your spouse is home and you don't want to get caught cheating on your diet, after all; a problem you didn't have when you bought the sweet roll for the commute to work, which is why you bought it then).  You make a nice "borei pri ha'adama" and eat your banana.  What's the problem?  You're still hungry, that's the problem.  Did you intend to eat only one banana or did you mean to eat bananas till you were satiated?  What if there are no more bananas and/or you have a taste for strawberries now?  Maybe you just saw some pineapple that looks very tasty and you didn't even know there was pineapple in the house.  Hey... that apple looks refreshing; maybe you'd like an apple now (and borei pri ha'adama does, b'di'avad, work for that apples).  Now you have big problems.

At times like these, we (consciously or not) depend on "stam da'as" -- "I meant, you know... the usual".  Tricky business when you are dealing with a potential issur d'oraisa on the one hand of sheim l'vatala if you do make another bracha and the issur of "kafui tova" (denying the good, the sin of Adam haRishon) if you don't make a bracha but continue eating.  Not a great time to be relying on hopes and probabilities with the stakes so high.

One place stam da'as surely works is when you are a guest.  Since you don't know what the host may bring, your stam da'as is automatically tied to whatever the ba'al ha'bayis wants.  Even if you've decided that you are finished eating, which would normally require a new bracha to eat more (even of the same food).  But when you are a guest, if the host brings out something new or presses you to eat more, you are covered.  See?  I'm not shnorring, I'm being religiously conservative.

On the other end of the spectrum, suppose you have a fig and a kiwi in front of you.  You really, really like kiwi.  It's your favorite fruit and you want it now.  You also want the fig.  Usually chaviv wins the day; but within a single bracha category, shiva minim wins the day.  According to most poskim, that is.  Of course there is one rishon that holds that chaviv still goes first.  It's only one rishon; but that one is the Rambam.  Even though we posken that shiva minim should go first in that case, if you make a bracha on the kiwi instead, the consensus is not to make another bracha on the fig.  On the other hand, if you make a bracha on the fig with stam da'as, the Mishna Brura (211, s.k. 33) then you are taking the chance of eating (according to the Rambam) of eating your kiwi without having made a bracha because it just doesn't make sense that the chaviv would be automatically covered be a bracha on the non-chaviv.  Best to have in mind specifically to include that yummy kiwi, otherwise you run the risk of eating it without having made a bracha.

The mon (manna) tasted like whatever you were thinking.  The Chafeitz Chaim was asked what stam mon -- no special thoughts -- tasted like.  He answered, "When there is not thought, there is no taste."

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