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Thought for the Day: Bracha Acharona When Eating Two Half Shiurim

Who doesn't love bracha questions?  This is so cool.  Eating the smallest amount of food requires a bracha rishona; one is not allowed to benefit from this world without recognizing the Source of that benefit.  A bracha acharona, on the other hand, is only required if one has received a substantial benefit; ie, has eaten a shiur (measure) of volume (k'zayis) within an appropriate time frame (2 - 9 minutes or so).  Just as the bracha rishona is matched to the food one is poised to consume, so too the bracha acharona is matched to what was consumed.  Other than the usual ikar/tafel issues, the bracha acharona, the rules are reasonably straight forward.  Of course, I am only interested in the cases that are tortuously twisted.

Suppose you eat 1/2 k'zayis of apple and 1/2 k'zayis of cookie.  Neither snack on its own would engender a bracha acharona, but one has eaten a full k'zayis of food.  In that case, therefore, one makes a borei nefashos.  Usually a borei nefashos does not work even b'di'avad for a food that requires an al ha'michya, but since you can't make the al ha'michya, the borei nefashos covers.

Now... here's where the fun really starts!  (Aren't you so excited?)  Suppose you eat 1/2 k'zayis of grapes and 1/2 k'zayis of cookie.  Igros Moshe (OC 3, 109) discusses a similar case: one eats a shiur of cookies, but drinks only a small amount of wine/grape juice.  In that case the person is certainly chayiv in an al ha'michya, but what about the wine?  Once one is making the al ha'michya anyway, may the words "al ha'gefen", or would that be considered a hefsek?  R' Moshe paskens that one should add in the words for "al ha'gefen".  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, however, paskened that one should not add in the words.  I always thought it was just a matter of whether the extra words were a hefsek, and that this two g'dolim disagreed.

Au contraire.  Halichos Shlomo brings (in the footnotes; I'm telling you, thar's gold in them thar notes) that the R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach learned this Igros Moshe differently than I did.  Namely, that R' Moshe is only using the case of a shiur of m'zonos and less than a shiur of wine because it is a common occurrence, but he is actually addressing a deeper issue.  R' Moshe, according to R' Sh. Z. Auerbach, is saying that 1/2 k'zayis of "mei'ein shalosh" (grain, other shiva minim, wine) food can combine with another 1/2 k'zayis of "mei'ein shalosh" foods to require a bracha acharona of mei'ein shalosh.  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, on the other hand, holds that once less than a shiur is eaten, it just becomes ordinary food.  Therefore R' Moshe, again through the eyes of R' Sh. Z. Auerbach, would also say in this case of 1/2 k'zayis of each that one would still make a bracha of mei'ein shalosh.  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, says in that situation to say borei nefashos (following the p'sak of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch).

If you want to understand a gadol, you need to look through the eyes of a gadol.

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