Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: The Bracha on the Tafel (Subordinate) Food

Such a boring title for such an exciting message... sigh...

First, some background.  Suppose one discovers (much to his shock and dismay) that he forgot to make a bracha before eating that delicious apple.  If he has already finished, then he simply makes a bracha acharona and does t'shuva.  If there is apple left, though, he must now make the bracha rishona before continuing.  Trust me, this is cool.

When eating a bread meal one only makes a bracha of "ha'motzi", even though there is lots of other food.  This is one example of ikar (principle) and tafel (subordinate).  Usually the majority ingredient is the ikar.  One exception is anything cooked/baked that contains any of the five grains (wheat/barely/oats/spelt/rye) for flavor (as opposed to binding/texture); for that sort of food, the grain is always the ikar.  Another example would be chocolate covered raisins.  If your intention is to eat chocolate enhanced by raisins, the bracha is "sh'hakol"'; raisins enhanced by chocolate, "al ha'eitz".  If you want both, meaning that neither is tafel to the other, you make both brachos.

When you have a mixture of ikar and tafel, though, you only make one bracha; the bracha that the ikar takes.  The Chazon Ish explains that the tafel is not exempt from a bracha, rather it takes the bracha of the ikar ingredient.  Since the food is subordinate in this meal, it loses its importance as an independent food and therefore loses the bracha it takes when eaten alone.  That explains, for example, why you do not make a bracha on the frosting you saved for the end when eating cake.  Even though there is no grain food left; you wanted that fat/sugar combo all by itself.  Why not make a sh'hakol?  Because the bracha on that frosting, as tafel to the cake, took a bracha of "borei minei m'zonos" -- which already made

Now... put these two together.  You are eating your cake and are down to that last bite of yummy sugar/fat with artificial color... when suddenly you remember -- horror or horrors -- that you forgot to make a bracha before you started!  Now what?  You need to make a bracha, of course.  But what bracha?  According to the Chazon Ish's explanation, it seems like you should make a m'zonos; but that just feels wrong.  In fact, it is wrong; but why?  After all, saying the bracha doesn't change the food; we aren't blessing the food.  The bracha is first determined by the situation, then you are (supposed to) respond by making the correct bracha.  We already determined (ala the Chazon Ish) that the bracha on that bit of frosting is "m'zonos"!  What happened to change that?

What happened was a little detail in forgetting a bracha till half way through your eating.  Once you remember that you didn't make a bracha -- it is now forbidden to eat more until you make a bracha.  That means you are not going to continue eating, but you are starting a new eating.  That means that you need start again working out what bracha to make.  There is no more grain product to which the frosting could be tafel, so its bracha reverts to its "bare" bracha -- sh'hakol.

Obvious.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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: 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: 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…