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Berachos 40


QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan rules that one may interrupt between his blessing over the bread and eating the bread in order to say, "Bring the salt," since salt is necessary for the consumption of the bread so that it tastes good. Rava Bar Shmuel did not wait for salt before he ate his bread. He explained that since his bread was already tasty, it did not need salt. TOSFOS (DH Havei Melach) says that our breads, too, are already tasty and do not need salt. If so, does this mean that we may not interrupt between the blessing and eating the bread to say, "Bring the salt?"

ANSWER: The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 167:38) says in the name of the Acharonim that even though our breads are tasty and do not need salt, nevertheless, if one desires to eat his bread with salt (or another spice) it is considered necessary for the bread and he may interrupt to say, "Bring the salt."

HALACHAH: Various reasons are given to use salt even today.

(a) Tosfos adds that Rebbi Menachem was always careful to have salt upon his table, because the Midrash states that when the Jews sit silently at the table waiting for everyone to finish washing his hands, and they are idle from any Mitzvos, the Satan has a chance to incriminate them, and it is the "covenant of the salt" that protects them (see Vayikra 2:13).

(b) The BEIS YOSEF adds in the name of the SHIBOLEI HA'LEKET that since our tables are likened to the altar in the Beis ha'Mikdash and our meals are like the sacrifices that we offered on the altar, we should have salt upon our tables just like every sacrifice was brought with salt. According to this, it would seem that there is no need to dip our bread into salt before eating it; it is sufficient to have the salt on the table.

(c) However, the Mishnah Berurah (167:33) mentions that those learned in Kabalah have written that one should dip his piece of bread into salt three times.


QUESTION: Rav Huna and Rebbi Yochanan argue whether "sheha'Kol" is a valid blessing b'Di'eved for bread and wine. Rav Huna maintains that although it is a valid blessing for all over foods, it may not be used for bread and wine. The Gemara says that Rav Huna has support for his opinion from the Tana, Rebbi Yosi, who says that if someone saw bread and said, "How nice is this bread! Blessed is the Omnipresent Who created it," or saw a fig and said, "How nice is this fig! Blessed is the Omnipresent Who created it," he has not said a valid blessing, since he altered the text of the blessing that the Sages instituted. (Rebbi Meir argues with Rebbi Yosi and says that such an expression serves as a valid blessing.) This supports Rav Huna who says that if one alters from the blessing that the Sages instituted ("ha'Motzi" or "Borei Pri ha'Gafen") and says instead "sheha'Kol," the blessings is not valid.

How can the Gemara bring a support for Rav Huna from the opinion of Rebbi Yosi? Rebbi Yosi holds that changing the blessing on *any* food is not valid (such as a fig), while Rav Huna only prohibits the blessing from being changed for *bread* and *wine* (but if one recited "sheha'Kol" on any other food, it would be valid)!


(a) TOSFOS (DH NEIMA) explains that the Gemara concludes that Rebbi Yochanan, who maintains that even for bread "sheha'Kol" is a valid blessing, can also be consistent with the opinion of Rebbi Yosi. Rebbi Yosi only said that a text which was *never established as the text of a blessing* is not a valid blessing. But if one said "sheha'Kol," even though that was not the appropriate blessing for the item that the person was eating, nevertheless, since "sheha'Kol" is a text that was established by the Sages as a valid blessing, it will work.

Similarly, explains Tosfos, in the Gemara's question it was also understood that according to Rav Huna, saying "sheha'Kol" was better than saying a text that was never established as a blessing. The Gemara knew that Rebbi Yosi would agree that saying *"sheha'Kol"* on fruits and the like would be valid. However, the Gemara thought that at least on *bread* "sheha'Kol" certainly will not work just like a made-up Berachah does not work.

(The RASHASH explains Tosfos as follows. Changing from a broad blessing (e.g. "Borei Pri ha'Etz") to a *broader* blessing ("sheha'Kol") is not considered a total change, and thus the "sheha'Kol" is valid. But changing from *specific* blessing ("ha'Motzi" or "Borei Pri ha'Gafen") to a *broad* blessing ("sheha'Kol") *is* considered a fundamental change and that is why Rebbe Yosi would equate it to altering the blessing that the Sages instituted. Hence, Rebbi Yosi indeed is good support for Rav Huna.)

(b) The TOSFOS ROSH proposes a variant Girsa for the Tosefta quoted in the Gemara in which Rebbi Yosi's words appear. He erases the words, "If one saw a fig and said, 'How nice is this fig!'..." Rebbi Yose was only talking about bread. Rebbi Yosi agrees that saying sheha'Kol on a fig is valid; it is only not valid when used for bread. If so, Rebbi Yosi is clear support for Rav Huna.

QUESTION: The Gemara brings support to Rav, who says that a blessing must contain the name of Hashem in order to be valid, from a Beraisa. The Beraisa teaches that the verse, "I did not transgress your Mitzvos and I did not forget," means that "I did not transgress" *from blessing you*, "and I did not forget" to mention Your name [in the blessing]. This verse is part of the formula that one recites as "Viduy Ma'aser." One is thus saying, "I did not forget to recite a blessing on separating Ma'aser" (Rashi, DH m'li'Varechicha).

We know that all blessings other than Birkas ha'Mazon and Birkas ha'Torah are mid'Rabanan. Can the Gemara be suggesting that the blessing for separating Terumos and Ma'asros is d'Oraisa?


(a) TOSFOS YOM TOV (Ma'aser Sheni 5:11) says that this Derashah is only an "Asmachta" and is not the simple meaning of the verse. The blessing for separating Terumos and Ma'aseros is only mid'Rabanan.

(b) The MAHARAL in Gur Aryeh (Devarim 26:13) and the MIZRACHI explain that the Beraisa does not mean that the Torah is commanding us to recite a *blessing* upon separating Ma'asros, but that one must *thank Hashem*, generally, for giving him the produce.

The Maharsha asks on this explanation that it is clear from our Gemara that the Beraisa understands the verse to be talking about an actual blessing, and not just general praise of Hashem. The Gemara says that one must say the name of Hashem and mention His kingship in a blessing and brings this verse as proof -- it must be that the verse is talking about an actual blessing!

(1) The Maharsha answers that the Gemara is saying that one must say the name of Hashem and mention His kingship in one's general praises of Hashem when he thanks Hashem for his produce.

(2) TZELACH explains that the *Beraisa* our Gemara refers to is discussing an actual blessing and is an Asmachta, while the Mishnah in Ma'aser Sheni and Rashi in the Torah refers to a general praise of Hashem (like the Maharal and Mizrachi explain) and is actually d'Oraisa.)

(c) The RITVA explains that the blessing that the Beraisa is referring to is not the blessing that one recites before separating Ma'aser, like Rashi explains. Rather, it is referring to Birkas ha'Mazon, which one recites *after* eating bread from which he had separated Ma'aser.

(d) The MALBIM (Vayikra 19:23) explains that the verse is discussing the blessing one recites before he eats *Ma'aser Sheni* is Jerusalem. This blessing may indeed be d'Oraisa. The Gemara earlier (35b) attempted to derive the obligation to recite blessings before and after eating from the verse of "Kodesh Hilulim," which refers to Neta Revai and Ma'aser Sheni. Says the Malbim, perhaps the blessings for eating Neta Revai and Ma'aser Sheni will indeed be d'Oraisa. Even though the Gemara concluded that we cannot derive the obligation to recite blessings for other foods from the verse of "Kodesh Hilulim," perhaps that verse remains as a d'Oraisa source to recite the blessing for Neta Revai and Ma'aser Sheni. That is why the Beraisa says that one must mention Hashem's name in the blessing before eating Ma'aser Sheni, because that blessing is indeed d'Oraisa.

The Rabanan in the Mishnah say that if one has before him two foods, he recites the blessing on the one that he likes the most. In Halachah, this is referred to as the "Chaviv," or most-like food. What is meant by the "most- liked" food?

(a) The ROSH explains (6:25) that "Chaviv" refers to the food that one *usually* prefers. Even though at the moment one prefers the other food, since normally one prefers the first food, it is considered to be "Chaviv" and he recites the blessing on that food.

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 8:13) explains that "Chaviv" refers to the food that one prefers to eat *now*, even though at other times one may prefer to eat the other food. This seems to be the opinion of many Rishonim as well.

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 111:1) rules that "Chaviv" is the food that one *usually* prefers (like the Rosh (a).

The MISHNAH BERURAH points out that in situations where there is an argument over which blessing to recite first, one may take into account the opinion that "Chaviv" is what one wants right now to decide the question (see Mishnah Berurah 111:11, and Bi'ur Halachah, DH v'Yesh Omrim sh'Gam ba'Zeh, towards the end).

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