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The Proper Sequence of Berachot When One Eats Two Fruits or Vegetables

If a person plans on eating two fruits that require the Beracha of "Ha’etz," and one of them is from among the special species of Eretz Yisrael (grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates), then he recites the Beracha over the fruit from the special species. Thus, for example, if one plans on eating grapes and pieces of orange, he recites the Beracha of "Ha’etz" over a grape and then eats the grape, before eating the orange. This applies even if he likes oranges more than grapes, since fruits belonging to the special species are considered more prominent and thus take precedence.

Another basic rule governing the sequence of Berachot is that a more specific Beracha precedes a less specific one. And thus if one is eating two foods, one which requires "Ha’etz" or "Ha’adama," and one which requires "She’ha’kol," he must first eat the food requiring "Ha’etz" or "Ha’adama," before the food which requires "She’ha’kol."

The Shulhan Aruch rules that if one is eating a food requiring "Ha’etz" and a food requiring "Ha’adama," he may choose whichever sequence he prefers. For example, if a person eats apple and melon, he may choose whether to first recite "Ha’etz" and eat a piece of apple, or to first recite "Ha’adama" and eat a piece of melon. The Shulhan Aruch’s ruling applies even if the fruit requiring "Ha’etz" is among the special species of Eretz Yisrael, such as if one eats an olive and a radish. He has the option of either first eating the olive or first eating the radish. The Shulhan Aruch maintains that since two separate Berachot must be recited, there is no required sequence, and one may choose which food to eat first.

Others, including the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) and the Kaf Ha’haim (Rav Yaakob Haim Sofer, Baghdad-Israel, 1870-1939), disagree, and maintain that a person in this case must first partake of the food requiring "Ha’etz" before partaking of the food requiring "Ha’adama."

Hacham Ovadia follows the opinion of the Shulhan Aruch, allowing one to choose which food to partake of first in this case. However, he maintains that if there is some other factor to consider, then one should determine the sequence based on that factor. This means that if one of the two foods is more preferred by the person, is one of the seven species of Eretz Yisrael, or is whole and complete, it should be partaken of first. This applies regardless of whether the food with this additional factor is the "Ha’etz" food or the "Ha’adama" food. (An example of a "Ha’adama" food from the seven special species is a stalk of wheat that is roasted, over which one recites the Beracha of "Ha’adama.") But in the absence of these factors, one can choose which food to eat first.

Summary: If one is eating two foods, one of which requires the Beracha of "She’ha’kol," he should recite the Beracha over the other food and then partake of it, before reciting "She’ha’kol." If one is eating two fruits which both require "Ha’etz," one of which is from among the special species of Eretz Yisrael (grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates), then he recites the Beracha over the fruit from the special species, and this Beracha covers the other fruit. If he eats one food which requires "Ha’adama" and another which requires "Ha’etz," then he may choose which to eat first, unless he prefers one of the two foods, or if one of the fruits is from among the special species or is a whole entity, in which case that food should be partaken of first.

 


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