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The Beracha for Coconut Milk and Fruit Juices

Many vacation spots such as Florida and the islands serve coconut milk. What is the proper Beracha that one should recite before drinking coconut milk? Although on cow’s milk one recites "Shehakol," perhaps coconut milk should require the Beracha of "Boreh Peri Ha’etz," as it is grown on trees.

The Ben Ish Hai (Rabbi Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909) addresses this question in Parashat Pinhas (Shana Rishona, 9). (Interestingly, he refers to the coconut as "guz il hind" – "the Indian nut.") He notes that a basic rule in Halacha requires reciting the Beracha of "She’hakol" over all fruit juices, even if the fruit tree was planted specifically for the purpose of extracting juice. The only fruit juices which Halacha treats like the fruit itself are grape juice and olive oil. (See Shulhan Aruch, Orah Haim 208.) All other juices are looked upon as "Ze’a" – secretions of the fruit, and not as the fruit itself. Hence, one who drinks coconut milk recites the Beracha of "She’hakol Nihya Bi’dbaro," and not "Boreh Peri Ha’etz." This applies to all other fruit juices, as well. With the exception of wine and grape juice, over which one recites "Boreh Peri Ha’gefen," all other fruit juices – including apple juice, orange juice and grapefruit juice – require the Beracha of "She’hakol." Once again, this applies even if the fruit trees were planted for the specific purpose of producing juice. Thus, even though many Florida orange groves are planted especially for making orange juice, the Beracha over this juice would be "She’hakol," and not "Boreh Peri Ha’etz."

Summary: One who drinks coconut milk recites the Beracha of "She’hakol," just as one does over all fruit juices, with the exception of wine and grape juice, which of course require "Ha’gefen."


 


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