Tasting foods without a blessing

Saying a blessing when tasting a food:[1]

One who plans to swallow any amount of food, even if he merely intends to taste it to see if it needs salt or spices[2], must recite a blessing prior to eating it.[3] If however he plans to spit out the food and simply desires to taste/chew[4] it to see if it needs salt or spices[5] or to see if it tastes good[6], a blessing is not required [and is therefore forbidden[7]] even if he benefits from the taste [i.e. chews it] and tastes a lot of the food, so long as he tastes less than a Revius [of a liquid and less than a Kezayis of a solid[8]].[9] [This applies even if he tastes many different foods.[10]] If however he tastes a Revius[11] or more [of a liquid and a Kezayis or more of a solid[12]], then a blessing is recited even if he plans to spit out the food.[13]

 

Summary:
A blessing must be recited prior to eating and swallowing any amount of a food even if he is eating it for mere taste, to see if it needs spices. If however one plans to spit out the food, a blessing is not recited unless he chews/tastes a Kezayis/Revius or more of the food.

Q&A

Blessing on gum:[14]
One recites a blessing of Shehakol over flavored gum.[15]

If one chews chicken for a baby, is a blessing to be recited?[16]
If he will be chewing a Kezayis or more of chicken, then a blessing must be recited beforehand.

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[1] Background: The Gemara Brachos 14a states “Tasting does not need a blessing…. up until a Revius.” The Rishonim dispute the definition of the word taste; does it refer to an amount of food, and hence any amount of food that is less than a Revius never receives a blessing when intending to taste [Rif and Rambam Brachos 1] or does it refer to swallowing versus spitting out and whenever one spits out a food, a blessing is not required and whenever one swallows a food, a blessing is required. [Tosafus Brachos 14a in name of Rabbeinu Chananel] Admur rules like the stringency of both opinions, that swallowing always requires a blessing, and tasting [spitting out] a Revius or more always requires a blessing. This follows the ruling of the M”A 210/10 who rules the main opinion is swallowing is not tasting, and follows those who hold that whenever one tastes a Revius or more a blessing is required.

[2] Admur Seder 8/11 and Luach 8/12; P”M 210 A”A 8; Kaf Hachaim 210/27; See M”A 210/6 based on Rashi Brachos 14a

[3] Admur in 168/7, Seder 8/10, Luach 2/11 that any amount of eating requires a blessing and Admur 167/9, Seder 8/11, Luach 8/12 that “Benefit is considered the benefit of one’s stomach [i.e. swallowing] and only if he spits out the food he tastes is a blessing not recited”; second opinion in Michaber 210/2; Tosafus Brachos 14a in name of Rabbeinu Chananel in interpretation of Braisa “Tasting does not need a blessing”; Rosh 2/6 [see Beis Yosef] M”A 211/7 and 10 that this is the main opinion

The reason: As it is forbidden to benefit from this world any amount without saying a blessing. [Admur 168/7, Seder and Luach ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule a blessing is never recited upon tasting less than a Revius of a food, even if one swallows it. If, however one tastes a Revius of the food, a blessing is recited [See coming footnotes for dispute if this applies even if he does not swallow it]. [1st opinion in Michaber ibid; Tur 210 in his Stam/main opinion; Implication of Rif and Rambam Brachos 1 in interpretation of Braisa Brachos 14a “Tasting does not need a blessing, up until a Revius”; Beis Yosef 210 that we follow Rif/Rambam as well as Safek Brachos Lihakel; Rama ibid concludes that Safek Brachos Lihakel. This means that a blessing is not to be recited upon tasting a food unless one a) swallows the food as requires second opinion and b) eats a Revius as requires the first opinion. [Ateres Zekeinim 210 in explanation of Rama ibid; M”B 210/35] Many Poskim conclude like the Rama ibid. [Beis Yosef 210; Elya Raba 210/5; Mamar Mordechai 210/14; M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim 210/31] and hence when swallowing less than a Revius one is to intent to do so for eating purposes in order to say a blessing [M”B ibid in name of Chayeh Adam; Kaf Hachaim 210/22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 210/9] or is to think of the blessing in his heart. [Kaf Hachaim 210/22]

If one tastes the food for purposes of eating: If one tastes and swallows the food for the purpose of eating and not for tasting purposes, a blessing must be recited according to all opinion even if the amount is less than a Revius. [M”A 210/6 as brought in Michaber 210/1] It is however disputed as to the definition of tasting for the purpose of eating. According to Rashi Brachos 14a this means that any taste which is not for the sake of adding spices, such as simply to see if the food is tasty, requires a blessing. However, according to the Rokeiach 209, even in such a case a blessing is not required so long as he desires to eat more and stops himself, and only an eating which one does not desire to eat more requires a blessing by less than a Revius. [M”A ibid; see Machatzis Hashekel] Practically, we rule like the Rokeiach ibid that tasting to see the taste is still considered tasting. [M”B 210/13 in name of Elya Raba and P”M]

[4] Seder and Luach ibid “taste”; Admur 167/9 “One who chews but does not swallow”

[5] Admur Seder 8/11 and Luach 8/12; M”A 210/6 based on Rashi Brachos 14a

[6] Admur Seder 8/11 and Luach 8/12; Rokeiach 209, brought in M”A ibid

[7] Bach 210; Elya Raba 210/4; Erech Hashulchan 210/6; Mamar Mordechai 210/14; M”B 210/14; Kaf Hachaim 210/24

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may say a blessing if he chooses, and the blessing in this case is voluntary. [Implication of wording in Tur; Kneses Hagedola, brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[8] Olas Tamid 210/6; Elya Raba 210/3; P”M 210 A”A 6; M”B 210/14; Kaf Hachaim 210/26

[9] Seder 8/11; Luach 2/12; This follows both the 1st opinion in Michaber ibid that only tasting a Revius or more requires a blessing and follows the 2nd opinion in Michaber 210/2 that spitting out never requires a blessing. [Thus, everyone agrees that tasting less than a Revius which one will not swallow does not receive a blessing.]

The reason: As benefit is considered the benefit of one’s stomach [i.e. swallowing] and not just the benefit of one’s mouth. [Seder and Luach ibid; See also regarding not making a Hefsek between eating and swallowing: Admur 167/9; Seder 9/1; Luach 6/1; M”A 167/16; Shelah Shaar Haosiyos Kuf; Ketzos Hashulchan 37/7]

[10] See M”A 210/7

[11] Seder 8/11 “Even if he tastes a lot, up until a Revius, not including a Revius”; Ohel Moed Shaar Brachos 1/4 brought in Beis Yosef 210

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that up until a Revius, including a Revius is still considered a taste. [M”B 210/14 in name of Rosh; Nehar Shalom]

[12] Olas Tamid 210/6; Elya Raba 210/3; P”M 210 A”A 6; M”B 210/14; Kaf Hachaim 210/26

[13] Admur Seder 8/11 “Even if he tastes a lot, up until a Revius, not including a Revius” and Luach 8/12 “Even if he tastes a lot, up until a Revius”; Ohel Moed Shaar Brachos 1/4 brought in Beis Yosef 210; Interpretation of Braisa Brachos 14a “Tasting does not need a blessing, up until a Revius”; Semag, brought in Erech Hashulchan 210/7 and Kaf Hachaim 210/30; This possibly follows the 1st opinion in Michaber ibid and Tur 210 in his Stam/main opinion and the Rif and Rambam Brachos 1, as they can be interpreted to be referring even to spitting out a Revius that a blessing is required, and so learns Ateres Zekeinim 210, however see Beis Yosef 210 brought in other opinions

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule a blessing is never recited upon tasting a food without swallowing it, even if it is more than a Revius of food. [2nd opinion in Michaber ibid; Tosafus in name of Rabbeinu Chananel; M”A 211/7 and 10 that this is the main opinion; Rama ibid concludes that Safek Brachos Lihakel. This means that a blessing is not to be recited upon tasting a food unless one a) swallow the food as requires second opinion and b) eats a Revius as requires the first opinion. [Ateres Zekeinim 210 in explanation of Rama ibid] Some Poskim rule that even according to the 1st opinion in Michaber ibid and Tur 210 in his Stam/main opinion and the Rif and Rambam Brachos 1 a blessing is never said unless one swallows, even if he tastes a Revius, and they only argue if one swallows less than a Revius. [Beis Yosef 210 in argument against Ohel Moed ibid; M”B 210/15] According to this approach, everyone agrees that spitting out never requires a blessing and swallowing a Revius or more requires a blessing and the argument is only by swallowing less than a Revius. Admur, Ateres Zekeinim, Ohel Moed, and Erech Hashulchan ibid do not learn this way and rather learn that according to the first [and perhaps even second] opinion a Revius or more always requires a blessing.

[14] Beir Moshe 2/12; Kinyan Torah 5/17; Yabia Omer 7/33; Piskeiy Teshuvos 202/34

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule a blessing is not recited upon chewing gum. [Yaskil Avdi 8/7]

[15] The reason: As one benefits from its taste and swallows this taste into his stomach, hence receiving benefit of both the mouth and abdomen. [See Chayeh Adam 49/4]

[16] Admur Seder and Luach ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule a blessing is never recited when chewing and spitting out for a child. [All other opinions in previous footnotes; M”B 210/18]

 

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