- Question: [Thursday, 30th Adar 1, 5782]
If I taste or eat salt, am I to say a blessing?
Yes, if you plan to swallow it and you receive some measure of benefit from eating or tasting it, then the blessing of Shehakol is recited. If, however you receive no pleasure or benefit from it, such as if it is very bitter, or you plan to spit it out after tasting it on your tongue, then no blessing is recited. [Accordingly, if one is in a situation of Safek Brachos, he should not taste salt in order to say Shehakol over it and exempt the Safek food, as the salt itself is questionable if it should have Shehakol said over it, unless in truth one receives benefit from its taste.]
Explanation: It is explicitly stated in the Mishneh and Poskim, that one who eats salt says the blessing of Shehakol. However, the Poskim explain that this only applies if you have some measure of benefit or pleasure from eating the salt, otherwise, no blessing is said. Thus, if the salt is very bitter, then no blessing is said. Certainly, a blessing is not said if you plan to spit it out. This follows the general rule that a blessing is never said over things that people never eat, such as spices. [Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol, as according to this, a blessing should never be said over salt even if one enjoys it, as it is never common to eat plain salt.] Based on this we can understand why none of the Poskim suggest tasting salt with a Shehakol blessing in order to escape a Safek Bracha on another food [in contrast to sugar which they do suggest], as in truth a blessing can only be said over it for pleasure.
Sources: See Admur 204:1; Seder Birchas Hanhenin 7:1; Luach Birchas Hanehnin 10:1; Mishneh and Gemara Brachos 40a; Michaber 204:1; See regarding that need to get benefit from the salt: Birchas Habayis 5:4; Kaf Hachaim 204:6; Piskeiy Teshuvos 204:6 that if you eat a lot of salt or drink much salt water, then no blessing is said; See regarding that no blessing is said when tasting spices that are not eaten plain: Seder 6:19; Luach 9:8; Admur 202:22; Michaber 202:16; Rava Brachos 36b; Piskeiy Teshuvos 202:35-1; See regarding that no blessing is aid if taste but spit out: Seder 8:11; Luach 2:12; This follows both the 1st opinion in Michaber 210:2 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.]
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