Previous Folio / Berakoth Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
it was less than the minimum size! — He replied: Do you think the size we require is that of a large olive? We require only that of a medium sized olive, and that was there, for the one they set before R. Johanan was a large one, so that even when its stone had been removed it was still of the requisite size. For so we have learnt: The 'olive' spoken of1 means neither a small nor a large one, but a medium one. This is the kind which is called aguri. R. Abbahu, however, said: Its name is not aguri but abruti, or, according to others, samrusi. And why is it called aguri? Because its oil is collected [agur] within it.2
May we say that this controversy [about the blessing to be said over boiled vegetables] is found between Tannaim? For once two disciples were sitting before Bar Kappara, and cabbage, Damascene plums and poultry were set before him. Bar Kappara gave permission to one of them to say a blessing, and he at once said the blessing over the poultry.3 The other laughed at him, and Bar Kappara was angry, He said: I am not angry with the one who said the blessing, but with the one who laughed. If your companion acts like one who has never tasted meat in his life, is that any reason for you to laugh? Then he corrected himself and said: I am not angry with the one who laughed, but with the one who said the blessing. If there is no wisdom here, is there not old age here?4 A Tanna taught: Neither of them saw the year out.5 Now did not their difference lie in this, that the one who said the blessing held that the benediction over both boiled vegetables and poultry is 'by whose word all things exist', and therefore the dish he liked best had the preference,6 while the one who laughed held that the blessing over boiled vegetables is 'who createst the fruit of the ground', and that over poultry is 'by whose word all things were created', and therefore the vegetables should have had the preference?7 — Not so. All agree that for both boiled vegetables and poultry the blessing is 'by whose word all things exist', and their difference lies in this, that one held that what is best liked should have the preference, and the other held that the cabbage should have the preference, because it is nourishing.8
R. Zera said: When we were with R. Huna, he told us that with regard to the tops of turnips, if they are cut into large pieces, the blessing is 'who createst the fruit of the ground', but if they are cut into small pieces, 'by whose word all things exist'.9 But when we came to Rab Judah, he told us that for both the blessing is 'who createst the fruit of the ground', since the reason for their being cut into small pieces is to make them taste sweeter.
R. Ashi said: When we were with R. Kahana, he told us that over a broth of beet, in which not much flour is put, the blessing is 'who createst the fruit of the ground', but for a broth of turnip, in which much flour is put, the blessing is 'who createst all kinds of foods'. Subsequently, however, he said that the blessing for both is 'who createst the fruit of the ground', since the reason why much flour is put in it is only to make it cohere better.
R. Hisda said: A broth of beet is beneficial for the heart and good for the eyes, and needless to say for the bowels. Said Abaye: This is only if it is left on the stove till it goes tuk, tuk.10
R. Papa said: It is quite clear to me that beet-water is on the same footing as beet,11 and turnip-water on the same footing as turnips. and the water of all vegetables on the same footing as the vegetables themselves. R. Papa, however, inquired: What about aniseed water? Is its main purpose to sweeten the taste12 [to the dish] or to remove the evil smell?13 — Come and hear: Once the aniseed has given a taste to the dish, the law of terumah no longer applies to it,14 and it is not liable to the uncleanness of foods.15 This proves that its main purpose is to sweeten the dish, does it not? — It does.
R. Hiyya b. Ashi said: Over a dry crust which has been put in a pot [to soak], the blessing is 'who bringeth forth bread etc.'. This view conflicts with that of R. Hiyya; for R. Hiyya said: The bread should be broken with the conclusion of the blessing.16 Raba demurred to this. What [he said], is the reason [why hamozi should not be said] in the case of dry crust? Because, you say, when the blessing is concluded, it is concluded over a broken piece. But when it is said over a loaf, it finishes over a broken piece!
The fact is, said Raba, that the benediction is said first and then the loaf is broken.1 The Nehardeans acted as prescribed by R. Hiyya, while the Rabbis acted as prescribed by Raba. Rabina said: Mother told me: Your father acted as prescribed by R. Hiyya; for R. Hiyya said: The bread should be broken with the conclusion of the blessing, whereas the Rabbis acted as prescribed by Raba. The law is as laid down by Raba, that one says the blessing first and afterwards breaks the loaf.
It has been stated: If pieces and whole loaves are set before one, R. Huna says that the benediction can be said over the pieces,2 and this serves also for the whole loaves, whereas R. Johanan says that the religious duty is better performed if the blessing is said over the whole one. If, however, a broken piece of wheat bread and a whole loaf of barley bread are set before one, all agree that the benediction is said over the piece of wheaten bread, and this serves also for the whole loaf of barley bread. R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: There is the same difference of opinion between Tannaim:3 Terumah is given from a small whole onion, but not from the half of a large onion. R. Judah says: Not so, but also from the half of a large onion.4 Are we to say that the point in which they differ is this: one authority holds that the fact of being worth more is more important, while the other holds that the fact of being whole is more important? — Where a priest is on the spot,5 all agree that the fact of being worth more is more important. Where they differ is when there is no priest on the spot, since we have learnt: Wherever a priest is on the spot, terumah is given from the best of the produce; where the priest is not on the spot,6 terumah is set aside from that which will keep best. R. Judah said: Terumah is in all cases given from the best.7 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: A Godfearing man will seek to satisfy both.8 Who is such a one? Mar the son of Rabina. For Mar the son of Rabina used to put the broken piece under9 the whole loaf and then break the bread.10 A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Nahman b. Isaac: One should place the broken piece under the whole loaf and then break and say the benediction. He said to him: What is your name? Shalman, he replied. He said to him: Thou art peace [shalom] and thy Mishnah is faultless [shelemah], for thou hast made peace between the scholars.
R. Papa said: All admit that on Passover one puts the broken cake under the whole one and breaks [them together]. What is the reason? Scripture speaks of 'Bread of poverty'.11 R. Abba said: On Sabbath one should break bread from two loaves. What is the reason? Scripture speaks of 'double bread'.12 R. Ashi said: I have observed R. Kahana take two and break one. R. Zera used to break off [a piece of bread] sufficient for the whole meal [on Sabbath]. Said Rabina to R. Ashi: Does not this look like greediness? He replied: Since every other day he does not act thus and today he acts thus, it does not look like greediness. When R. Ammi and R. Assi happened to get hold of a loaf which had been used for an 'erub,13 they used to say over it the blessing, 'who bringest forth bread from the earth', saying, Since one religious duty has been performed with it, let us perform with it still another.
- To Next Folio -