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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
The view of him who says that [they1 are] dates blown down by the wind accords well with the fact that in one place2 nobeloth simply3 are spoken of and in the other4 nobeloth of the date-palm. But on the view of him who says they1 are fruit parched by the sun, in both places we should have nobeloth of the date-palm,5 or in both places nobeloth simply, should we not?6 — This is indeed a difficulty.
IF ONE HAD SEVERAL VARIETIES BEFORE HIM etc. 'Ulla said: Opinions differ only in the case where the blessings [over the several varieties] are the same; in such a case R. Judah holds that belonging to the seven kinds is of more importance, while the Rabbis held that being better liked is of more importance. But where they have not all the same benediction, all agree that a blessing is to be said first on one variety7 and then on another. An objection was raised: If radishes and olives are set before a person, he says a benediction over the radish, and this serves for the olive also! — With what case are we dealing here? When the radish is the main item.8 If so, look at the next clause: R. Judah says that the benediction is said over the olive, because the olive is one of the seven species.9 Now would not R. Judah accept the teaching which we have learnt: Whenever with one article of food another is taken as subsidiary to it, a blessing is said over the main article and this serves for the subsidiary one also?10 And should you be disposed to maintain that in fact he does not accept it, has it not been taught: R. Judah said, If the olive is taken on account of the radish, a blessing is said for the radish and this serves for the olive? — In fact we are dealing with a case where the radish is the main item,11 and the difference of opinion between R. Judah and the Rabbis is really over a different matter, and there is a lacuna in the text and it should read as follows: If radish and olives are set before a person, he says a benediction over the radish and this serves for the olive also. When is this the case? When the radish is the main item; but if the radish is not the main item, all agree that he says a blessing over one and then a blessing over the other. If there are two varieties of food12 which have the same blessing, he says it over whichever he prefers. R. Judah, however, says that he says the blessing over the olive, since it is of the seven species.
R. Ammi and R. Isaac Nappaha understood this differently. One said that the difference between R. Judah and the Rabbis arises when the blessings over the two kinds of food are the same, R. Judah holding that the fact of belonging to the seven kinds is more important, while the Rabbis held that the fact of being better liked was more important; but where the blessings are not the same, both agreed that a blessing is first said over one kind and then over the other. The other said that R. Judah and the Rabbis differ even when the blessings are not the same. Now accepting the view of him who says that the difference arises when the blessings are the same, we find no difficulty. But accepting the view that they differ also when the blessings are not the same, [we have to ask] on what ground do they differ?13 — R. Jeremiah replied: They differ on the question of precedence. For R. Joseph. or as some say. R. Isaac, said: Whatever comes earlier in this verse has precedence in the matter of benediction, viz., A land of wheat and barley, and vine and fig-trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.14
[In the exposition of this verse, R. Isaac] differs from R. Hanan. For R. Hanan said: The whole purpose of the verse was to mention things which serve as standards of measurements. 'Wheat', as we have learnt: If one enters a house stricken with leprosy with his garments on his shoulder and his sandals and his rings in his hands, both he and they become unclean immediately. If he is wearing his garments and his sandals and has his rings on his fingers, he is immediately unclean but they remain clean until he stays in the house long enough to eat a piece of wheat bread,15 but not of barley bread, reclining and taking with it a relish.16 'Barley', as we have learnt: A bone as large as a barleycorn renders unclean by touch and carrying, but it does not render a tent unclean.17 'Vine', the measurement for a Nazirite18 is a fourth [of a log] of wine.19 'Figtree', a dried fig is the measurement of what may be taken out of the house on Sabbath. 'Pomegranates', as we have learnt: For utensils of a private person20
the measurement1 is a pomegranate.2 'A land of olive trees', R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: A land in which the olive is the standard for all measurements. All measurements, do you say? What of those we have just mentioned? — Say rather, in which the olive is the standard for most measurements. 'Honey',3 as much as a large date [is the quantity which renders one liable for eating] on the Day of Atonement. What says the other to this? — Are these standards laid down explicitly? They were instituted by the Rabbis, and the text is only an asmekta.4
R. Hisda and R. Hamnuna were seated at a meal, and dates and pomegranates were set before them. R. Hamnuna took some dates and said a blessing over them. Said R. Hisda to him: Does not the Master agree with what R. Joseph, or as some say R. Isaac, said: Whatever is mentioned earlier in this verse has precedence in the matter of benediction? — He replied: This [the date] comes second after the word 'land', and this [the pomegranate] comes fifth.5 He replied: Would that we had feet of iron so that we could always [run and] listen to you!
It has been stated: If figs and grapes were set before them in the course of the meal, R. Huna says that they require a benediction before but they do not require a blessing after;6 and so said R. Nahman: They require a blessing before but they do not require a blessing after. R. Shesheth, however, said: They require a blessing both before and after, since there is nothing requiring a blessing before which does not also require a blessing after, save bread taken with the sweets.7 This is at variance with R. Hiyya; for R. Hiyya said: [A blessing said over] bread suffices for all kinds of food [taken in the meal], and a blessing said over wine for all kinds of drink. R. Papa said: The law is that things which form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of the meal require no blessing either before or after; things which do not form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of the meal require a blessing before but not after, and when taken after the meal require a blessing both before and after.
Ben Zoma was asked: Why was it laid down that things which form an integral part of the meal when taken in the course of a meal require no blessing either before or after? — He replied: Because the [blessing over] bread suffices for them. If so, [they said] let the blessing over bread suffice for wine also? — Wine is different, he replied
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