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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
MISHNAH. IF SALTED FOOD IS SET BEFORE HIM AND BREAD WITH IT, HE SAYS A BLESSING OVER THE SALTED FOOD AND THIS SERVES FOR THE BREAD, SINCE THE BREAD IS ONLY SUBSIDIARY TO IT. THIS IS THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE: WHENEVER WITH ONE KIND OF FOOD ANOTHER IS TAKEN AS SUBSIDIARY, A BENEDICTION IS SAID OVER THE PRINCIPAL KIND AND THIS SERVES FOR THE SUBSIDIARY.
GEMARA. But is it ever possible for salted food to be the principal item and bread subsidiary to it? — R. Aha the son of R. 'Awira replied, citing R. Ashi: This rule applies to [one who eats] the fruit of Genessareth.1 Rabbah b. Bar Hannah said: When we went after R. Johanan to eat the fruit of Genessareth, when there were a hundred of us we used each to take him ten, and when we were ten we used each to take him a hundred, and a hundred could not be got into a basket holding three se'ahs, and he used to eat them all and swear that he had not tasted food. Not tasted food, do you say? — Say rather: that he had not had a meal. R. Abbahu used to eat of them [so freely] that a fly slipped off his forehead.2 R. Ammi and R. Assi used to eat of them till their hair fell out. R. Simeon b. Lakish ate until his mind began to wander, and R. Johanan told the household of the Nasi, and R. Judah the Prince send a band of men3 for him and they brought him to his house.
When R. Dimi came [from Palestine], he stated that King Jannaeus4 had a city in the King's Mountain5 where they used to take out sixty myriads of dishes of salted fish for the men cutting down fig-trees from one week-end to the next.6 When Rabin came, he stated that King Jannaeus used to have a tree on the King's Mountain from which they used to take down forty se'ahs of young pigeons from three broods every month. When R. Isaac came, he said: There was a town in the Land of Israel named Gofnith7 in which there were eighty pairs of brothers, all priests, who were married to eighty pairs of sisters, also all of priestly family. The Rabbis searched from Sura to Nehardea and could not find [a similar case] save the daughters of R. Hisda who were married to Rami b. Hama and to Mar 'Ukba b. Hama; and while they were priestesses, their husbands were not priests.
Rab said: A meal without salt is no meal. R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: A meal without gravy8 is no meal.
MISHNAH. IF ONE HAS EATEN GRAPES, FIGS OR POMEGRANATES HE SAYS A GRACE OF THREE BLESSINGS AFTER THEM. SO R. GAMALIEL. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAY: ONE BLESSING WHICH INCLUDES THREE. R. AKIBA SAYS: IF ONE ATE ONLY BOILED VEGETABLES, AND THAT IS HIS MEAL, HE SAYS AFTER IT THE GRACE OF THREE BLESSINGS. IF ONE DRINKS WATER TO QUENCH HIS THIRST, HE SAYS THE BENEDICTION 'BY WHOSE WORD ALL THINGS EXIST. R. TARFON SAYS: 'WHO CREATEST MANY LIVING THINGS AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS.
GEMARA. What is the reason of R. Gamaliel? — Because it is written, A land of wheat and barley. etc.,9 and it is also written, A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness,10 and it is written, And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord thy God.11 The Rabbis, however, hold that the word 'land'12 makes a break in the context. R. Gamaliel also must admit that 'land' makes a break in the context? — He requires that for excluding one who chews wheat [from the necessity of saying grace].13
R. Jacob b. Idi said in the name of R. Hanina: Over anything belonging to the five species [of cereals],14 before partaking the blessing 'who createst all kinds of food' is said, and after partaking one blessing which includes three. Rabbah b. Mari said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: Over anything belonging to the seven kinds,15 before partaking the blessing 'who createst the fruit of the tree' is said, and after it the grace of one blessing which includes three.
Abaye asked R. Dimi: What is the one blessing which includes three? — He replied: Over fruit of the tree he says: 'For the tree and for the fruit of the tree and for the produce of the field and for a desirable, goodly, and extensive land which Thou didst give our ancestors to inherit to eat of its fruit and to be satisfied with its goodness. Have mercy, O Lord our God, on Israel Thy people and on Jerusalem Thy city and on Thy Sanctuary and on Thy altar, and build Jerusalem Thy holy city speedily in our days and bring us up into the midst thereof and rejoice us therein,16 for Thou art good and doest good to all'.17 Over the five species [of cereals] one says: 'For the provision and the sustenance and the produce of the field etc.', and he concludes, 'For the land and for the sustenance'.
How does one conclude [in the case of fruits]? When R. Dimi came, he said in the name of Rab: On New Moon one concludes, Blessed is He who sanctifies Israel and New Moons.18
What do we say in this case [over fruit]? — R. Hisda said: 'For the land and for its fruits'; R. Johanan said: 'For the land and for the fruits'. R. Amram said: They are not at variance: the one blessing19 is for us [in Babylon], and the other for them [in Palestine].20 R. Nahman b. Isaac demurred to this: Shall they eat and we bless?21 You must therefore reverse the names, thus: R. Hisda said: For the land and for the fruits; R. Johanan said, For the land and for its fruits.
R. Isaac b. Abdimi said in the name of our Master:1 Over eggs and over all kinds of meat the blessing said before partaking is 'by whose word etc.', and after partaking 'who createst many living creatures etc.', vegetables, however, require no blessing [after]. R. Isaac, however, says that even vegetables also require a blessing [after], but not water. R. Papa says: Water also. Mar Zutra acted as prescribed by R. Isaac b. Abdimi and R. Shimi b. Ashi as prescribed by R. Isaac. (To remember which is which think of one2 acting as two and two as one.)3 R. Ashi said: When I think of it, I do as prescribed by all of them.4
We have learnt: Whatever requires a blessing to be said after it requires a blessing before it, but some things require a blessing before but not after.5 Now this is right on the view of R. Isaac b. Abdimi, since it is to exclude vegetables, and on the view of R. Isaac to exclude water; but on the view of R. Papa, what does it exclude? — It is to exclude the performance of religious duties.6 And according to the Palestinians7 who after removing their tefillin say 'Blessed be Thou … who hast sanctified us with Thy commandments and commanded us to observe Thy statutes' — what does it exclude? — It excludes scents.
R. Jannai said in the name of Rabbi: An egg is superior [in food value] to the same quantity of any other kind of food. When Rabin came [from Palestine] he said: A lightly roasted egg is superior to six kaysi8 of fine flour. When R. Dimi came, he said: A lightly roasted egg is better than six [kaysi]; a hard baked egg than four;9 and a [boiled] egg is better than the same quantity of any other kind of boiled food except meat.
R. AKIBA SAYS: EVEN IF ONE ATE BOILED VEGETABLES etc. Is there any kind of boiled vegetable of which one can make a meal? — R. Ashi replied: The rule applies to the stalk of cabbage.
Our Rabbis taught: Milt is good for the teeth but bad for the bowels; horse-beans are bad for the teeth but good for the bowels. All raw vegetables make the complexion pale and all things not fully grown retard growth. Living beings10 restore vitality11 and that which is near the vital organs12 restores vitality. Cabbage for sustenance and beet for healing. Woe to the house13 through which vegetables are always passing!
The Master has said, 'Milt is good for the teeth and bad for the bowels.' What is the remedy? — To chew it well and then spit it out. 'Horse-beans are bad for the teeth but good for the bowels'. What is the remedy? — To boil them well and swallow them. 'All raw vegetables make the complexion pale'. R. Isaac said: That is, in the first meal taken after blood-letting. R. Isaac also said: If one eats vegetables before the fourth hour [of the day],14 it is forbidden to talk with him. What is the reason? Because his breath smells. R. Isaac also said: It is forbidden to a man to eat raw vegetables before the fourth hour. Amemar and Mar Zutra and R. Ashi were once sitting together when raw vegetables were set before them before the fourth hour. Amemar and R. Ashi ate, but Mar Zutra would not eat. They said to him: What is your reason? Because R. Isaac said that if one eats vegetables before the fourth hour it is forbidden to converse with him because his breath smells? See, we have been eating, and you have been conversing with us? He replied: I hold with that other saying of R. Isaac, where he said that it is forbidden to a man to eat raw vegetables before the fourth hour.15 'Things not fully grown retard growth'. R. Hisda said: Even a kid worth a zuz.16 This, however, is the case only with that which has not attained a fourth of its full size; but if it has attained a fourth, there is no objection. 'Living being restore vitality'. R. Papa said: Even tiny fishes from the pools. 'That which is near the vital organs restores vitality'. R. Aha b. Jacob said: Such as the neck.17 Raba said to his attendant: When you buy a piece of meat for me, see that you get it from a place near where the benediction is said.18 'Cabbage for sustenance and beet for healing'. Is cabbage then good only for sustenance and not for healing? Has it not been taught: Six things heal a sick person of his disease with a permanent cure, namely, cabbage, beet, a decoction of dry19 poley, the maw, the womb, and the large lobe of the liver'? — What you must say is that the cabbage is good for sustenance also. 'Woe to the house through which vegetables are always passing'. Is that so? Did not Raba say to his attendant: If you see vegetables in the market, do not stop to ask me, What will you put round your bread.20 — Abaye said: [It means, when they are cooked] without meat;21 Raba said: [It means, when they are taken] without wine. It has been stated: Rab says, without meat, Samuel says, without wood,22 and R. Johanan says, without wine. Said Raba to R. Papa the brewer:23 We neutralize24 it with meat and wine; you who have not much wine, how you neutralize it? — He replied: With chips [of wood]. R. Papa's wife when she cooked vegetables neutralized their evil effects by using eighty Persian twigs.25
Our Rabbis taught: A small salted fish is sometimes deadly, namely on the seventh, the seventeenth and the twenty-seventh day of its salting. Some say, on the twenty-third. This is the case only if it is imperfectly roasted; but if it is well roasted, there is no harm in it. And even if it is not well roasted there is no harm in it unless one neglects to drink beer after it; but if one drinks beer after it, there is no harm.
IF ONE QUENCHES HIS THIRST WITH WATER etc. What does this exclude? — R. Idi b. Abin said: It excludes one
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