Brachos Daf 39



Drinking Coffee Heated

By A Gentile

The Gemora states: Anything which is normally eaten raw is not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking. (Water does not need to be heated and therefore should not be subject to this prohibition.)

The Radvaz in his teshuvos (3:637) writes: It is permitted to drink coffee heated by a gentile and it is not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking; even though coffee cannot be eaten in its raw state, it is something which does not eaten at a king’s table as an accompaniment to the bread and therefore it is permitted. There is also no concern that they cooked something forbidden in those pots beforehand, since it is well known that they have designated utensils for the coffee (because otherwise, the taste of the coffee would be ruined). He concludes: One should not drink coffee in the accompaniment of gentiles since that will result in many transgressions.

It is brought like that in the Hagahos from the Maharikash (114) as well. He rules that one should be stringent about drinking coffee in a coffee house of gentiles, similar to the halachah regarding wine and beer. Furthermore, it is considered a moishev leitzim (i.e. a session of jesters) and should be avoided.

The Knesses Hagedolah in his sefer Ba’ey Chayei (Y”D 145) disagrees and maintains that coffee heated by a gentile is prohibited to drink. He states: Anything which is eaten or drunk at the royal table by itself, even if it does not come as an accompaniment to the bread is subject to the prohibition of gentile cooking. Furthermore, the requirement that the food must be something that accompanies bread on the royal table is limited to food items, not liquids. He continues: “Even though when I was younger, I would rely on those who ruled that it is permitted, I have now investigated it thoroughly and cannot find a reason for its permission and therefore I refrain from drinking it.” He found that the Arizal prohibited drinking coffee heated by a gentile. He concludes that he is not prohibiting it for the public, but he himself refrained from drinking it.

Pri Chadash (114:6) writes that it is permitted based on Tosfos (Avodah Zarah 31b): Wheat is nullified in water in regards to reciting the blessing of shehakol, so too it is nullified in regards to the prohibition against gentile cooking. Similarly, the coffee is nullified in the boiling water that it is being cooked with and it is therefore not subject to the prohibition against gentile cooking.

Teshuvos Beis Yehudah (Y”D 21) objects to the reasoning of the Pri Chadash. Our Gemora rules: The proper blessing on water which was cooked with vegetables is ha’adamah and this is the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (205:2). The reasoning is based on the fact that this is the common method for these vegetables. Accordingly, the blessing on coffee should be ha’adamah as well. Our custom of reciting shehakol on coffee is astounding, but we cannot add to this novelty by being lenient with the prohibition against gentile cooking.

Rabbi Yaakov Emden in his sefer Mor U’ktziah (204) writes that actually the proper blessing on coffee should be ha’eitz since it is a fruit from a tree and that was the original intent of those that planted the coffee beans; to drink from the liquid. He concludes that the custom is to recite a shehakol anyway, similar to date beer and barley beer.


Bread Inside Bread

Our Gemora says that he who has a whole loaf of barley bread and a slice of wheat bread “puts the slice inside the loaf and (says the berachah and) cuts it.” Rashi had a version of the Gemora which says “he puts the slice under the loaf” and apparently this is the correct version as how can one put a slice inside a whole loaf? However, some justify the version “inside the loaf” and explain that the bread in Chazal’s era in their region resembled pita. Pita is quite elastic and can be folded to put the slice inside it (Milon Arami, Melamed).


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