ד׳ בתשרי ה׳תשע״ג (September 20, 2012)

Berakhot 50a-b: Proper Use and Care of Food

The Gemara on today’s daf discusses using food for different purposes. For example –

taught: Four things were said with regard to bread: One may not place raw meat on bread so the blood will not drip onto the bread and render it inedible; and one may not pass a full cup of wine over bread lest the wine drip on it and ruin the bread; and one may not throw bread; and one may not prop up a dish with a piece of bread.

This ruling notwithstanding, the Gemara recounts how Mar Zutra once tossed fruit to his colleagues, who expressed surprise at the lack of respect that he showed for the food. In the discussion that followed, two contradictory baraitot were quoted. One taught:

Just as one may not throw bread, so too one may not throw other foods?

The other taught:

Although one may not throw bread, he may throw other foods?

Ultimately the Gemara differentiates between food that becomes disgusting when thrown, where all throwing is forbidden, and food that will not become disgusting, where only bread may not be thrown.

The Rosh explains that one may not throw bread at all, not because it becomes disgusting, but in deference to its uniqueness, as throwing bread is always considered disrespectful whether or not it spoils (Beit Yosef ). The reason that it is prohibited to treat food with contempt is because it is tantamount to denying the beneficence of God, Who provides one with food (HaBoneh).

The Gemara extends the discussion of food becoming disgusting to other areas of halakhah, as well. With regard to blessings on food, for example, if one put food or drink into his mouth without reciting a blessing and is able to remove the food without it becoming disgusting, he should do so and recite a blessing. If not, he should move the food to the side of his mouth and recite the blessing. Liquids may be swallowed (Rambam Sefer Ahava, Hilkhot Berakhot 8:12; Shulḥan Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim 172:1–2).

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