Can I Really have a Relationship with G-d
Taste of Talmud
Rav Pappa said one who eats other foods besides bread during a meal does not make a blessing upon them. Why? Rashi says the reason is because when you eat a second food item together with bread it is secondary to the bread. Therefore the blessing on the bread is all that is required. According to Rashi this should only absolve a person from the obligation of making a blessing during the meal on those items which are literally eaten with bread. Tosafos expands the understanding of Rav Pappa’s statement to include any food item which is of the same nature as bread. This would mean that any food item which you eat during a meal that is like bread in the sense that you may have otherwise used it as a main staple to base your meal around, is exempt from a blessing if you eat it during a meal that you already made a blessing on bread. This would include all food items made with grain, rice, or corn. The Ritva takes this law one step further. The Ritva is of the opinion that all food items that it could be said about them that they are coming to fulfill the same function as the bread during the meal, are also exempt from a blessing during a meal. This includes all vegetables and fruit which are coming to abate your hunger. Only those food items which it could be said are coming solely for pleasure, after the main meal is over, would require a separate blessing upon them according to the Ritva.
Taste of Halacha
Is one required to make a blessing on ice-cream that is served for dessert after a large meal which began with bread? According to Rashi, it would be obvious that a blessing must be said on any food item not eaten together with bread. Even according to Tosafos, we would say a blessing should be said because ice cream is not a food item in the category of bread. What about according to the Ritva? Could it be said that the ice cream is also coming to abate your hunger and therefore is exempt from its own blessing? The Piskei Teshuvos quotes a number of different opinions in regards to this law. In the opinion of Rabbi Ben Tzion Abba Shaul Zt”l ice-cream which is just a frozen liquid is exempt from a blessing just like a drink of water is exempt due to its coming to balance out the meal. However, ice- cream which is made of more substantial ingredients like soy or eggs is considered a food item thereby requiring its own blessing. According to the Ritva, this type of ice cream may not require its own Bracha if it is helping to abate your hunger. The consensus of the majority opinions is that a Bracha should be said on ice-cream eaten at the end of a meal because it is not part of the meal. One who wishes to fulfill all opinions could make a shehakol blessing on a candy prior to eating the ice-cream.
Taste of Parasha
“Mah, What, does G-d ask of you, only to have awe of Him…” (Deut. 10:12). The word only carries with it the implication that developing a healthy relationship with G-d is a matter easily within our reach. In truth, to feel as if we are in G-d’s presence and to develop a healthy relationship with the Almighty is a challenge for many. It is therefore difficult to understand the use of the adjective “only”. Harav Aharon Feldman Shlita explains: The reason why this directive could be deemed a matter which is easily within our reach is contained within this same verse. By reciting blessings throughout the day, we stay in constant contact with G-d and develop a very real relationship with Him. This Mitzvah is alluded to in this verse which says, “What does G-d ask of you, only to have awe of Him…” The word in Hebrew for “what,” “Mah,” is closely related to the word in Hebrew for “100,” “meah.” In addition, this Mitzvah is hinted to by the fact that the number of letters in this verse, add up to 100. This is alluding to the idea that a way to achieve a real relationship with G-d is by reciting 100 blessings every day. According to this deeper understanding of the verse, the verse is saying: G-d is asking of us to recite 100 (blessings) so that we will have awe of Him… The power of this Mitzvah can be seen from the fact that King David was able to arrest the progress of a plague by instituting that everyone should be careful to recite 100 blessings every day.