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33. Bracha Achrona on Mixtures

November 18, 2015 | by Rabbi Chaim Gross and Rabbi Shraga Simmons

When foods are eaten in combination, which after-bracha do you say?

When foods are eaten in some type of combination, there are two main issues to consider regarding bracha achrona:

  • Which bracha achrona do you say?
  • If you ate small amounts, do the two foods combine to form the minimum quantity of a kezayit?

We'll now examine each of these issues in detail.

Which Bracha Achrona to Say?

We learned in class #20 about the concept of ikar v'tafel (primary and secondary ingredients). For example, if you have a hot dog with ketchup, your bracha rishona is determined by whichever ingredient you desire, and/or by the majority ingredient1 – in this case, the hot dog is obviously the ikar.

The same rule applies to a bracha achrona: You say only a bracha on the ikar, and not on the tafel.2

"Say that you ate crackers with peanut butter. As we learned in class #22, mezonot is always considered the ikar in a mixture. So the rule is quite simple: Just as your  bracha rishona on the crackers "covered" the peanut butter, so too your bracha achrona of Al Ha'michya covers the peanut butter. A separate  bracha achrona is not required.3

However, this only applies because the peanut butter and crackers were eaten as an ikar v'tafel, with one bracha rishona covering both foods. But otherwise, if you eat mezonot foods to obligate the saying of Al Ha'michya, this does not obviate the need a bracha achrona on any non-mezonot food.4

Sam ate pretzels and then a bar of chocolate. He needs to say Al Ha'michya, followed by Borei Nefashot.

Do the Foods Combine to Form a Kezayit?

What about a case where you ate two different foods, requiring two different after-brachot, but you did not eat a full kezayit of either food? Let's look at five different cases:

1) If you ate vegetables and meat, the bracha achrona (assuming you ate a kezayit quickly enough) is a foregone conclusion – both of these foods get a Borei Nefashot. Therefore you don't need a kezayit of any individual ingredient to say Borei Nefashot – they can "join together" to form the required kezayit.5

2) What about a case where the after-brachot are different – e.g. you ate a half-kezayit of crackers and a half-kezayit of apple? The proper bracha achrona is Borei Nefashot. The reason is because the apple cannot "go up" in status to combine and obligate Al HaMichya, but the cracker can "go down" to obligate a Borei Nefashot.6

3) If you drank a half-revi'it of orange juice and a half-revi'it of soda (in immediate succession), they combine to obligate a Borei Nefashot.

4) If you ate a half-kezayit of food and drank a half-revi'it of drink, these do not combine together to obligate a Borei Nefashot.7 However, with a thick vegetable soup, the liquid broth and the vegetable chunks are eaten together as one food, and thus combine to obligate a Borei Nefashot. (In other words, the tafel status of the liquid makes it considered a part of the solid it is secondary to. It therefore contributes to the required kezayit.).8

5) Now let's complicate things a bit. Let's say that you ate a piece of chocolate cake that was precisely one kezayit in size. If we break down the ingredients, we'll see that this piece of cake contains approximately one half-kezayit of wheat flour, and one half-kezayit of other ingredients – sugar, margarine, eggs, etc. In terms of which bracha achrona to say, the custom differs:

  • Opinion-A - The mezonot combines with the other ingredients to form a kezayit, and therefore you say Al Ha'michya.9

    [This applies only when the ingredients are baked together in a full mixture, However, if you ate a piece of cheesecake which has a half-kezayit layer of mezonot crust and a half-kezayit layer of cheese, the cheese would not count toward the kezayit.10 In such a case, if the mezonot crust, for example, constitutes 20% of the cake's total volume, then in order to say Al Ha'michya you would need to eat 5 kezayit-measures within 3-4 minutes.]

  • Opinion-BAl Ha'michya is not recited unless a full kezayit of mezonot is consumed.11 If not, the proper bracha achrona is Borei Nefashot, as described in case #2 above.

In any event, the best option is to avoid this issue altogether, by eating a piece of cake that contains a full kezayit of flour.12


Imagine a situation where you have a few different after-brachot to say. For example, you ate fish and salad for your main course, and fresh dates for dessert. Here you'll have to say Borei Nefashot to cover the fish and salad, and Al Ha'aitz for the dates. In this case you should say the Al Ha'aitz first, because of the following rule:

The Three-Faceted Blessing, due to its importance, takes priority over Borei Nefashot.

However, if there would be only salad and dates, then Borei Nefashot would come first. The reason is because in the Three-Faceted Blessing, we say "v'al tenuvat ha'sadeh" (which means, "...and on the produce of the field"). Thus, if it would be said first, according to some opinions, it would make the Borei Nefashot redundant. Therefore, in such a case the Borei Nefasot should be said first. However, when consuming shehakol foods that do not grow from the ground (e.g. meat, cheese, water, etc.), the Three-Faceted Blessing should be said first, because of its importance.13

This concludes class #33. In our next class, we'll begin the guidelines for Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after a bread meal.

  1. Orach Chaim 212:1
  2. Orach Chaim 212:1
  3. Mishnah Berurah 208:48
  4. Orach Chaim 208:13
  5. Mishnah Berurah 210:1
  6. Mishnah Berurah 210:1
  7. Magen Avraham 210:1. Note that some authorities question this ruling. Therefore it is better not to put yourself in this situation. See Sha'ar HaTziyun 5 there.
  8. Mishnah Berurah 210:1 regarding fish brine
  9. Mishnah Berurah 208:48
  10. Laws of Brachos, pg. 385
  11. Shu”t Igros Moshe (OC 1:71)
  12. Mishnah Berurah 208:48; Shu”t Igros Moshe (OC 1:71)
  13. Divrei Malkiel 3:3, 52; 5:21, cited in Yabia Omer 5:17



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