June 19, 2024
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June 19, 2024
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What Bracha Does One Make on Crispix?

Part II

(continued from last week)

Shehakol vs. Mezonot
As a De Facto Bracha

The Chayei Adam (49:2) and many others write that b’bieved, a Mezonot covers every food as the text of the bracha is vague. Why not make a Mezonot since everything, except salt and water, is considered mazon (Eiruvin 26b)? Some take this approach and say that a Mezonot, like a Shehakol, works on everything—b’dieved (Birkei Yosef 167:10, Chayei Adam 58:3, Bi’ur Halacha 167:10, Kaf Hachayim 202:9, 206:5; Sephardic Jews typically follow this opinion, as per the rulings of both the Ben Ish Chai and Yalkut Yosef). However, others (Sdei Chemed and Aruch Hashulchan, OC 167:19) disagree and rule that a Mezonot works only for food made from the five grains. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O’C 4:40 and C’M 2:41), based on the aforementioned Gemara in Eruvin, holds that one is yotzei with a Mezonot b’dieved. However, Rav Moshe says if one recited a Mezonot on a Shehakol/Ha’adamah/Ha’eitz food, he should eat only a bite-sized portion of food. Since every bite creates a new chiyuv it is improper to continue eating based merely on a b’dieved bracha. Even though making a Shehakol or a Mezonot on every food is b’dieved, one can make a Shehakol—even ideally—on food that we are unsure of its true bracha. For these reasons, it is preferable to make a Shehakol on Crispix.


Approach III: Rav Forchheimer

Rav Yaakov Forcheimer, in his responsa Orchot Yaakov, reasons that the correct bracha for Crispix is Mezonot. Rav Forchheimer agrees that a Shehakol would be effective, but why make a b’dieved bracha on two ingredients when you can make the correct bracha on the rice and a b’dieved one on the corn. Rav Forcheimer’s source for a Mezonot being effective on a Ha’adamah food is the aforementioned Chayei Adam (58:3) who rules that a Mezonot is effective on any food since every food (except for water and salt) is considered mazon.

Furthermore, the mere fact that rice gets a Mezonot, even though it is not one of the five grains, is possibly sufficient to render it superior (Levush 211:6). For this reason, the Kaf Hachayim (O’C 208:43) writes that when there is a 50/50 mixture of rice and another non-Hamotzi food, one recites Mezonot. However, the Kaf Hachayim quotes the dissenting view of the Prisha who holds that one should add to the mixture to create a majority. Rav Forchheimer argues that regarding Crispix, where it is impossible to change the ratio, even the Prisha would agree to recite Mezonot. In addition, the Chatam Sofer writes that corn may merit a Mezonot like rice. Although prevailing practice is not in accordance with the Chatam Sofer, it adds a further basis to make Mezonot on the mixture.

The notion of being yotzei with a Mezonot on every food is widely debated. Although the aforementioned Chayei Adam quotes this halacha as the accepted opinion, there is much debate about the scope of the bracha of Borei Minei Mezonot. The Mishnah Eruvin (3:1) writes that one who makes a neder not to eat “mazon” is forbidden to eat everything except water and salt. Seemingly, everything is considered mazon and one should be yotzei with a Mezonot on any food.

The Gemara (Eiruvin 30a), in turn, suggests that the aforementioned Mishnah disproves the opinion of Rav and Shmuel. Rav and Shmuel rule that one can make a Mezonot only on the five grains since only those are defined as mazon. Rav Huna answers that the Mishnah deals with a case when he/she says all mazon, food, is forbidden upon me. Tosafot (Ad. loc) ask that even the opinions that disagree with Rav and Shmuel disagree only with regard to rice and millet, not whether or not all foods are considered mazon. Therefore, the Mishnah should be difficult not only for Rav and Shmuel but for everyone. Tosafot answer that according to Rav and Shmuel, only the five grains are considered mazon; the other opinion holds that every food is considered food, but we recite Mezonot only upon that which one establishes his meal, i.e., a substantial food. Seemingly, according to Tosafot’s explanation, one would be yotzei b’dieved with a Mezonot on every food (according to the second opinion).

The Nishmat Adam (58:3) explains that regarding the language of brachot we follow the language of the Torah. Therefore, if mazon in the Torah refers to all foods, then one would be yotzei, albeit b’dieved, with a Mezonot on the corn side of the Crispix (the Eliyah Rabbah and the Kesef Mishnah agree to this approach). However, R. Akiva Eiger (Gilyon Hashas, Brachot 36b) states one is not yotzei with a Mezonot. Furthermore, the Mishnah Brachot (6:2) states that one is yotzei with a Shehakol on any food but does not make a similar statement regarding Mezonot. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O’C’ 4:40) concludes that one may, to a very limited extent, rely on the Chayei Adam and be yotzei with a Mezonot. Rav Bodner indicates that one would be yotzei, but acknowledges the dissenting views. Bottom line: if one said Mezonot on a non-Mezonot food he/she does not need to make a new bracha, but making a Mezonot with the assumption that one is yotzei b’dieved (like by Crispix) does not appear to be an ideal option.



Eilu v’eilu divrei Elokim chayim (Eiruvin 13b, Gittin 6b), both this opinion and that are the words of Hashem. When taking a step back, all three approaches emerge from exceedingly reputable and knowledgeable sources and may be relied upon without worry. In practice, one should choose an approach based on rabbinic guidance. Our article is meant only to share the fascinating discussion behind a simple food.


Postscript From Rabbi Jachter

In my opinion, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews should follow the OU website and recite a Shehakol on Crispix. Shehakol is the only option in which one is certain to avoid even a possible violation of reciting a bracha levatala.

Nachi Scheiner is a member of the TABC Class of 2022.

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