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Bracha for food that is not present yet


Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 1, 5776
Shalom dear Rabbi, I wanted to ask if it is possible to make a bracha on a certain food item that one hopes to eat in the near future at the same larger meal, if that food item does not yet exist as such, for example someone wants to make the bracha (mezonot) on a number of pancakes and while he is eating the pancakes, a different person is making new pacakes from scratch (mixing flour,eggs,water,etc and then frying them). Could the person eating make the bracha rishona with the future pancakes in mind even though they don’t yet exist? A different example (I suppose the situation would be similar): someone would go to a pizza restaurant and orders pizza but is told that it would take some time until the pizza gets made (being freshly formed from dough and then baked) and in the meantime the customer would choose to eat a salad with bread, would it be possible to say the bracha on bread also with the pizza in mind, even though the pizza may not have started to exist as such, or if the customer is sure that the pizza does not yet exist (and he would consider the dough inedible)? Can one make a bracha on food that does not exist yet? I also wanted to ask in general if, before a person makes a bracha, he has to specify in advance which foods/dishes he will eat, or if he can also make a more general bracha in the sense of saying hamozee and first eating bread and the being able to eat everything that is in the room. Thank you very much in advance
Shalom, Thank you for your questions. When making a blessing over bread, one generally has in mind that it will cover all the foods eaten in that meal, and as such it covers all the foods that are subsequently eaten. In your case, when making the blessing a person had clear intent to eat the as yet uncooked foods in their meal, and as such those foods are also covered by the original blessing. Even if there was no original intent to eat the uncooked foods, as it is common that people want more food during a meal, and sometimes need to cook it, they would also be covered. However, it the food was totally unexpected, such as when you started a meal with bread then someone would suddenly slaughter your pet chicken and make chicken soup (which would probably be quite a surprise to you – especially if you were emotionally attached to the chicken), then a separate blessing would be required. But this is not because the soup was created after the first blessing, but because it was not included in the first blessing because it was so unexpected. The laws of what a blessing "covers" are very complex, and differ depending on intent at the time of the blessing, normal eating habits, which foods were in front of the person at the time of the first blessing, at what stage of eating did the person decide to eat more (i.e. if there still some of the first food uneaten), and if the second food is similar to the first food or not. As you can see, this can get quite complex (I suggest learning Rabbi Y.P. Bodner's wonderful work "The Halachos Of Brochos"). In general though, one should try to train themselves to have "open ended" intent when saying a blessing over food, and by doing so the blessing then covers all foods that come under the same blessing. So, before saying "Hamotzi" you should think that the blessing is to cover whatever food you end up eating during this meal. Then, no matter you decide to eat (except things that are really totally unexpected – such as the pet chicken), they are covered with the blessing you made over the original bread. I hope this is of some help.
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