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In his siddur, Rav Sa`adya haGaon (Rasa"g) mentions only four of the five species of peroth ha-ilan which are special to Eress Yisrael, leaving out zethim ("olives"). He does so in two places. Further, he does not simply list the other four and leave out olives, rather he precedes his listing of them with the words huss me-arabaah dhevarim ("except for these four things"). This seems to indicate a volitional (i.e. shitah-based) reason for doing so.

Question: Why does Rasa"g not mention zethim in his list of the five peroth ha-ilan which Eress Yisrael is known for and which require Birkath Me-En Shalosh (i.e. al ha-ess we-al feri ha-ess)?

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Possibly related to the question of beracha on olives, since they are primarily grown for oil—and oil (unlike wine) is not drunk on its own. –  J. C. Salomon Oct 28 '13 at 1:50
    
@J.C.Salomon If olive oil is drunk on its own as food then it also gets an "Al haPeirot". –  Double AA Oct 28 '13 at 2:27
    
Perhaps he viewed olives as ba im haseuda and left them off because they are usually covered in the birkat hamazon? Note his discussion at the bottom of the page after the linked page. –  Double AA Oct 28 '13 at 16:06
    
@DoubleAA - Drinking olive oil is not normal derech achila; are you sure that it doesn't get a shehakol? –  Adam Mosheh Oct 29 '13 at 22:58
    
@Adam I'm sure. –  Double AA Oct 29 '13 at 22:59

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