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The halacha is that you should only say a bracha on water if you're thirsty. All the seforim I've read agree on the following: if you're not thirsty, but you drink water in order to swallow a pill, you don't say any bracha before or after.

Let's say you swallow a pill with Diet Coke or another type of sugar-free pop. But such pop has no nutritional value.

  1. Should you say a bracha on the drink beforehand?

  2. Why?

Please cite sources.

I couldn't find an answer to this question online. I seem to recall that The Laws of B'rachos by R' Binyomin Forst (ArtScroll) includes a discussion of when blessings are necessary before food and drink, and when they're unnecessary. But I don't remember exactly what R' Forst wrote.

CYLOR.

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Potentially dumb question: Why is the CYLOR part of the question, instead of part of an answer? I've noticed this on a few other questions on here.. I'm puzzled--if it's local Orthodox Rabbi territory, that's an answer, no? Unless that's a signal to the Orthodox Rabbis on here that should be the ones answering?? –  Gary Nov 6 '13 at 18:25
    
@Gary: 1. When I get well-sourced answers here, and when all the answers agree, I tend to respect them and hold like them. On the other hand, if I got well-sourced but conflicting answers, or unsourced answers, it would be silly to pick one and hold like it. So in summary, I treat answers here with a grain of salt. 2. Still, I recently had another question closed as "don't ask here for personal rulings". So, this time, I figured that writing "CYLOR" might help to prevent that. –  unforgettableid Nov 7 '13 at 7:19
    
@nforgettableid...thanks! The big question mark floating above my head has been popped..."when all the answers agree"?!? On a Jewish site? Part of the beauty/interest of this site for me is the occurrence of well sourced answers that have different views/logic modes relating to a question... Keeps me perusing... –  Gary Nov 7 '13 at 20:35
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Drinking water in order to swallow a pill is basically the same case as drinking water in order swallow down food which is stuck in your throat (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 204:7).

The m'chaber states there that no blessing - before or after - is to be said on the water.

The Mishna Berurah 204(42) there explains there that this is only the law for water because it has no taste [literally: 'your palate doesn't benefit from it'] (unless you're thirsty [where you certainly benefit from the water] ) - but if it were any other drink - you would have to make a blessing on it - before and after - even though you're only drinking it in order to swallow down the food.

So it is irrelevant that diet soda is sugarless or of no/little nutritional value. Since it has taste, you must say a blessing on it.

P.S. Some achronim even distinguish between water and soda water - because you benefit from the bubbles/fizz.

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+1; thank you very much. At synagogue this evening, I also looked into the matter. I checked The Laws of B'rachos by R' Binyomin Forst. Page 134 footnote 9 discusses diet soda in detail. Here is a summary of the footnote: R' Forst and R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach both agree: Diet soda requires a blessing even if you're not thirsty. –  unforgettableid Nov 7 '13 at 2:09
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Water is a very special case. On something like diet coke (unless you hate the taste of diet coke) you would make bracha on it for you derive pleasure from it and it tastes good and taste/pleasure is the deciding factor in making a Bracha. Source is Shulchan Aruch Siman 204 Saif 8.

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