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My breakfast regularly presents me with a beracha conundrum. It usually consists of a bowl of bran flakes (mezonos), often sprinkled with raisins (etz) and/or sunflower seeds (adama), and occasionally some cornflakes (shehakol, since they are processed beyond recognition as corn). And of course, all mixed in with milk (more shehakol).

I heard that the correct thing to do when you have a mixture like this is to go after the majority of the mixture, and say the beracha of that food to cover the entire dish. I also heard that if there's mezonos involved, even a minority, the whole dish automatically becomes mezonos. Does anyone have a source for either of these halachos - or different opinions?

Then, after finishing up my bowl - or even midway through it - what if I get an urge to munch a handful of raisins? Or drink a glass of milk? Assuming I made the beracha of mezonos on the bowl of cereal, which included the raisins and milk therein, must I make a new beracha on the glass of milk or plain raisins?

And what about the beracha acharona? When I say al hamichya, should I also include al haetz for the raisins? If there was a kezayis of cornflakes, or a revi'is of milk in the bowl, must I also make a borei nefashos?

Arrrggh! Maybe it would just be easier to make hamotzi and be done with it...!

(P.S. Sorry about the untranslated jargon. I know Judaism.SE is supposed to be user-friendly to beginners, but this question is just too complicated to dejargonify...)

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People have the same problem with cholent: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/6213/cholent-falafel-bracha –  jake May 24 '11 at 19:37
    
Re "bran flakes (mezonos)": Do you mean flakes like All-Bran, which are, in fact, almost all bran and very little if any of the part of the grain traditionally considered edible? Those, if I'm not mistaken, are shehakol; but CYLOR. –  msh210 May 24 '11 at 21:35
    
Related (more specific): judaism.stackexchange.com/q/34424 –  msh210 Jan 6 at 8:04
    
an interesting question brought up in shul today. Crispix. each flake is 50% mezonos and 50% shehakol However, the milk brings to total to over 50% shehakol so the psak is that the who bowl is shehakol. –  sabbahillel yesterday
    
I have been told that the bowl of cereal is mezonos, but a glass of milk (afterwards) is a separate shehakol. I was also told that both brachos acharonos need to be said. –  sabbahillel yesterday

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Essentially you are asking "what are the laws of Ikar V'tafel?"

Indeed they are quite complex. I'll be following your question while I answer this. Don't treat this as a definitive guide, but this will contain lots of info that'll help your case. (and as always CYLOR)

Determining Ikar vs. Tafel

I heard that the correct thing to do when you have a mixture like this is to go after the majority of the mixture, and say the beracha of that food to cover the entire dish. I also heard that if there's mezonos involved, even a minority, the whole dish automatically becomes mezonos.

You heard correct, but that's incomplete. Here's how it generally works (by generally I mean to exclude certain other types of Ikar V'tafel):

Foods containing Wheat, Spelt, Oats, Rye, or Barley

If a food contains one of the 5 species of grain (not e.g. rice) we generally simply say that the Mezonos is Ikar and all the other foods are tafel.

However, there are cases the grain is not there for nourishment or flavor, but for some external purpose (like a binder). For example, gefilte fish is Shehakol even though it contains grain.

Other foods

The first step is to determine which of the foods is the ikar (i.e. the food specifically desired). The tafel is the food that is used to enhance the other food. This of course is subjective.

In cases where there is no clear ikar, we then look for the majority. E.g. a fruit cocktail: it would be very hard to say one fruit is the main. So we would look for the majority fruit and make the Bracha on that.

Extent of Ikar V'tafel Exemption

Then, after finishing up my bowl - or even midway through it - what if I get an urge to munch a handful of raisins? Or drink a glass of milk? Assuming I made the beracha of mezonos on the bowl of cereal, which included the raisins and milk therein, must I make a new beracha on the glass of milk or plain raisins?

In the case of cereal with milk, the cereal is generally the ikar and milk tafel. In such cases, the cereal exempts the milk, and even a small amount of milk that's leftover in the bowl. However, if one purposely added a "considerable amount" of milk to the cereal because he/she wants to drink the milk, then another bracha may be required for the milk as well.

According to this, it would appear (I don't have a source) that in your case - all the more so - you should make a separate bracha for the milk. [It would be super-hard to say that the milk in the glass is being drunk to enhance the cereal].

As far as fruits in cereal: raisins, and other small bits of fruit would seem to be tafel (provided they are serving the "enhancing" function). Bananas and larger are a bit more complicated... (CYLOR here)

Bracha Achronah in Ikar V'tafel

And what about the beracha acharona? When I say al hamichya, should I also include al haetz for the raisins?

Once again a fascinating question. Generally speaking both the Bracha Rishona and Achronah are covered by the Ikar (and exempt the Tafel) - provided it's a case of ikar v'tafel. So no.

However, the exception (which would rarely apply here) would be where you eat less than the proper shiur of the ikar. In such case, since you cannot say a bracha achronah for the ikar, you would say it on the tafel (assuming a proper shiur was eaten).

If there was a kezayis of cornflakes, or a revi'is of milk in the bowl, must I also make a borei nefashos?

Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. Assuming you're asking "do I need a bracha achronah on the tafel as well?", see what I wrote before. If not, please explain in comments...

Arrrggh! Maybe it would just be easier to make hamotzi and be done with it...

Believe it or not, that would also be a case of Ikar V'tafel (although a simpler one).

Enjoy!

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Wow, fantastic, well researched and clear answer! Thank you! –  Shaul May 25 '11 at 8:27

The Igros Moshe א"ח ח"ד סימן מ"ג writes that the milk is exempt only if it used to help eat the cereal. He also requires (on the following page) a bracha on any fruit added to the cereal.

Rabbi Yisroel Bodner in his book ותן ברכה (page 71) writes:

Most Poskim rule the even those mixtures in which the ingredients are recognizable and distinct are nevertheless considered a single entity. Thus, stews, casseroles and the like (consisting of small pieces mixed together), require only one brocha, since such mixtures are considered to be a single entity.

He brings פרי מגדים and others as his source.

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