Can a Berachah be made LeVatalah retroactively?

What if you eat something that is spoiled, not realizing it until a bite or two in? You would not make a Berachah on spoiled food. But if you did, and you ate it, and then you realized it was spoiled, does your Berachah retroactively become in vain? Would it make a difference if you had either an extreme reaction or a neutral reaction?

  • similar to judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/17077/… Aug 27 '12 at 18:22
  • 1
    A similar case would be if you say Hamapil and can't fall asleep
    – b a
    Aug 27 '12 at 18:30
  • 1
    May nafka minah if it's l'vatala?
    – msh210
    Aug 27 '12 at 18:33
  • 2
    @msh210 If you have to do teshuvah
    – b a
    Aug 27 '12 at 18:43
  • 1
    @ba Nesivos 234:3. I'm guessing not all agree, but it is a known and serious opinion.
    – Double AA
    Aug 27 '12 at 21:48

See SA OC 206, 6: If he took in his hand a fruit in attempt to eat it, and the fruit fell from his hand and gets lost, or dirty and is lo unfit for consumption, ... He needs to say Baruch Shem Kevod Malchouto Leolam Vaed because he pronounced the name of G-d in vain.

So, at the time of the blessing there was no error and the blessing was appropriate in the circumstances. But retroactively it was unnecessary. The SA called this pronouncing the name of G-d in vain.

This Shulchan Aruch is from the Talmud Yerushalmi Berachot (folio 43b, chapter 6, halacha 1).

  • But there is a difference: in your case he never bit into it, and certainly never swallowed anything (=having hana'ah). In the OP's question he did eat a bite or two, thereby giving his body some benefit (albeit not for his taste buds...).
    – Ploni
    May 24 '17 at 3:03
  • @Ploni if he eats chas veshalom feces and eat a bit or two.... see the sugia of shemen zayt and kemach seorim
    – kouty
    May 24 '17 at 3:39
  • I would think there's a difference between feces and spoiled bread... Where is this sugia you mentioned?
    – Ploni
    May 24 '17 at 3:44
  • @Ploni shemen zayit is in the first or second amud of ketsad mevarchim and the sugia of mazik is there in rishonim and they report the kemach seorim perhaps my remember is not exact
    – kouty
    May 24 '17 at 4:00
  • Is spoiled food damaging to the body as is the case by olive oil?
    – Ploni
    May 24 '17 at 4:40

On your first question regarding the possibility of a bracha levatala retroactively being made, this article by dinonline explains

  1. What if one recited a b’racha for a drink and it suddenly spilled?

If possible, he should drink even a minute amount of the remnants in order to use the b’racha. Otherwise, he has unfortunately recited a b’racha levatala and must say the sentence baruch sheim etc.

For the 2nd part of your question regarding spoiled food, the OU writes,

...'If one eats moldy bread or other spoiled foods; one would recite shehakol. (If one eats his fill of such bread, he would need to bentch, which is a Biblical obligation – see Bi’ur Halacha 204:1 s.v. pas she’ifasha.) This is only if the food is a little distasteful; if it is truly unfit to eat, one would say no bracha on it at all.'

Seemingly, if the food was so spoiled a bracha shouldn't have been made in the first place, it may be a bracha levatala as well.

  • 2
    For the question asked: yes, there is a retroactive bracha levatala. For the example given: no, that's not levatala, since you've already eaten some of the food (and received at least a minuscule amount of hana'ah) Feb 13 '17 at 13:23

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