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What is the bracha on maple syrup and why?

Being that the trees are probably planted specifically for the purpose of the syrup, it's not so far off to think it might be ha'eitz. After all, I've heard of some such rule that people say about orange juice or chocolate or something: that it's not she-hakol because the plant was planted primarily for that product. On the other hand, it's certainly not a fruit, as we normally think of it.

So which is it? Is it she-hakol or eitz? Why?

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    Yehuda, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! The automatic quality filter tries to guess which questions are less likely to be worthwhile based on naive algorithms. Very short length is actually a decent danger signal, since it indicates that there may not be enough explanation in the question. In this case, your question would be much more valuable if you'd edit in why you suspect that the bracha might be one way or the other. Please see our About and FAQ. – Isaac Moses Mar 13 '13 at 18:52
  • Note to everyone that maple syrup taffy appears to be quite common in Canada. See google.ca/… – רבות מחשבות Feb 20 '18 at 19:56
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http://www.yeshiva.co/ask/?cat=554

Question: I would think the bracha on Maple syrup would be ha’etz. They are often planted specifically to harvest the syrup; this, then, is their fruit. The liquid state is, of course, irrelevant.

Rabbi Yoel Lieberman answers: It seems to me that maple syrup would not be much different than sugar extracted from sugar cane or molasses extracted from dates, which in both cases the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries say that the Bracha is "shehakol" since it is not considered the fruit itself. ( שולחן ערוך או"ח סי' רב סע' ט"ו)) However, the Taz (based upon the Tur contrary to the Rambam) in his commentary there ( סי' רב) seems to allude to what your'e saying. However he himself does not say to make "borei pri Ha'etz" on sugar, but if one were to make the Bracha on fruit he would be "yotze" for the sugar which is the "fruit" of the sugar cane. However, great poskim have decided that in regard to sugar which is extracted from sugar cane, the prevalent custom is to make a "Shehacol" as the Rambam decided contary to the Tur. (שו"ת משנה הלכות חלק ו סימן לח) I therefore uphold what Rabbi Lewis wrote that the "bracha" for maple syrup is "Shehacol."

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    But one doesn't normally eat syrup plain. Eating it that way would likely be eating in a different way, and therefore qualify as shehakol, no? – Charles Koppelman Mar 13 '13 at 23:48
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Tosefos to Berachos 36b, s.v. ברטיבא, writes that sap gets a העץ based on a verse, יערי עם דבשי (Shir Hashirim ch. 5).

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The Gemara in Avodah Zara 35b says that one of the reasons why Gevinas Akum is assur is because they use "שרף של ערלה", or the sap of a tree that is assur because of orlah, as a rennet. This is noteworthy because Orlah only applies to the fruit of a tree (and the shomer l'pri, see Brachos 36b). It is permitted to use the parts of a tree that are not the fruit, and therefore if the sap of the tree of Assur because of orlah, it must be considered the fruit of the tree. Seemingly, it would have to be referring to a tree whose main product was the sap. This would be a proof that the bracha should be HaEitz. However, it is not clear if we indeed poskin like Tosfos in Brachos who states that all drinks receive a Shehakol, and therefore the Bracha would be Shehakol.

Edit: The Mishna in Orlah (1:7) cites Rebbi Eliezer's shita that the sap is considered the fruit of the tree. Rebbi Yehoshua (who the halacha is like) disagrees. The Tosfos Yom Tov says that Rebbi Yehoshua disagrees only when the tree produces other fruits, but if it does not, then the sap is considered the fruit. See the Tosfos Yom Tov for a discussion if the Rambam holds like this as well.

However, it is possible that if the maple tree produces no solid fruit it would have the status of an "אילן סרק" and the Shulchan Aruch poskins that the fruit of an אילן סרק receives the Bracha of Shehakol.

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According to the Orthodox Union, the bracha is shehakol. Syrup is not a fruit, so I do not know why it would be ha'eitz.

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    The O-U site does not mention Maple Syrup- only generic syrup, which might be mainly sugar. I, too, am wondering about Jake's thinking. – Yehuda Mar 13 '13 at 19:09
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    @Yehuda Yah, syrup is usually corn syrup. So would it then be Ha'adama? – Ariel Mar 13 '13 at 21:23
  • Corn is eaten as corn, on the ear or off, and is recognizable when eaten. In those forms, I would think it would be adamah. Corn syrup is not the usual way con is eaten and does not look like the the usual form of corn as eaten, so is shehakol. <p>Maple trees are eaten only one way: Maple syrup, either as syrup or as candy. I think the syrup is the more common form. That would argue for ha-eitz. – Yehuda Mar 13 '13 at 21:52
  • @Yehuda, I'm pretty sure that at least in the US and Israel, and probably all the other places where people are accessing this site from, it is far more common to eat corn syrup than plain corn. – Daniel Mar 13 '13 at 21:54
  • Corn syrup is added to processed foods. It is not often eaten as such, except as a topping on pancakes, at least in my experience. As a topping it might not take a bracha at all. – Yehuda Mar 13 '13 at 21:56
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An Acharon - I don't remember which - says that anything which is not a "pri", i.e. does not have the shape and form of a fruit - can not be said "borei pri ha'etz" upon, since the actual words of the bracha are not literally true.

  • I think you must be mistaken. How is wine Borei Peri HaGafen? – Double AA Jan 20 '16 at 17:41
  • If you can locate the halachic definition of pri that would help support your as well as some of the other answers in this discussion. – DanF Jan 20 '16 at 22:33

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