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I am curious regarding the rule of the the bracha "borei pri ha'etz" regarding what the Talmud considers the actual "fruit" that one makes the bracha for.

In comparing apples to pomegranates, here's the question:

The edible fruit is the white fleshy inside. I assume, therefore, if you eat apple seeds, you would say shehakol as the seeds are not considered "edible".

With pomegranates, there is a hard pith, and the seeds, themselves are what people eat. Are the seeds, therefore, considered the "fruit" with regard to the bracha? Many stores sell boxes of just the seeds outside of the pomegranate, itself. Would you say "ha'etz" on just eating these seeds?

If yes, then why wouldn't you say "ha'etz" when eating apple seeds?

Or, is the entire bracha rule based on what it is common for people to eat in your area. I.e. - if people commonly ate apple seeds, you would need to say "ha'etz" also?

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The bracha we make on seeds would follow what is sweet and pleasant to the palate like it says in Mishna Berura (202; 23). He says that if you desire the seed like the fruit you make a ha'etz on it, then he goes on to say that many argue on this and hold being that it's not really part of the fruit, and therefore should only be a ha'adama; and in M"B (202; 25) he rules at the end that this is what we follow. He also points out if one made a ha'etz it is fine after the fact. Then he says that if one ate the seed after eating the fruit according to everyone it doesn't need a new bracha, because it's included in the bracha of the fruit.

It is also stated by the mechaber in Shulchan Aruch (202; 3) that if the seeds are bitter we don't make any bracha and only if they're sweetened through fire or the like do we make a shehakol.

Now that we have all the details lets look back at your question. What we eat of the pomegranate is not seeds, rather arils. I will quote from pomegranates.org:

What part of the pomegranate do I eat? You see those glistening red jewels inside? They’re called arils, and they’re full of delicious, nutritious sweet-tart juice surrounding a small white crunchy seed. You can eat the whole arils including the fiber-rich seeds, or spit out the seeds if you prefer- it’s your choice!

Therefore you are eating the fruit followed by the seed which like the M"B said earlier is included in the bracha of the fruit itself!

Now turning to apple seeds, here is a link that shows that apple seeds are not only bad tasting yet also unhealthy, which would mean no bracha at all is recited if you eat them, unless they are desirable to you (though is could be argued upon based on what the M"B says (in 202;24), which for now we'll put on the side so as not to get distracted).

To sum it all up: Apple seeds aren't good tasting; therefore no bracha is recited on them, unless you enjoy the taste. On the other hand, when it comes to pomegranates, you are eating the actual fruit and the seed just comes automatically with it (unless you spit out the small seed) so you make a bracha ha'etz.

  • Great answer. The ha'adamah position is supported by the Rema on orach chayim 202:18. – SAH Mar 12 '18 at 23:20
  • however he says "produce which grows secondary to a fruit" would get a ha'adama, including presumably arils (amazing identification by the way). He also says that in the event one cannot determine whether a produce is secondary to the fruit, one should make haadama on it. – SAH Mar 12 '18 at 23:22
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Saifer birchas hanenenin of the baal hatanya chapter 6

6.1

... ובלבד שלא יהא מר או עפוץ (כלומר זויע"ר) ביותר עד שאינו ראוי לאכילה אפילו על ידי הדחק שאז אין מברכין עליו כלל ...

only if it is not to bitter ... (Sour) untill it is not edible even when it is tough, (since) then you do not make a brocho on it at all

6.3

(ג) גרעיני הפירות אם הם מתוקים וראוים לאכילה בכלל הפרי הם ושם פרי עליהם ומברכין עליהם בורא פרי העץ ואם הם מרים אינו מברך עליהם כלל ואף אם מיתקן על ידי האור או דבר אחר אינו מברך עליהם אלא שהכל נהיה בדברו:

the pits of fruits if they are sweet and edible they are included in (considered) the fruit and and they are called fruit and the brocho you say on them if pri hoaits, if they are bitter you do not make any brocho on them, even if you make them edible by using fire (cooking them) or though a different thing (cooking them in huney) the only brocho you make on them is shehakol neihiye bidvaro

For better source see the footnotes in the shulchan aruch harav (links below)

202.4

202.8

I think you will be interested in this

Shulchan aruch harav 202.1-2

א על כל פירות האילן בין מז' המינים בין משאר מינים ברכה ראשונה שלהם היא בורא פרי העץ (א) שמפני חשיבותם הוציאום מכלל פירות הארץ אע"פ שגידולם מן הארץ וקבעו להם ברכה מיוחדת פרטית ומבוררת שמבררת ופורטת חשיבותם שהם פרי העץ ולא גדלים באדמה כדי להרבות בכבוד המקום בהזכרת שבחו בפרטות שברא פירות חשובים כפרי העץ:

ב לפיכך כל דבר שגדל על העץ ואינו עיקר הפרי אין בו חשיבות לברך עליו בורא פרי העץ ומברכין עליו בורא פרי האדמה...

202.1

on all the fruits of the tree either of the 7 types or other ones the first brocho on them (before eating them) if bore pri hoaits, becouse of their hashivus (importance), they were taken out (by hazal) from the inclusion (group) of fruits of the ground (that have a brocho borei pri hadomo) even though that they grow from the ground, and they (the hazal) set for them a special specific (for them) brocho and a clarifying one, that it clarifies and specifies there hashivus (importants) that they are fruits of the tree, and do not grow on the ground, to (by doing this the hazal) increase in the honer of hamokom (Hashem) by saying his praise by fruits, that he created hoshuve (important) fruits as the fruits of the tree (that do not from on the ground but above it)

ב לפיכך כל דבר שגדל על העץ ואינו עיקר הפרי אין בו חשיבות לברך עליו בורא פרי העץ ומברכין עליו בורא פרי האדמה...

202.2

so everything that grows on the tree and if not the main friut does not have the hashivus (importants) to make a brocho on it borai pri hoaits and (but) the brocho we say on it is borai pri hoaits...

So from this it seems to me that

Are the seeds, therefore, considered the "fruit" with regard to the bracha?

Yes

Would you say "ha'etz" on just eating these seeds?

Yes

If yes, then why wouldn't you say "ha'etz" when eating apple seeds?

As you can see above we only say hoaits if it is edible the way it is

Or, is the entire bracha rule based on what it is common for people to eat in your area. I.e. - if people commonly ate apple seeds, you would need to say "ha'etz" also?

In my humble opinion No it goes by what is done in the world not only your area

בטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם

I assume, therefore, if you eat apple seeds, you would say shehakol as the seeds are not considered "edible".

As explained above, it is only shehakol if made edible, if not edible you do not say a brocho at all

  • -1 somebody loves me or Chabad – hazoriz Sep 10 '15 at 22:18
  • +1 I love Chabad. Granted that this is one opinion, but, it does address my concerns. Shanah Tovah and enjoy your pomegranate. – DanF Sep 11 '15 at 2:37

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