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This article (Hebrew) outlines two reasons to first say ha'etz on the date. R. Benzion Felman suggested (based on an a similar conundrum in Zevachim 90b) that the only reason to prefer the tomato is because of its status as chaviv (preferred). But the apple is even more chaviv than the tomato. So we proceed to ignore the tomato, as it is 'subsumed' into the ...

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