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Torah Musings

Halachik Q&A: Borei Pri Ha'etz

When eating fruit, the bracha borei pri ha'etz is said. When eating different kinds of fruit, which should one recite the bracha over?

The most important principal is preference: Make the bracha over the fruit that you prefer over the others. 

When one has no preference, and, some of the available from the seven species of Israel: then the fruit from the "seven species" take precedence.

Within the seven species of Israel, what is the order of precedence?  wheat products, barley products, wine, olives, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates. 

Does a fruit that one hasn't eaten in a season and requires a shehcheyanu take precedence over personal preference? No, one should still start with the fruit they prefer. 

If one has no preference and is eating a shehecheyanu fruit as well as fruit of the seven species: The seven special species take precedence. 

Halachik Q&A: Benching Part 1

What should be done if one recited birchas hamazon after a food that requires the borei nefashos? He has not fulfilled his obligation and must recite borei nefashos.

What should be done if one recited birchas hamazon after foods that require the al hamichya? He has fulfilled his obligation and need not recite al hamichya.

What should be done if one recited birchas hamazon over the species that require the al hapeiros? He has not fulfilled his obligation and must recite al hapeiros.

What should be done if one recited al hamichya over foods that require the borei nefashos? He has not fulfilled his obligation and must recite borei nefashos.

What should be done if one who is benching realizes that he hadn't eaten bread? If he has not yet concluded the bracha hazan es hakol, he must transition into al hamichya. If he has concluded that bracha, he must stop and not continue. 

Sermon Summary: Va'era

Hashem caused only some of the frogs to die, but the frogs that jumped into ovens etc, who showed real sacrifice, were pretending to go on living. The lesson is, that when one shows a special devotion to Hashem by acting in an usually devoted way, he will be granted special protection from Hashem.

This is connected to the upcoming special date: Yud Shvat, anniversary of the Rebbes assension to the seat of Rebbe. In a letter addressed to the yeshiva of Montreal the Rebbe emphasized that the focus of a lubavitcher yeshiva is to raise up Jews who are"all in"!

Baal Hatanya is a Beinoni

In today's daily Tanya portion the Alter Rebbe describes three degrees of Beinoni (see full portion at chabad.org/dailystudy). In this regard, Rabbi Chaikin added the following story: 

Once, the Alter Rebbe said, "I am a Beinoni". Hearing this, the chossid Reb Mordechai Leipler asked, "But I am no Rasha...?" So, the Alter Rebbe responds, "There are four hundred levels of Beinoni..."

It seems strange that the Alter Rebbe, who studied and revealed the mistake in Rabba's describing himself as a Beinoni, should make the same mistake. 

A possible approach to this question is: The Alter Rebbe wants to offer beinonim an up-lift. Even the language of Tanya suggests that the Beinoni needs comforting "v'ze yihye nechamaso...".  

Like the Baal Shem Tov's sukkah, which was kosher by only the barest standard - to the degree that a note fell from heaven to confirm that it kosher, since it was so dubiously so. The Baal Shem Tov built his sukkah that way purposely, in order to give an up-lift to all the sukkahs of Jews who couldn't afford to make propper sukkos. 

As well as like our Rebbe, who told a chassid was hesitant to work on shlichus under his father-in-law. The Rebbe said, "I also work for my father-in-law." 

Even when the chassid Reb Yaakov of Yanovhitch approached the Alter Rebbe with the complaint, "I'm a simple man and no-one will offer my three daughters a good shidduch." The Alter Rebbe offered to give him the Mitteler Rebbe as a shidduch and then everyone will want to marry into his daughters.

So we see that the inyan of the Rebbeim was to uplift Jewish people. So, again, maybe the Alter Rebbe describes himslef as a beinoni in order to comfort all those who might look poorly at themselves for "only being a beinoni." To them the Alter Rebbe says, "I am also a Beinoni." 

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