INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
QUESTION: The Gemara concludes that one who eats a secondary product of a plant (that is, a part of the plant for which the plant is not normally grown) recites the blessing of "sheha'Kol Niheyeh bi'Devaro," rather then "Borei Pri ha'Etz" or "Borei Pri ha'Adamah."
What, then, is the proper blessing for watermelon or pumpkin seeds? Watermelons and pumpkins are presumably planted for their fruit and not for their seeds.
ANSWER: The Poskim (including Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt'l and Rav Benzion Abba Shaul zt'l) rule that one recites "Borei Pri ha'Adamah" on these seeds. They reason that the watermelon and pumpkin seeds sold in the markets today come from melons and pumpkins of unique species which are planted primarily for their seeds and not for its flesh.
Moreover, according to Rashi here, the Gemara itself concludes that only on the parts of a plant that will cause the entire plant to be destroyed if they are removed and eaten do we recite "sheha'Kol." If the plant will not be destroyed when this part is removed (such as is the case with Tzelaf), then one who grows the plant intends to take advantage of all of the edible parts of the plant, and therefore the blessing is "Borei Pri ha'Etz" or "Borei Pri ha'Adamah."
OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that Kafrisin (the shells of the caper fruit) are not subject to the laws of Orlah, because the Kafrisin are not considered a "Shomer" (guard) of the fruit and thus they are not considered a fruit. This implies that the blessing for Kafrisin should be "Borei Pri ha'Adamah." What is the Halachah?
(a) The BEHAG, RIF, and RAMBAM indeed conclude that the proper blessing for Kafrisin is "Borei Pri ha'Adamah," and that Kafrisin are not considered fruit at all.
(b) TOSFOS (DH v'Hilchesa), the ROSH, ARUCH, and other Rishonim rule that we recite "Borei Pri ha'Etz" for Kafrisin. Even though the Gemara concludes that the laws of Orlah do not apply to Kafrisin, this is true only outside of Eretz Yisrael. In Eretz Yisrael, though, Orlah does apply to Kafrisin. Since an object's "fruit" status cannot change according to its location (i.e. whether it is in or out of Eretz Yisrael), we may conclude that Kafrisin are considered fruit. Therefore, the proper blessing for Kafrisin is "Borei Pri ha'Etz."