BLESSINGS THAT DEPEND ON INTENT
Question (R. Yirmeyah): How could R. Yochanan bless after eating a salted olive? Since the pit was removed, it is less than a k'Zayis!
Answer (R. Zeira): One need not eat the volume of a big olive to make a Berachah Acharonah, it suffices to eat the volume of an average olive;
R. Yochanan ate a big olive, without the pit it was the volume of an average olive.
(Mishnah): Whenever Mishnayos refer to k'Zayis, it is not a big or small olive, rather, an average olive, i.e. Aguri.
(R. Avahu): It is not called Aguri -- rather, Avruti (or, some say, Samrusi);
It is called Aguri because the oil is stored inside (it is not absorbed in the fruit).
Suggestion: Tana'im argue about the blessing for Shelakos:
Two Talmidim were in front of Bar Kapara; cabbage, another kind of Shelakos, and meat of a partridge were brought in front of him. He gave permission to the first student to bless; he blessed on the meat; the second sneered at him.
Bar Kapara was angry at Shimon -- "Granted, the first student acted like one who never tasted meat (it was Chaviv, preferable, to him, therefore he blessed on it), but why did you sneer?!"
Later, he changed his mind -- "I am angry at the first student. If no Chacham is here, at least there is an elder here (you should have asked me)!"
(Beraisa): Neither student lived out the year.
Suggestion: The first student held that the blessing for Shelakos is [the same as the blessing for meat,] sheha'Kol, therefore he blessed on the more preferable food; the second student held that the blessing for Shelakos is Borei Pri ha'Adamah, therefore it has precedence over meat, which is sheha'Kol.
Rejection: No, all agree that the blessing for Shelakos is sheha'Kol;
The first student held that one blesses on the Chaviv; Shimon held that one should bless on cabbage, for it nourishes.
(R. Zeira citing Rav Huna): If turnip heads are minced coarsely, the blessing is Borei Pri ha'Adamah; if they are minced finely (this is inferior), the blessing is sheha'Kol.
(Rav Yehudah): The blessing on both of them is Borei Pri ha'Adamah -- they are minced finely to sweeten them.
(Rav Ashi citing Rav Kahana): Little flour is added to a cooked beet dish, the blessing is Borei Pri ha'Adamah; much flour is added to a cooked turnip dish, the blessing is Borei Minei Mezonos.
Retraction (Rav Kahana): The blessing on both of them is Borei Pri ha'Adamah -- much flour is added merely to make it stick together.
(Rav Chisda): A cooked beet dish is good for the heart and eyes, and all the more so for the intestines;
(Abaye): This is only if it is cooked on a stovetop, and it is boiling audibly.
(Rav Papa): Clearly, water in which beets, turnips or any Shelakos were cooked has the same blessing as the beets, turnips or Shelakos;
Question (Rav Papa): What is the blessing on water in which Shivsa (dill, used to give flavor to soup, it is not intended to be eaten) was cooked?
If it is added for taste, the blessing would be Borei Pri ha'Adamah;
Or, perhaps it is to absorb the froth, and the blessing is sheha'Kol?
Answer (Mishnah): Once Sheves gives taste to a cooked dish, Terumah and Tum'as Ochlim no longer apply to it (for no taste remains in it).
This shows that it is to add taste.
WHEN TO BLESS ON BREAD
(R. Chiya bar Ashi): If dry bread was soaked in a bowl, its blessing is ha'Motzi. (Tosfos - if one prefers it, he may bless on it and exempt a whole loaf.)
He argues with R. Chiya.
(R. Chiya): One must finish blessing ha'Motzi at the same time he cuts from the loaf.
The soaked bread is already in pieces (so one should bless on the loaf)!
Objection (Rava): Just as the soaked bread is already in pieces, also the bread is sliced when the blessing is finished!
(Rava): Rather, one must finish ha'Motzi before slicing from the loaf.
People in Neharde'a followed R. Chiya, Rabanan followed Rava.
Ravina: My mother told me that my father followed R. Chiya, but Rabanan follow Rava.
The Halachah follows Rava.
ON WHICH BREAD ONE SHOULD BLESS
(Rav Huna): If one has [large] pieces of bread and [smaller] whole loaves, one may bless on a piece to exempt the loaves;
(R. Yochanan): The ideal Mitzvah is to bless on a whole loaf.
All agree that it the pieces are of wheat and the loaves are of barley, it is better to bless on a piece to exempt the loaves (Tosfos - because wheat is before barley in the verse listing the seven species).
(R. Yirmeyah bar Aba): Tana'im argue like Rav Huna and R. Yochanan:
(Mishnah): One must make a whole, small onion Terumah, rather than a large, half-onion (because it lasts longer, even though the half-onion is larger (Rashi));
R. Yehudah says, he must make the large half-onion Terumah.
Suggestion: R. Yehudah holds that the primary concern is importance, a large half-onion is more important; Chachamim's primary concern is a complete entity.
Rejection: No -- all agree that if a Kohen is around [to accept the Terumah], the primary concern is importance;
They argue when no Kohen is around.
(Mishnah): In a place where there is a Kohen, we take the nicest produce to be Terumah (even if it does not last so long); where there is no Kohen, we take the produce that lasts the longest;
R. Yehudah says, [in either case] we take the nicest produce.
(Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): A G-d-fearing person should fulfill both opinions (with regard to which bread to bless on);
Mar brei d'Ravina would put the piece in (Rashi - under) the loaf and cut (the loaf, or both of them. R. Tam - one can fulfill both opinions by cutting the loaf, even without putting the piece near it).
(A reciter of Beraisos): He puts the piece in the loaf, cuts and blesses.
Rav Nachman: Your teaching enables the Amora'im to conduct themselves the same way.
(Rav Papa): On Pesach (Seder night), all agree that one puts the piece in the loaf, to fulfill "Lechem Ani" (poor man's bread).
(R. Aba): On Shabbos one must recite the blessing on two loaves, to fulfill "Lechem Mishnah."
Rav Ashi: I saw Rav Kahana hold two loaves and cut one.
R. Zeira would cut a large piece to suffice for the entire meal.
Ravina: But that looks like gluttony!
Rav Ashi: Since he does so only on Shabbos, it does not look like guttony.
When R. Ami and R. Asi would eat bread used for an Eruv [Chatzeros], they would bless on it; since it was used for one Mitzvah, it is good to use it for another.