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Weekly Question: Laws related to Berachos
The Gerald & Karin Feldhamer OU Kosher Halacha Yomis This Column is dedicated in memory of: Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevi Belsky, zt’l Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant from 1987-2016
According to some opinions, the bracha for sugar is Ha’eitz or Ha’adama. What is the explanation for these views?
The Tur writes that the bracha for sugar from sugarcane is Ha’eitz. The sugarcane is a woody perennial stalk which has the status of a tree. Ordinarily, when juices are extracted from a fruit the bracha changes to Shehakol. Nonetheless, in this case it remains Ha’eitz, since the main intent of growing the cane is for these juices. The Tur holds the bracha is Ha’eitz, not only if one sucks on the sugarcane, but even if one eats granulated sugar.
The Beiur Halacha explains the rationale of the Baal Halachos Gedolos that the bracha on sugar is Ha’adama. Although sugarcane is a tree, it does not produce any actual fruit. Rather, the juices that are extracted are taken from the cane itself. Since there is no actual fruit, the bracha is downgraded to Ha’adama.
As noted the accepted halacha is to follow the opinion of the Rambam and recite Shehakol on sugar.
What bracha does one recite on granulated cane sugar?
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 202:15) follows the opinion of the Rambam that the bracha for sugar is Shehakol. However, the Mishna Berura writes that since there are varying opinions in the Rishonim as to the bracha for cane sugar, bidieved (after the fact), if one recited Ha’eitz (opinion of the Tur) or Ha’odama (opinion of the Baal Halachos Gedolos), one does not repeat the bracha.
The accepted ruling is that on all forms of sugar, whether extracted from a cane or a sugar beet, we recite Shehakol. The Beiur Halacha writes that even if one were to suck on the sugarcane itself, one should recite Shehakol.