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Q&A from the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline

A Change of Pace

January 19, 2023

Q Should I recite borei nefashos after slowly sipping a beverage?

A  Unlike a bracha rishonah, which must be recited on any quantity of food or drink, a bracha acharonah is only made when a full shiur is consumed—a kezayis of food or a revi’is (three times a kezayis) of drink (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 210:1). The timeframe in which the shiur must be consumed to require a bracha is kedei achilas pras (4-9 minutes) for food; for drinks, it is a matter of dispute between the early poskim. According to some, drinks are like food, but others say a bracha acharonah is only made if the drink is consumed the normal way a drink is drunk—which is fairly quickly, well under a minute. The Mishnah Brurah (ibid. 1) says to follow the first opinion.

The Acharonim debate whether hot coffee and tea follow the same rules. Many argue that more time is allotted for hot drinks, because they are normally sipped slowly. The Mishnah Brurah (ibid.) rules that a bracha acharonah is not recited if one takes longer than kedei achilas pras, but many gedolim of recent generations are reported to have acted otherwise (see list in Piskei Teshuvos ibid.), so either view may be followed. An icy drink cannot be downed quickly either, so it is subject to the same dispute.

Liquids that are frozen to a solid state, like ice cream or ices, have the status of food, and their shiur and timeframe are a kezayis within kedei achilas pras (Aruch Hashulchan 102:9). Some poskim differentiate between ice cream and ices: Ice cream contains eggs and other solids, giving it the thicker consistency of food, but ices, which are water based, even in solid form retain the status of a liquid and have a drink’s shiur and timeframe (Shu”t Betzeil Hachochmah 3:114).

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