Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rabbi, is there a blessing for a cheeseburger?

The first source in the gemara deals with making blessings on things that are not acquired properly. The second source deals more directly with the question of cheeseburgers.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת סנהדרין דף ו עמוד ב

רבי אליעזר אומר: הרי שגזל סאה של חטים וטחנה ואפאה והפריש ממנה חלה, כיצד מברך? אין זה מברך אלא מנאץ, ועל זה נאמר: ובוצע ברך נאץ ה'

R. Eliezer says: If one stole a se'ah [a measure] of wheat, ground and baked it and set apart the Hallah, what benediction can he pronounce? This man would not be blessing, but contemning, and of him it is written, The robber [bozea’] who blesseth, contemns the Lord. (Psalms 10:3)

הלכות ברכות לריטב"א פרק ה אות יב

יב. מי שאכל או שתה דברים האסורים מן התורה או מדבריהם אינו מברך לפניהם ולא לאחריהם כלל שאין זה הנאה, ועל המברך נאמר (תהלים י') ובוצע ברך נאץ ה', ואין צריך לומר כשאכלם באיסור אלא אפילו אכלם בהיתר מפני חליו שהיה מסוכן אינו חשוב נהנה ואינו מברך עליו כלל, שכל הנאה שתחילתה באונס וסופה ברצון אינה הנאה'

One who ate or drank something that is forbidden either in the Torah or by the rabbis should not make a blessing after or before it at all, for one does not derive benefit from it. And about the person who does bless it is said, “The robber who blesses expresses contempt for God (Psalm 10:3),” It is not necessary to say that one does not bless only when one eats in that is forbidden (and does so willlingly), rather even when one eats (something that is forbidden) with permission because he is sick or in danger, since it is not considered “benefit,” you don’t need to bless on it at all. For any “benefit” that at the beginning is because of force at the end is out of will is still not considered benefit. (See also Ketubot 51b.)

(What I take this to mean is that if someone has to eat something that is forbidden in order to derive a later benefit from it -- that is, it will have curative affects, even though that cure would be seen as a benefit, it is not considered as such because initially, upon ingestion, one was performing the act because of dire need.)

So, the answer is no.

Is posting a picture of a cheeseburger on a blog deriving benefit from it even if it's purpose is to teach one about the impermissibility of making a bracha on one? Hmmm.....

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