ט״ו במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (October 24, 2018)

Menahot 75a-b: Blessings on Meal Offerings

What blessing do you make on croutons?

Rav Yosef rules that ḥavitza that has a full olive’s worth of bread crumbs deserves an ordinary ha-motzi leḥem min ha-aretz. If, however, there is less than a ka-zayit, then the blessing would be borei minei mezonot. He explains that his source for this is a baraita where we learn that if a person is standing in Jerusalem and bringing meal offerings that are broken into pieces he makes the blessing of she-heḥiyanu. Once he eats them, he makes the blessing ha-motzi leḥem min ha-aretz. This is due to the fact that the Mishna teaches that when a meal offering is broken up, the pieces have a ka-zayit.

There are different definitions offered for the term ḥavitza.

Rashi is quoted as saying that it is a cooked dish that included pieces of bread. Tosafot argue that a case where the bread was cooked may have a different status than a meal offering, and the comparison made by Rav Yosef would be incorrect. An alternative suggestion is that the breadcrumbs were placed in the dish after cooking; according to the Arukh it is a dish that is made by first breaking up the bread and then pouring soup over it.

The rishonim also differ about the case brought in the baraita. Why is the she-heḥiyahu blessing recited?

According to Rashi we are talking about the person who is bringing a meal offering for the first time in his life. Tosafot point out that it is difficult to suggest that this refers to the owner of the minḥa, since the baraita talks about him eating it, and the meal offering can only be eaten by a kohen.

An alternative explanation brought by Rashi is that this refers to a kohen who is sacrificing a minḥa for the first time in his life. The Sefat Emet points out that the first sacrifice brought by every kohen is a special minḥat ḥinukh, which is burned on the altar in its entirety and is not eaten.

Tosafot explain that this may refer to a kohen who is bringing a meal offering for the first time this year. Since there were 24 groups of kohanim, each of which consisted of six families, a given kohen served in the Temple only two days a year. Therefore when he brought a korban minḥa for the first time since his previous service, it is considered an occasional mitzva that deserves a she-heḥiyanu blessing.