The Laws of Precedence/Kadima by blessings
Amongst the laws of blessings on foods are included laws regarding precedence. The laws of precedence apply when one has two different foods in front of him and he plans to eat from both foods. These laws dictate which food should be blessed on, and eaten, first. Within the laws of precedence of Brochos we find different aspects in a food which raise their level of importance and hence have their blessing precede another. Regarding a case of עיקר וטפל [two foods which are eaten together] the above rules are changed, as will be explained.
The following are the aspects of importance:
1. A more dignified Bracha.
2. A more dignified species.
3. Chaviv/חביב: A more desirable food.
4. Shaleim/שלם: A food which is whole.
The general rules:
One currently desires to eat both foods and both foods are currently in front of him:
The laws of precedence only apply when one has two different foods in front of him and he plans to eat from both foods. If one only wants to eat one of the foods that are present, or one wants to eat both foods but only one of the foods are currently in front of him, then the laws of precedence do not apply. In such a case, one may eat the food which he desires to now eat, or eat the food which is currently in front of him, even if the other food contains aspects of precedence.
Maga Eish-Order of blessings:
One of the primary aspects which give a food precedence over another food is its level of blessing. There are different levels of blessings with each one receiving a specific position in its order of importance. The following is the order of blessings in terms of their importance and prestige. This order is customarily formed into the acronym of Maga Eish [מג”ע א”ש] which stands for the order of the blessing. Nonetheless, although the level of blessing is certainly a vital aspect of importance, it is not always the final verdict in whether the food should be preceded, and in certain mixtures other aspects of importance either override the level of blessing or neutralize it, as will be explained.
The blessing of Hamotzi overrides any other blessing in all cases, even if the food of the lower level blessing has other advantageous aspects. The blessing of Shehakol is always overridden by other blessings even if the Shehakol food has other advantageous aspects. The blessings of Mezonos/Hagafen/Haeitz/Haadama at times override lower level blessings and at times are overridden by lower level blessings, if the lower level blessing has some advantage over it, as will be explained.
Chaviv- A more desirable food.
The second aspect which gives a food precedence over another food is its level of desire. If one of the two foods currently in front of him is more desirable than the other food, then it receives the advantageous aspect called Chaviv. The aspect of Chaviv at times overrides a higher-level blessing or other advantageous aspect it may contain; at times neutralizes the advantage of a higher-level blessing, or other advantage the food may contain; and at times is overridden by a higher-level blessing. The general rule is as follows: The blessing of Hamotzi always overrides the foods of other blessings, even if the other food is more desirable. The blessing of Shehakol is always overridden by other blessings even if the Shehakol food is more desirable. The blessings of Mezonos/Hagafen/Haeitz/Haadama at times override more desirable lower blessings and at times are overridden by more desirable lower level blessings, and at times are neutralized by more desirable lower blessings.
The cases that Chaviv overrides other aspects: In the following cases the more desirable food overrides the other aspects of advantage found in the second food and gives that food precedence for the Bracha:
- Mezonos of ז’ מין with regular Mezonos.
- Two foods of Mezonos of ז’ מינים, but one precedes the other in the pasuk,
- A העץ with האדמה.
- If the foods are of the same blessing and they are both Shaleim or both not Shaleim.
The cases that Chaviv neutralizes other aspects: In the following cases Chaviv does not override but equalizes other advantageous aspects found in other foods:
- Fruits of Zayin Minim with non-Zayin Minim.
Definition of Chaviv: The definition of a more desirable food is either a food that the person currently has more desire for, or a food that the person usually has more desire for over the other foods even if currently he does not desire it more. In a mixture in which the more desirable food is given precedence and one has in front of him two foods, one which is currently more desirable and one which is usually more desirable, he may precede whichever food he chooses.
Shaleim-A whole food:
The third aspect which gives a food precedence over another food is its level of wholeness. If one of the two foods currently in front of him is whole and complete while the other food is a broken part of the original food, then it receives the advantageous aspect called Shaleim. The aspect of Shaleim never overrides a higher-level blessing although it does override the advantage of Chaviv. Thus in summary, the aspect of Shaleim is only advantageous in mixtures which contain the same blessing and the same level of importance [i.e. mixture does not have in it ז’ מינים] .
The blessings and their laws of precedence
The blessing of Hamotzi over bread precedes every food of another blessing even if the other food contains all the other advantageous aspects [i.e. Chaviv; Shaleim].
Wheat or spelt versus another bracha: Mezonos of wheat receives precedence over any other brocha even if the other food is more desirable or whole, with exception to the blessing of Hamotzi, as explained above. [Seemingly, the same applies to spelt.]
Barley, oats or rye versus another bracha: Mezonos of barley, oats, or rye receive precedence over any other brocha even if the other food is more desirable or whole with exception of when these forms of Mezonos are together with olives. If they are together with olives, and both foods are equally desirable, then the olives receive precedence. If, however, the Mezonos is more desirable [Chaviv], then the Mezonos receives precedence.
Mixtures of different types of Mezonos: When one has various Mezonos grain products in front of him, the laws of precedence dictate which Mezonos food is to be blessed on and fulfill the obligation of the blessing on behalf of all the other Mezonos foods that are present. Precedence in this matter is determined by either Chaviv or the importance of the grain. The following are its laws: If one has in front of him two Mezonos foods from the ז’ מינים that are of different grains [i.e. wheat Mezonos with barley Mezonos] then if they are both equally desirable, then the Mezonos of wheat precedes the Mezonos of barley. If, however, the Mezonos of barley is more desirable than the Mezonos of wheat, then the Mezonos of barley receives precedence. [If one has Mezonos of wheat or barley together [ז’ מינים] with Mezonos of spelt, rye or oats, then if the foods are equally desirable, one precedes the Mezonos of wheat or barley to the other Mezonos foods. If, however, the spelt, rye or oats is more desirable, then seemingly one can precede whichever food he desires. By Mezonos mixtures of other grains [spelt Mezonos, rye Mezonos and oats Mezonos] one precedes whichever Mezonos food is more desirable. If all the Mezonos foods are equally desirable then spelt precedes rye and oats, and rye precedes oats.
Thus when all the types of grain are equally desirable the order of precedence is:
Mezonos foods that can become Hamotzi-Baked Mezonos versus cooked Mezonos: Most Mezonos products that are baked can potentially become Hamotzi if one sets a meal over the food, depending on the amount of the food that one eats, and if he is satiated from it. Cooked Mezonos foods however can never become Hamotzi even if one sets a meal on them and is satiated from the food. The baked Mezonos foods which can become Hamotzi receive precedence over the cooked Mezonos foods that can never become Hamotzi. This applies even if the cooked Mezonos food is made of a higher quality grain and is more desirable than the baked Mezonos. Thus, if one has a sugarless oat cookie on the table together with delicious cooked wheat spaghetti, and he desires to eat both foods, then the cookie receives precedence even if he currently desires more the spaghetti.
Hagafen versus Haeitz/Haadamah/Shehakol: The blessing of Hagafen over wine or grape juice receives precedence over all lower level blessings, such as Haeitz, Haadama and Shehakol. This applies even if the lower level blessing food is more desirable than the wine.
Hagafen versus Mezonos: If one has wine or grape juice and Mezonos products in front of him, then if the Mezonos is made of wheat or barley it precedes the blessing of Hagafen in all circumstances, even if the Hagafen is more desirable. [However, if the Mezonos is of spelt, rye, or oats, then the Hagafen receives precedence.]
Hagafen versus Hamotzi: The blessing of Hamotzi on breads of any of the five grains precedes the blessing of Hagafen in all circumstances [except when making Kiddush on Shabbos].
Haeitz of seven Minim/ז’ מינים:
The fruits of the seven Minim: The fruits of the seven Minim include: Olives; Dates; Grapes; Figs; Pomegranate.
Seven Minim Versus Shehakol: The blessing on a seven Minim fruit receives precedence over the blessing of Shehakol under all circumstances.
Seven Minim Versus Hadamah: If one has a seven Minim fruit and a Hadamah food in front of him then one gives precedence to whichever food is more desirable, [perhaps even if the other food is Shaleim]. If both foods are equally desirable, then from the letter of the law there is no halachic preference. Nevertheless, it is preferable to precede the blessing of Haeitz in such a case.
Seven Minim versus Haeitz of non-7 Minim: If one has fruits from the seven Minim and from the non-seven Minim in front of him, then if both fruits are equally desirable, the fruit of the seven Minim receive precedence. This applies even if the other fruits are whole. If however the non-seven Minim fruit is more desirable, then there is no law of precedence, and one may hence precede whichever fruit he desires.
Mixtures of the 7 Minim: If one has various fruits of the seven Minim in front of him then if all the fruits are equally desirable, precedence is given to whichever fruit is listed first in the Pasuk near the word Aretz. [Practically, the order is: 1) olives; 2) dates; 3) grapes; 4) figs; 5) pomegranate.] If a fruit of a lower level is more desirable than the fruit of the higher level, then there is no law of precedence, and one may hence precede whichever fruit he desires.
Seven Minim versus Mezonos: If one has fruits of the seven Minim together with Mezonos foods in front of him, then if the Mezonos is made of wheat [or spelt], precedence is always given to the Mezonos. This applies even if the fruit is more desirable. If the Mezonos is made of barley/oats/rye then it precedes all fruits of the seven Minim, even if the fruit is more desirable, with exception to olives. If the olives and barley/oats/rye Mezonos foods are equally desirable, then the olives receive precedence. If however the barley/oats/rye Mezonos food is more desirable [Chaviv] then the Mezonos receives precedence.
Seven Minim versus Hadama barley/wheat: If one has fruits of the seven Minim together with a barley/wheat dish that is Ha’adama then precedence is always given to the fruit unless the barley/wheat is more desirable.
העץ: Has precedence over שהכל under all circumstances. If it’s together with a האדמה food, one gives precedence to the more desirable. If both are equally desirable, then there is no strict halachic precedence, although it is preferable to precede the brocha of העץ. ((סידור הל’ ז’ When ז’ מינים are mixed with non-ז’ מינים fruits, if non ז’ מינים is more desirable, then there is no precedence. If both are equally desirable, then ז’ מינים comes first even if the other fruits are whole. ((סידור הל’ ח’ When the mixture of fruits are all not from ז’ מינים, precedence should be given to the fruit that is whole. If none are whole, or all are whole, then precedence should be given to the more desirable fruit. ((סידור הל’ ו’
האדמה– Always comes before the brocha of שהכל. ((סידור הל’ ז’ When the mixture is of only vegetables, precedence should be given to the vegetable that is whole. If none are whole, or all are whole, then precedence should be given to the more desirable fruit. ((סידור הל’ ו [For mixtures with העץ, and ז מינים see above.]
שהכל– Doesn’t have precedence to any other brocha even if it is more beloved. ((סידור הל’ ז’
עיקר וטפל– Saying the blessing of the Tafel before the Ikkur:
Introduction: In a case that one has two foods or a food and drink with different blessings, which are being eaten in a way that one food/drink is secondary to the other, the laws of precedence change. Halachically, in all circumstances one is allowed to make a brocha on the main food and exempt through it the secondary food. The reason for this is because the secondary food is viewed as if he does not want to eat it now, being he is only eating it because of eating the main food. In many cases this is even obligatory, however there are certain instances in which it is better to first say the blessing of the secondary food in order to say the proper blessing for the secondary food, and consequently increase the amount blessings said.
The following is the rule: Whenever the main food is not more desirable then the secondary food, even if the main food has a more important blessing, (i.e. main food of האדמה or העץ with a secondary food of (שהכל it is better to have the secondary food precede. [See analysis 5 regarding if the main food is מזונות.] Certainly this would also be the case if the secondary food is more desirable, or is equally desirable but has a more important blessing. (ie. whiskey which is שהכל with a מזונות or העץ or האדמה) If the main food is more desirable then even if the secondary food has a more important blessing one must exempt it with the brocha on the main food. The definition of a more desirable food is the same as above. If the secondary food is only more desirable when eaten together with the main food, but when eaten separately is less desirable, there is a difference of opinion on whether the secondary food is allowed to precede. The halacha is like the opinion that the main food precedes although on shabbas and yom tov one may rely on the dissenting opinion in order to fulfill his obligation of 100 blessings. (עיין סידור פרק ג הל’ יד-טו, ושו”ע אדמו”ר ס’ ריב ח-ט , בדי השלחן נד/ז)
 Siddur 10; Admur 211
 Seder10:2 and 16
 Seder 10:15
 Siddur 10:14
 Siddur 10:10
 Siddur 10:10-12
 The reason: As olives are closer in the verse to the word “Aretz/land” then is barley and the other forms of Mezonos that fall under barley.
 Seder 10:4-5 regarding Hamotzi; Ketzos Hashulchan 54 footnote 6
 See Admur Seder 10:5 and 8; Footnote 31 in Rav Elyashvili’s notes
 Ketzos Hashulchan 54 footnote 6
 Siddur 10:13-14
 Implication of Admur ibid; Peri Megadim A”A 211:7-8 on M”A 211:7; Birchas Habayis 13:9
Implication of Admur: So is implied from Admur 10:13-14 which only mentions barley and wheat by Mezonos that has precedence over wine, and so is also implied from the next Halacha in which Admur emphasizes that Hamoitzi of all 5 grains has precedence to wine. Now, if it was already established in the previous Halacha that even Mezonos of the 5 grains has precedence to wine, then certainly Hamotzi would have precedence to wine and thus what would be the novelty of this ruling. Hence, one must conclude that wine has precedence to all grains which are not mentioned explicitly in the verse, which include spelt, rye and oats.
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the Mezonos of all 5 grains have precedence to wine. [Rama 211:4, as explained in Mishneh Berurah 211:?]
 Seder 10:7
 If one is Chaviv and one is Shalaim-which comes first? See Piskeiy Teshuvos 211 footnote 68 that Derech Hachaim says Shaleim comes first and so implies Perus Sefer in p. 218; However, he writes the M”B is in question regarding this. Admur does not mention it here but does in previous Halacha. Vetzaruch Iyun!
 Seder 10:8
 Seder 10:9
 Ketzos Hashulchan 44:7
 Seder 10:10
 The reason: As olives are closer in the evrse to the word “Aretz:land” then is barley and the other forms of Mezonos that fall under barley.
 Seder 10:11
 Seder 10:11