Monday, April 28, 2008

Blessing after Coffee

The Tosfos Yom Hakippurim (Yoma 79b) wonders as to the necessity of reciting a blessing after one drinks coffee. Perhaps it should not require a blessing at all since a person does not drink a revi’is at once; rather, he drinks a little at a time, and it emerges that he does not drink a revi’is within the amount of time it takes to eat a peras (half a loaf of bread). Or, perhaps one might counter and say that this principle should only apply to other liquids, where one has the ability to drink it at once, but he chooses not to. However, coffee, which one cannot drink at one time, and on the contrary, it is natural to take short sips with long intervals in between, perhaps the entire drinking will combine to the required amount for the blessing to be recited.

He resolves this question from our Gemora (Daf Yomi: Nazir 36b) which states that if one eats the Babylonian kutach (a dip that has a minimal amount of chametz in it) in a “dip-like” fashion, he will not be liable for eating chametz on Pesach. This is because he did not eat it a k’zayis within the amount of time it takes to eat a peras. Now, it is not normal to eat a dip at once, and nevertheless, one is not liable for eating the dip in its normal fashion. This would prove that one should not recite a blessing after drinking a cup of coffee.

The Minchas Chinuch rejects the proof: One would not be liable because of the kutach. It is because of the chametz that is mixed into it. Chametz by itself is normal to eat a k’zayis within the amount of time it takes to eat a peras. Therefore, he is not liable on the dip when he eats it in a normal manner. However, with respect to coffee, it is usual to drink the coffee slowly, and therefore, one would be obligated to recite a blessing afterwards.