Food Fight

Daf 37. Summary. Rice and millet are not considered among the species of grain in ordinary circumstances. What blessing is associated with chewing wheat? What blessing is associated with chewing rice?

Rabban Gamliel and others were eating dates. Gamliel asked Akiva to say the blessing and he hurriedly recited the abbreviated Grace (contrary to Gamliel’s practice; in accordance with the majority). Gamliel said, “Akiva, until when will you continue to stick your head into the dispute?” Akiva responded, “You taught us in a dispute between an individual and the many, the halakha follows the many.” Similar disputes between Gamliel and the rabbis are reviewed.

What blessing is associated with porridge? It depends on the recipe; on the primary ingredient.

Are bread crumbs considered bread regardless of their size? Does one say a blessing as if the crumbs are “actual” bread?

Comment. In an age before ingredients were listed on a wrapper, how did one determine the primary ingredient? As I may not taste the porridge before I decide how to bless it, I had best follow Akiva and hurriedly say a vague, abbreviated blessing and hope some latter day Gamliel doesn’t interrupt me. Did Gamliel’s brusque encounter with Akiva precede or follow his showdown with Rabbi Yehoshua in daf 28? One hope it was the former!

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