Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Fishy Issue

Question: What beracha should I say before eating sushi?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 212:1) is clear that one says a beracha on the ikar, primary ingredient, and not on the tafel, secondary ingredient. One would only say one beracha on cheesecake, for example.
There are many different opinions as to how many, and which berachos should be said. Some feel that we treat it as a mixture of two equal items, and say the beracha on the largest ingredient. As there’s usually more rice than fish, etc. one would say mezonos.
Others suggest that the ikar is clearly the raw fish. The rice is somewhat like a thin base of a cheesecake. Although most people say mezonos on rice, it is actually a source of much debate (Mishna Brura 208:25).  Thus, according to this view, one should only recite shehakol.
R’ Moshe Heinmann holds that sushi is not a clear mixture, as the rice and fish are prepared separately and remain distinct. As they are both primary ingredients, one should say both mezonos (before eating some rice) and then shehakol. It isn’t clear if the roll contained mango and cucumber if one would be required to say haetz and ha’adama, too.
While it is certainly ideal to eat sushi within the meal, or to find other things to make the berachos on, those saying either mezonos or shehakol have what to rely on.

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