Rice and rice products
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What is the Bracha on Rice?
- Gemara Brachot 37a records the opinion of Rav and Shmuel who held that Orez wasn't one of the grains and shouldn't be Mezonot. However, the gemara brings a Baraita and rejects the opinion of Rav and Shmuel. The opinion of the Rabbis as recorded in the Baraita on 37a is that Orez is Mezonot with a Bracha Achrona of Al HaMichya. Then, the gemara challenges this Baraita with another one which says that there is no Bracha Achrona. On 37b the gemara concludes that the opinion of the Rabbis is Mezonot with Bracha Achrona of Boreh Nefashot.
- Rashi (37a s.v. VeLo Klum) explains that the Gemara means that there’s no Bracha Mein Shalosh which is for Shivat HaMinim but rather there still is Boreh Nefashot. This is agreed upon by many Rishonim including the Rif (Brachot 26a), Rosh (Brachot 6:8) and Rambam (Brachot 3:10). The Tur and S”A 208:7 codify this as halacha that the Bracha on Orez is Mezonot and the Bracha Achrona is Boreh Nefashot.
- [Why is rice Boreh Nefashot? The Rosh (Brachot 6:8) explains that the reason rice is Mezonot is because it provides sustenance like a grain but is Boreh Nefashot because it’s not one of the Shivat HaMinim. Interestingly, the Mishna Brurah 208:29 writes that rice is Boreh Nefashot because only the five grains receive Al HaMichya because of their significance. ]
- What is orez? Rashi (Brachot 37a s.v. orez) defines orez as millet and Tosfot s.v. Orez defines Orez as rice. Bet Yosef 208:7 rules like Tosfot's definition of Orez. The Mishna Brurah 208:25 writes that because of the dispute some say (Taz) that one should only eat it in a meal or make Shehakol. However, he concludes that many achronim (Lechem Chamudot, Birkei Yosef, Mateh Yehuda, Maaseh Rav of the Gra #71) agree with Tosfot. Moreover, in Shaar HaTziyun 208:31 he adds that there’s several other reasons why there’s what to rely on to make mezonot on rice. This is also the opinion of Laws of Brachos (Rabbi Forst, pg 359-384) and the Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 517).
- Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady (Seder Birkas Hanehnin 1:10-11) rules that the bracha on rice, when eaten alone is Shehakol. He writes, however, that one that is G-d fearing should only eat rice within a meal.
When is rice Mezonot?
- Raw or roasted rice is HaAdama. 
- Rice which is crushed and cooked is mezonot. However, rice which is whole is subject to some dispute but nonetheless, the major poskim all rule that the Bracha is Mezonot. 
- Products made from milled rice or rice flour is also mezonot and Boreh Nefashot. 
- After the fact if one made HaAdama one has fulfilled one’s obligation. 
- Bread that doesn't have any of the 5 grains in it and the majority of its ingredients is rice, is Mezonot, however, if rice isn't the majority, the bracha follows the majority. 
- Rice cakes are made by steaming rice kernels until they pop. However, this is not considered cooking and therefore Rice cakes according to many are Ha’adoma. However, because the kernels of rice stick together, some consider Rice cakes to be Mezonot. In conclusion, one should make HaAdama which will satisfy both opinions.
- Gemara Brachot 37a writes that raw rice is HaAdama. This is brought as halacha by the Rif (Brachot 25a) and Rosh (Brachot 6:8). The Tur and S”A 208:7 codify this as halacha. Vezot HaBracha (pg 106, chapter 12) adds that the same is true of roasted rice.
- *When is rice Mezonot? Gemara Brachot 37a writes that raw rice is HaAdama however, if it’s crushed into flour, baked into bread, and then cooked, whether or not the pieces of the bread dissolve in the water the Bracha is Mezonot (according to the explanation of Rashi). The Rosh (Brachot 6:8) rules that for both a cooked dish and bread (baked dish) made from rice the Bracha is Mezonot and Boreh Nefashot. The Rambam (Brachot 3:10), Tur and S”A 208:7 agree. [The Bet Yosef 208:7 explains that the proof of the Rosh is from the fact that when the pieces of bread are intact then it’s the equivalent of rice bread which wasn’t cooked and when the pieces of bread are dissolved, then it’s the equivalent (more precisely, it’s no worse than) of cooked dish made from rice.]
- When is rice considered cooked? The Rosh (Brachot 6:8) implies that only crushed rice is mezonot, however, if it was cooked whole then it would be HaAdama. (This is the understanding of the Bet Yosef 208:7.) Even though the Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 26a s.v. VeHaPat) states that rice is unique that even if it’s cooked whole the Bracha is Mezonot (because it’s normally eaten that way), nonetheless, the Bet Yosef 208:7 explains that the Rabbenu Yonah only meant that rice is mezonot if it’s crushed even when it’s not pulverized (see there). Therefore, the Rama 208:7 rules that rice isn’t mezonot unless it’s crushed and cooked.
- The Beiur Halacha 208:7 s.v. Ad Shenitmaech writes that many achronim argue whether or not rice cooked whole is mezonot and concludes that he would side with the Bet Yosef and Rama and wouldn’t make mezonot on rice cooked whole, however, one would makes mezonot has what to rely on. The Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 518) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman who says that if whole cooked rice sticks together it’s Mezonot and if it doesn’t stick together some have the minhag to make HaAdama and some Mezonot. Furthermore Mishna Brurah 208:26 quotesthe Pri Megadim who says that if the outer shell of the rice is removed before cooking (as is common) perhaps the Bracha is mezonot. Therefore, the Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 518) and Vezot HaBracha (chap 12, pg 106 and Birur Halacha 18:3, pg 254) rule that cooked rice is mezonot even if the rice is whole kernels.
- S”A 208:7, Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 518), see previous footnote
- Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 519)
- Shulchan Aruch 208:7
- The Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 4, pg 518) writes that brown rice is processed in the same way as white rice (except that white rice is rubbed more) and he quotes Rav Elyashiv who agreed that they are both Mezonot. Similarly, Vezot HaBracha (chap 12, pg 106 and Birur Halacha 18:4) writes that what we commonly view today as whole grain brown rice is actually what the Mishna Brurah called regular (white) rice and so it would certainly be mezonot. He also quotes Rav Moshe Shternbach who agreed that the Bracha is Mezonot.
- Vezot HaBracha (chap 12, pg 106 and Birur Halacha 18:5(1)) rules that Rice Crispies which are first cooked and then puffed up by heating are mezonot because they are considered cooked rice; he quotes Rav Sheinburg who agrees. Halachos of Brochos (Rabbi Bodner, addendum 5, pg 526) and Chacham Ovadia Yosef agree. See also Sh”t Igrot Moshe E”H 114.
- Vezot HaBracha (pg 106, chapter 12) in name of Rav Shlomo Zalman and Rav Pinchas Sheinburg, Or Letzion 2:14:21 and Chacham Ovadia Yosef rule similarly.
- Vezot HaBracha (pg 106, chapter 12) and Veten Bracha (Halachos of Brochos by Rabbi Bodner pg 520, Addendum 4) in name of Rav Elayshiv write that since the rice kernels stick together the Bracha is Mezonot. However, Brachat HaNehenin (pg 191) writes that Rav Elyashiv didn’t finalize this ruling. Haarot of Rav Elyashiv on Brachot 37a s.v. perichot orez quotes Rav Elyashiv that rice cakes are mezonot. Rav Hershel Schachter holds that rice cakes are mezonot even though he considers granola haadama.
- Vezot HaBracha (pg 106, chapter 12) in name of Rav Moshe Shternbach and Veten Bracha (Halachos of Brochos by Rabbi Bodner pg 520, Addendum 4) write that in conclusion one should make a HaAdama. Rabbi Leff http://www.rabbileff.net/shiurim/answers/1250-1499/1338.mp3 agrees.
- Rice brittle is made from rice which was puffed up by heat and not cooked properly, Therefore, Vezot HaBracha (Birur Halacha 18:5(2), pg 256) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman, Rav Sheinburg, and Rav Shternbach writes that rice brittle is considered raw rice which is HaAdama. Rav Ovadyah Yosef in Chazon Ovadyah (Brachot pg 184) concurs.