ShehakolThis is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Shehakol is a Bracha Rishona to be made before eating certain foods. In general, Shehakol is made on foods which do not grow from the ground. For the text, see the Text of Brachot page. The laws of Shehakol follow:
- The Bracha on meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese is Shehakol since these don't grow from the ground. 
- The Bracha for most candies is Shehakol because of the sugar unless there is a majority ingredient of a fruit or nut. 
- According to most poskim, one should recite the beracha of shehakol before chewing gum. 
- The Bracha Shehakol is recited over mushrooms. 
- The common practice is to recite Shehakol on solid chocolate. If, however, one recited HaEitz or HaAdama, he need not recite another Bracha. 
- Some Poskim hold that one should recite HaEitz on chocolate covered fruit, while others maintain that the correct Bracha is Shehakol.  Still others hold that two Brachot must be recited: Shehakol for the chocolate and HaEitz for the fruit.Finally, others say that one should make the Bracha on the majority.  If, however, one ingredient is clearly preferred it is considered Ikar and the appropriate Bracha should be recited upon it.
- The correct Bracha for chocolate milk or hot cocoa is Shehakol. 
- The bracha on roasted coffee beans and cocoa powder is Shehakol. 
- The Bracha on coffee and tea is Shehakol.  Read the whole story about the bracha on coffee and tea here.
- The Bracha on fruit juices are Shehakol. 
- The Beracha on soda is Shehakol. 
- The Bracha on beer is Shehakol. 
When should one make a bracha on water?
- One only makes a Shehakol before drinking water and Boreh Nefashot after drinking if one drinks to quench one's thirst or assist digestion. 
- However if one drinks water for any other reason such as
- If one drinks any other beverage which provides taste or nutrition one makes a bracha whether or not one is thirsty. 
- If one drinks water in order to swallow a pill and to quench one's thirst, one must make a bracha. 
- If one gets a slight benefit from the water then it's considered like one drank to quench one's thirst. 
Bracha on Medications
- Cough drops that taste awful don't have a bracha even if they are sweet since you wouldn’t eat it unless you were sick. But if it tastes good so that even a healthy person would have it to enjoy it then a shehakol is required.
If one doesn't know the bracha of a food
- If one doesn't know the bracha of a food, then one should say Shehakol, and after the fact it fulfills one's obligation of the bracha.  However, this only applies if one has learned the halachot of Brachot, however, if one hasn't one should ask a Rabbi what the proper bracha is (either call your local Rabbi or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Additionally, if it is a food which can be exempted in the meal, it's preferable to have it in a meal, rather than just make a bracha of Shehakol. 
- Gemara Brachot 40b, Shulchan Aruch 204:1
- Shulchan Aruch 202:15 rules that sugar is Shehakol. Therefore, Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, chap 25, pg 455) writes that on candy the bracha is Shehakol unless there is a majority ingredient of a fruit or nut.
- Rabbi Ari Enkin on torahmusings.com
- BI"H (Ben Ish Hai) Mattoh, halacha 6 (page 179)
- The Gemara (Brachot 38a) concludes that the correct Bracha on “Trima” is HaEitz. There appears to be a dispute amongst the Rishonim as to the identity of Trima. Rambam (Hilchot Brachot 8:4) writes that if one takes dates and mashes them into a paste, they remain HaEitz. Seemingly, Rambam understands that even if a fruit is entirely crushed, it retains its original Bracha (see, though Aruch HaShulchan 202:27-29).
- Rashi (38a s.v. Trima Mahu), though, writes that Trima refers to a fruit that has been somewhat crushed up. The Trumat HaDeshen (29) understands that Rashi holds that if a fruit is completely crushed up, its Bracha becomes Shehakol. This reading leads the Trumat HaDeshen to point out a contradiction in Rashi. Elsewhere (Yoma 81b s.v. Himlata), Rashi implies that if one completely pulverizes ginger, it does not lose its Bracha of HaAdama. The Trumat HaDeshen resolves this contradiction by suggesting that if a fruit normally is completely crushed, then it does not thereby lose its original Bracha, whereas if it is not normally crushed, it becomes Shehakol. Although the Taz (202:4) disputes this reading of Rashi and maintains that Rashi really holds like the Rambam, most authorities defend the Trumat HaDeshen’s interpretation (see Bei’ur Halacha 202:7 s.v. Temarim).
- S”A (O.C. 202:7) cites the Rambam’s view as authoritative, while the Rama writes that one should be concerned for the Trumat HaDeshen’s understanding of Rashi and recite Shehakol on a pulverized fruit if it is not normal to pulverize it. According to this analysis, chocolate should be HaEitz according to all opinions, because it is perfectly normal to pulverize a cocoa bean and turn it into a candy bar. Nonetheless, common practice is to recite Shehakol. Although Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo 1:91) remains flummoxed as to why this practice developed and maintains that chocolate essentially is HaEitz, other Poskim (see Sheivet HaLevi 7:27 and Teshuvot VeHanhagot 1:187) defend the practice. Since, though, there is firm basis to recite HaEitz on chocolate, one who did so ex post facto fulfills his obligation (VeZot HaBracha p. 103). For the same reason, one who recited HaAdama fulfills his obligation, since HaAdama covers anything that should properly require HaEitz (see Brachot 40a and S”A O.C. 206:1).
- The Laws of B’rachos (pg. 215 note 26) understands that Mishnah Brura (204:51) would consider the fruit to be the Ikar. Rav Hershel Schachter (oral communication; Halachipedia Article 5773 #8), however, explained that since the chocolate companies produce the chocolate covered fruits, it is clear that the chocolate is the Ikar, so the Bracha would be Shehakol. Be’er Moshe 1:7 agrees.
- Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O.C. 3:31) assumes that chocolate is Shehakol and maintains that both parts are significant and thus require separate Brachot. The Laws of B’rachos (pg. 215 note 29), though, cites Mekor HaBracha (22), who argues that since chocolate essentially should be HaEitz, whether or not the fruit is ikar, the bracha is HaEitz. Rav Shlomo Zalman (cited in Halachos of Brochos p. 417 n. 61), though, explains that because the common practice has emerged to recite Shehakol on chocolate, one should disregard the fact that its bracha essentially is HaEitz.
- Halachos of Brochos p. 417 quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
- Halachos of Brochos pg. 417 based on Mishna Brurah 212:1
- Halachos of Brachos Handbook (p. 28-9). Tosfot (Brachot 38a s.v. VeHa) write that even though the five grains normally are considered Ikar, the correct Bracha on beer is Shehakol. The Gr”a (comments to S”A 202:4) understands this to mean that all drinks other than wine and oil automatically are considered Shehakol regardless of other factors. As such, even if chocolate were in fact HaEitz, the correct Bracha on a chocolate-based drink would be Shehakol. Although Chazon Ish (O.C. 33:5) appears not to accept the Gr”a’s understanding, common practice seems to accord with the Gr”a. Shaarei Teshuva 202:19 quotes a dispute regarding the Bracha on coffee and tea and then adds that the Divrei Yosef writes that a chocolate based drink is Shehakol.
- Rava in Gemara Brachot 36b says that dry peppercorn and dry ginger don’t require a bracha, whereas moist peppercorn and moist ginger have a bracha. The Rif (Brachot 25b) and Rambam (Brachot 8:7) rule that moist ginger and peppercorn is HaAdama and dry ones don’t have any bracha because they are spices and not food. Tosfot (Brachot 36b s.v. BeRetivah) agrees that the bracha for the moist spices are HaAdama but they’re reason is that its not commonly eaten while dry.
- The Rosh (Brachot 6:6), however, distinguishes between moist ginger, which requires a HaAdama, and moist peppercorn, which requires HaEtz. He supports his contention from the Gemara that says peppercorn trees are obligated in Orlah, a law specific to trees. Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 25b s.v. Pilpili) and Tur 202:18 agree.
- The Bet Yosef 202:18 quotes the Chiddushei HaRashba and Raavad as agreeing with the Rosh, and Rav Hai Goan agreeing with the Rif. Shaar HaTziyun 202:89 quotes the Raah and Gra as ruling like the Rosh in opposition to the Eshkol, Smag, and Bahag as holding like the Rif.
- The Rashba (responsa 1:400) defends the Rif who says that moist peppercorn is HaAdama because the peppercorn is primarily planted in order to be eaten as a spice with other foods. He says that it really should have been Shehakol (like Koreh) if not for the fact that it is also sometimes eaten while moist and so its HaAdama instead of HaEtz. Magen Avraham 202:35 and Mishna Brurah 202:82 quotes this explanation.
- Darkei Moshe 202:2 explains that the halacha should be to make HaAdama because after the fact if one made a HaAdama on a fruit one fulfilled one’s obligation. S”A 202:18 agrees. Bach 202:10 writes that such as is the minhag.
- Sh”t Shelat Yaavetz 2:142 writes that the bracha on roasted cocoa beans is HaAdama because its not planted primarily to be eaten that way. Machzik Bracha 204:3 quotes this. Birkat Hashem (vol 3, p. 41) explains that the Yaavetz compared cocoa beans to moist peppercorn, which is lowered from its status of HaEtz to HaAdama because its not planted primarily for that purpose. However, Birkat Hashem concludes that the bracha for cocoa powder or roasted coffee beans is Shehakol since nowadays no one eats them that way.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 53:3 and Vezot HaBracha (pg 396-7) write that the bracha for coffee and tea is Shehakol. See the whole explanation here.
- Shulchan Aruch 202:8
- Halachos of Brachos (Rabbi Bodner, chap 24, pg 451) writes that soda or other flavored beverages are different than water which only requires a bracha is one is thirsty rather in all cases these flavored beverages are Shehakol.
- Shulchan Aruch 204:1
- Shulchan Aruch 204:7 writes only if one drinks water for one's thirst does one make a bracha. The source is found in Gemara Brachot 44a and Rambam (Brachot 8:1). Beiur Halacha 204:7 s.v. HaShoteh writes that drinking water in order to assist digestion is equivalent to drinking for thirst. The Bracha Achrona on water also depends on whether one is thirsty or not as rules the Shulchan Aruch 204:7 (see Sh"t Shevet HaLevi 9:42 who writes that the Ashel Avraham who writes that one always makes a Bracha Achrona is error.)
- Mishna Brurah 204:40 and Beiur Halacha 204:7 s.v. HaShoteh
- Sdei Chemed vol 5 pg 260 (quoted by The laws of Brachot by Rabbi Binyamin Forst pg 135); BI"H, Matot, 12
- Shulchan Aruch 204:7 and Mishna Brurah 204:40
- Mishna Brurah 204:42
- Mishna Brurah 204:42 writes that even if there's a slight thirst one makes a bracha. Accordingly, The laws of Brachot (by Rabbi Binyamin Forst pg 135) writes that drinking water to swallow a pill and to quench one's thirst requires a bracha.
- Mishna Brurah 204:42
- [http://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/893696/rabbi-hershel-schachter/berachos-64-35a-36a-kol-haneheneh-making-a-living-vs-learning-kevius-for-maaser-pas-habaah-bekisnin-medications/ Rav Schachter (Brachot Shiur 64 min 71) based on Gemara Brachot 36a.
- Shulchan Aruch 204:13, Rama 202:18, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 56:4
- Mishna Brurah 202:84 quoting Gemara Brachot 35a writes that if one hasn't learned the halachot of Brachot one shouldn't just make Shehakol on a food one doesn't know the bracha for. Similarly, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 50:2 writes that it is appropriate to make Shehakol if one can't figure out what type of food it is or if it is a food about which there is an unresolved dispute in the poskim.
- Mishna Brurah 204:60 quoting the Magen Avraham, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 50:2