Al Hamichya | What you need to know about Al Hamichya
Whether you’re looking for a quick meal or a delicious treat, Al Hamichya can provide you with both. Located in Jerusalem, the restaurant offers a wide variety of traditional Lebanese cuisine as well as modern, international dishes. The menu features favorites like hummus, tabbouleh, and falafel, and you can also enjoy a wide selection of other Mediterranean dishes such as grilled chicken, stuffed grape leaves, and quinoa salads. You can also indulge in a range of beverages, including espresso, tea, and wine.
Buckwheat Al Hamichya
During Passover, Al Hamichya can be said over products made from buckwheat. However, in the context of bread, buckwheat alone is not considered to be ha-adamah. It can, however, be combined with other grains to create a product that is considered ha’motzi.
The Al Hamichya (or “Al-Ha-Michya”) is a brocha achrona. In the halacha, a brocha achrona is a product that has a particular feature, such as being a safek, which is a k’zayit (one-third) of a matza or a special type of dough. In the case of buckwheat, a brocha achrona refers to the fact that a loaf of buckwheat bread may contain a large portion of wheat flour. This, in turn, allows a k’zayit to be considered as a ha-adamah.
The best Al Hamichya can be found in the k’zayit of a cake containing raisins. This is because a cake has three components: endosperm, germ and bran. A k’zayit of a buckwheat cake mixed with other grains is a ha’motzi, but a k’zayit of a loaf of buckwheat with a portion of wheat flour still qualifies as a ha’michyah.
There is some debate as to whether or not the al-hamichya (or al-mi-so-mo-si) actually pertains to eating a small strip of dough. For this reason, Al Hamichya is only mentioned if the k’zayit is eaten within a kdei achillat pras (two to nine minutes).
Whether the Al Hamichya is said on Mezonot products depends on what type of product it is. For example, mezonot rolls do not require Birkat Hamazon, but a bracha mezonot is required on a muffin or donut.
A mezonot roll is an item that looks like bread. It is sweeter than ordinary bread. The dough is a very soft and moist substance. In halacha, it is considered a bread, even though it isn’t. The writer is of the opinion that mezonot rolls are a halachic fraud. He treats them as ordinary bread, and avoids them whenever possible.
Mezonot is said on a wide variety of foods, including meat pastries and cheese pastries. It is also required to say Hamotzi on fish and shrimp pasteries. For cakes, a k’zayit of dough is eaten within kdei achillat pras (about 2 to 9 minutes) of eating the cake.
Borei Nefashos is said on a k’zayit of any of the Five Principal Species flour. The exception is buckwheat. The Five Principal Species are: wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. In general, a k’zayit is one-third of a matza. If it is larger than a k’zayit, it is not Mezonos.
Among the many blessings, Shehakol al hamichya is the most general and is said over many different foods and drinks. Shehakol al hamichya can be said over liquids, breads, and wine. It may also apply to products that are higher on the food chain, such as mezonot and five special fruits. It is recited after drinking wine.
The blessing is recited when a person eats the k’zayit within kdei achilat pras, which is 2 to 9 minutes. The k’zayit must be made from flour that is part of the five principal species. It is also necessary to recite a Borei Nefashot.
It is considered a ha-aytz to eat chunky apple sauce or wine that has been distilled. There are some poskim who hold that the Shehakol al hamichya should not be repeated, since the blessing is recited after drinking wine.
A k’zayit is a third of a matza and is made from flour. The k’zayit is not to be larger than a spoonful. The only exception to the rule is a thin strip of dough that is used to help the person handle plums.
If the person ate the k’zayit within a few minutes of eating the cake, he does not need to recite a Borei nefashot. If he ate the k’zayit more than two hours after the kdei achilat prase, he must recite a Borei pri ha’eitz.
Several Acharonim opine that the Al Hamichya vs. the Merimal Mender is an interesting conundrum. While many Acharonim argue that the former is the real deal, others say it is a figment of the imagination. One of the reasons is the fact that buckwheat is not a wheat species, so there is no Ha-adamah. Another reason is that the beracha does not cover the lesser praise, as is the case with certain foods.
While there are many Acharonim that opine that the Al Hamichya is not as big of a deal as it should be, there is no consensus among the more scholarly of the pack. Interestingly, Shulchan Aruch opined that there is some stringency to avoid eating a k’zayit of five grains when ha-adamah. A similar approach can be used to avoid saying the aforementioned al ha’mohamet. It is not the only example of this type of snarky etiquette.
The aforementioned Borei Nefashot deserves special mention, albeit a short one. A k’zayit of flour made from one of the five principal species is only eligible for the Al Hamichya if eaten within the kdei achillat pras – a timeframe of two to nine minutes.
Those who eat figs or mezonos may need to say the Al Hamichya bracha. However, this does not mean that if you eat grapes or pomegranates, you must repeat the al ha’michya bracha after eating them.
There are two types of foods: satiating and non-satiating. For example, a wine satisfies more than a fig or pomegranate. But an apple or an orange is not satiating. So when reciting the al ha’michya, it is appropriate to say “K’zayit – one-third” of a piece of matza.
The Five Principal Species of Fruit are grapes, apples, pears, pomegranates, and dates. In Israel, the brocha achrona for these is modified for fruits that grow in the Land of Israel. These are special fruits, and the Brocha of Al Hamichya v’al Hapeirot is applied to them.
There are other non-special fruits, such as dates, raisins, and walnuts. These must be recited with the brocha of Al Hagefen after you eat them. In addition, any fruit from the tree must be recited with the brocha achrona of Al Haetz, as a reminder of the blessing that the Jewish nation received when the first fruits were brought to the Land of Israel.
Pomegranates Al Hamichya
Whether or not there is an Al Hamichya for wine is a topic of debate. However, the most common question I receive is if the pomegranate is indeed a valid fruit in the biblical sense. In general, the answer is yes, but not always. In fact, many Acharonim (yes, there are such people) posit that the requisite bracha is not instate for wine. So, it is not surprising to find that the pomegranate has no bracha if it is consumed on its own.
Unlike its tamer cousin the wine, the pomegranate is not considered a fruit in the biblical sense. In fact, it is a vegetable. In the context of a Jewish household, it is not likely to be consumed as a meal or a snack. This notwithstanding, it is possible to consume the pomegranate in moderation. In a nutshell, the pomegranate is a great source of vitamin C. Its taste is undoubtedly a plus. On the other hand, its smell is a minus. For this reason, it is not recommended to consume the pomegranate on its own. For this reason, it is advisable to consume it after a meal.
The pomegranate is not the only fruit worthy of the aforementioned mention. Other worthy contenders include the avocado, the grape, the wheat, and the fig. It is also worth noting that the pomegranate is not the only plant that deserves a bracha.
Olives Al Hamichya
Generally, if you’re going to eat or drink something that is a special fruit of Israel, you will need to repeat the al hamichya bracha. However, if you’re drinking wine or eating dates, you don’t need to repeat the al hamichya after the first beracha. Instead, you should make a borei nefashos, which means that you should take half a k’zayis and drink some water.
The reason you need to say al hamichya is because you are eating a food that gives you life. If you are hungry, you should eat one blueberry, or drink a glass of water. If you aren’t thirsty, you can drink an appropriate amount of water outside of seudah. you aren’t hungry, you should also drink an appropriate amount of wine.
Another explanation for why you need to say the al hamichya after eating fancy fruits is because you’re eating a food that’s not satiating. For example, grapes aren’t a food that’s going to fill you up. You’ll need to repeat the al hamichya blessing after eating grapes. You don’t need to say the al hamichya for pomegranates.
Olives, on the other hand, are a satiating food. You don’t need to repeat the al haymichya bracha after eating an olive.