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Making a Shehechiyanu on New Fruit Today

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Making a Shehechiyanu on New Fruit Today

This article reviews methods that make fruits and vegetables accessible year-round, and discusses how they impact on making the shehechiyanu blessing today.

Yehuda Heller, agronomist, Nissan 5778. Emunat Itecha issue 119

רבי חזקיה ר' כהן בשם רב עתיד אדם ליתן דין וחשבון על כל שראת עינו ולא אכל. ר' לעזר חשש להדא שמועתא ומצמיח ליה פריטין ואכיל בהוןמכל מילה חדא בשתא

Rabbi Hezkiya, Rabbi Cohen stated in the name of Rav: In the future, a person will give an accounting for everything [permitted] he saw and he did not eat. Rabbi Elazar was cautious about this halacha and invested his money to eat from every type [of fruit and vegetable] once a year.
(Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 48b).

Shehechiyanu is a special blessing that expresses joy and renewal. The Sages instituted the blessing, among other things, to be recited on new vessels; today, however, most customarily say the blessing on new fruit.[1] When new fruit is concerned, it is only voluntary; one is not held accountable for failing to say a shehechiyanu.[2] This blessing expresses profound joy, especially today when we merit to eat of the fruit of the Land of Israel.[3] Since the blessing was intended for seasonal fruit that renews from year to year,[4] it is important to examine the current situation in the marketplace. The Gemara (Shabbat 30b) describes a situation in which fruit will be ripe and accessible on a regular basis:

 יתיב רבן גמליאל ודריש: עתידין אילנות שמוציאין פירות בכל יום, שׁנאמר (יחזקאל יז, כג): 'ונשא ענף ועשה פרי', מה ענף בכל יום, אף פרי
בכל יום

Rabban Gamliel sat and lectured: Trees are destined to yield fruit every day, as it is stated: “And it shall bring forth branches and bear fruit” (Ezek. 17:23); just as a branch grows every day, so too, fruit will be produced every day. 

In our day, a large variety of fruits and vegetables are readily available throughout all seasons of the year. Extending sales time is accomplished in several ways: use of special cultivation techniques (hot houses, net houses), growing different cultivars, growing in different regions, use of techniques to encourage early blooming, long-time storage, and import from abroad. Below is a brief overview of the primary methods used to extend sales times, as well as the relevant halachic issues involved. Finally, information is presented about the accessibility of various fruits and vegetables around the year.

A. Main Methods of Extending Sales Time

1. Hothouse Cultivation

Cultivation in hothouses is a widespread technique used in vegetable cultivation. This technique makes it possible to grow vegetables even in seasons when environmental conditions would otherwise make this impossible. For example. Cucumbers and tomatoes do not grow well in the cold, but by growing them in hothouses, it is possible to create conditions suitable for their cultivation even during the winter. Today there are also indoor cultivation methods in special and rare cases, in which produce is grown in a closed building where cultivation is closely monitored and artificial lighting is provided for the crops. In this way, artificial conditions are created according to demand.

2. Different Cultivars

Growing different cultivars of many fruits and vegetables also makes it possible to supply fresh produce over extended periods. An example of this is the avocado, whose commercial production is based on several cultivars harvested at different times, together creating a continuum of fresh fruit sales throughout most of the year. Even for pomegranates, combinations of evergreen cultivars used, which are harvested in the winter.

3. Different Regions

Growing crops in different regions exploits suitable climate conditions in different regions in Israel, together with growing various cultivars. For instance, watermelon, melon, and grapes are grown during part of the winter in warm regions (Arava, Jordan Valley) using appropriate cultivars. In this way it is possible to extend sales time considerably into the cold season. In contrast, strawberries, which are winter fruit, are grown in the Golan during the summer months using special cultivars.

4. Promoting Early Blooming  

Various techniques that promote early blooming also helps extend sales time. Certain sprays help initiate blooming in conditions that would otherwise be unsuitable for growing pineapples. In other cases, sprays can break dormancy and advance budbreak (Alzodef and similar products) with some deciduous trees.

5. Storage

Storage of fruits and vegetables is already mentioned by the poskim,[5] but has improved tremendously. Today it is possible to store certain fruits for up to a year (apples, for instance). Long-term storage is possible thanks to refrigeration, special packaging, various gasses, and coating fruit with various materials (such as edible wax).

6. Import

Today it is much simpler to import fruits and vegetables. The ability to ship produce quickly from different countries making it possible to import fruits and vegetables, even those that were difficult to import in the past. For example, green grapes are imported from South Africa around Tu BiShevat and sometimes even earlier.

All of the above methods, along with others, help increase the availability of fruits and vegetables in keeping with demand throughout the year. The main motive for extending sales time is the desire to appear first on the market at the beginning of the season, when prices are still high. For this reason we can expect this phenomenon for many types of produce, according to market demand. Note that often it is practically possible to sell fruit after its season (watermelon, for example). However, purchasing habits and lack of demand for the fruit result in the fruit being grown and sold in small amounts in these seasons. In any case, in lights of all of the factors above, we need to look at the present situation in the market and the availability of fruits and vegetables throughout the year to decide if we can say a shehechiyanu on them.

 

B. Laws of Shehechiyanu

1. What is the blessing made on?

The topic of the shehechiyanu blessing involves many halachic issues. In principle (ikar hadin), even if one sees a ripe fruit on a tree, one can make this blessing; however, the custom is that we say the blessing only upon eating it.[6] In principle, shehechiyanu applies to any edible plant (fruit or vegetable[7]). This is true even if the edible part of the plant is not a fleshy fruit; even if it is just a seed, root, or leaf eaten on its own.[8] Even so, the Rema rules[9] that one should not make this blessing on a new vegetable. His ruling is explained[10] as referring to vegetables with long shelf life, where it is hard to differentiate between old and new vegetables. Even regarding seasonal vegetables, there are some Ashkenazi poskim who rule that shehechiyanu is only mandated for important vegetables that one feels joy when eating,[11] or on fruits. However, many Sefaradi poskim[12] hold that it is possible to say a shehechiyanu on any seasonal vegetable.

2. Defining seasonal fruit

The Rema rules[13] that even if fruit comes into season twice a year, it can be considered a new fruit and one may make a blessing on it each time it comes into season.[14] Others hold that even if the tree produces several times a year, it can still be considered seasonal as long as there is a gap of at least 30 days between the times that the fruit is available.[15]

3. Different varieties

Even when there are different varieties (cultivars) of the same fruit (such as white and black figs), each variety, in principle, deserves its own shehechiyanu.[16] The Sha’ar HaTziyun[17] holds that this is the case provided that each variety tastes different; if the fruits differ in appearance only, no blessing should be made. In keeping with this ruling, poskim hold that one would not make a shehechiyanu separately on white and red grapefruit, since they taste alike.[18] In practice, many Achronim[19] rule that the custom is not to say shehechiyanu on two varieties of the same fruit,[20] while other believe that it is best to exempt the second variety by making shehechiyanu on another fruit (that is certainly seasonal) in its presence.[21]

4. Fruit juice

In principle, it is possible to make a shehechiyanu on fruit juice, as long as its blessing is not shehakol, such as grape juice.[22] However, since it is difficult to differentiate between new and old juice, especially today, there are Acharonim[23] who rule that it is preferable not to make a shehechiyanu on the juice. In any case, someone who drank such juice (and did not make a shehechiyanu) can still make a shehechiyanu when eating the actual fruit.[24]

5. Stored and canned fruits and vegetables

As mentioned above, extending the sales times for fruit and vegetables can be done by various means, each governed by different halachot. In principle, a fruit available all year long thanks to storage is not a candidate for a shehechiyanu.[25] However, even if a fruit is available thanks to refrigeration or other means of storage, if we can tell the difference in appearance or taste between new and old produce, it would be possible to make a blessing on the new produce, since one is happy about eating it.[26] For instance, there are poskim who hold that even when oranges are available year round thanks to refrigeration,[27] the new fruit is markedly different and a blessing can be made on them.[28] Note that some rule[29] that it is possible to still make the blessing on the new fruit and important vegetables even if their refrigerated counterparts are also available, as long as one knows that the fruit/vegetable is, indeed, new (such as Anna apples, which come out on the market in early summer). For produce that is generally pickled, roasted, or canned (olives), there is no noticeable difference between new and old, so no blessing would be made on such fruit.[30]

6. Imports

Fruit imported during certain periods and fruit always on the market[31] should not be blessed with a shehechiyanu.[32] Fruit is not considered seasonal if it is imported or stored only when it is readily available in regular supermarkets and at inexpensive prices.[33] Others hold, though, that even if the fruit can be found expensively at select stores, no blessing should be made.[34] Some have innovated that an imported fruit can be blessed with a shehechiyanu if at least 30 days passed since one ate the fresh local fruit, provided that the imported fruit is considered a “new fruit” in the country it was grown, and was not brought from storage.[35] Some hold,[36] though, that fruits imported only part of the year, but produce year round in their country of origin (such as some tropical fruit), are not subject to this blessing.

Conclusion

Important vegetables and fruits that are not produced all year and are not available in the marketplace beyond their season (with the help of importation or storage) are certainly shehechiyanu candidates. Even fruit available all year thanks to refrigeration, if there is a noticeable difference in appearance or taste as opposed to the refrigerated fruit,[37] most poskim hold that it is possible to make a shehechiyanu on the fresh fruit. In light of all of the vast changes today, there are even those who do not make this blessing on fruits whatsoever, since fruits are constantly being imported.[38] On the other hand, some poskim are doubtful whether all of the artificial means of lengthening sales time (such as refrigeration) undermine the definition of a fruit as seasonal.[39]

 

C. Classification of Fruits and Vegetables

1. Non-seasonal fruits and vegetables

In light of the halachot above, it is possible to classify fruits and vegetables into several categories which, according to most poskim, one should not recite a blessing on. For every fruit and vegetable there is a primary reason for this, but generally there are several reasons that allow for ongoing sales. sale. Later on several prevalent examples of every type are listed, but there are also additional fruits and vegetables in every category (it is not a comprehensive list): (1) Those cultivated and that produce all year round (naturally, in hothouses, or by other means): lemons (also through different cultivars), bananas,[40] all types of leafy vegetables (at times by growing different cultivars and refrigeration), cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and the like. (2) Kept in storage/refrigeration, with almost no difference between new and old: potatoes, carrots, all types of nuts, apples,[41] pears,[42] and moist dates. (3) Pickled, roasted, canned, etc.: olives, fruit and vegetable seeds[43] (such as watermelon), corn kernels.[44]

Some types of vegetables are difficult to cultivate and sell during part of the year (such as fennel, cauliflower, and broccoli during the summer), but it does not seem that there is a regular, fixed break in seasons. What stands out in this regard is the artichoke, which is not grown or sold during the summer months, and it seems that it can be classified as a renewing vegetable. Aside from the artichoke, it is difficult to find another seasonal vegetable today. However, it is possible that a few such vegetables exist, especially those that are not in high demand. In general, crops that are less suitable for winter are cultivated in hothouses, so they are more common (in the winter) while those that do not fare well in the summer (see examples above) are at times not available, since they require the development of hearty cultivars or climate control, which are both complex solutions. In any case, many poskim[45] rule that only important vegetables require a blessing.

2. Seasonal fruit and fruit for which this is uncertain

Data collected[46] about additional fruits and vegetables that are not commonly available throughout the year is displayed in a table below. These fruits and vegetables can be broken up into five categories:

1) Seasonal. Fruits that have a set period for not bearing fruit, even today. Fruits in the remaining groups (2–5) can be found in supermarkets throughout most of the year, but there are times that these fruits are less readily available, very expensive, or of a lower quality for various reasons.

Among fruits not defined as “seasonal,” there are short periods when they are scarce and there are also times when the fruit is not sold at all. For such fruit, the situation is dynamic and can change from year to year. These fruits can be classified into several categories. For some of them, the question is whether their “seasonal” status is determined by their availability in major supermarket chains; or alternatively, if are they considered “on the market” even if they are only sold in specialty stores at expensive prices. The classification is done to make it easier for the reader; groups are listed according to the main reason for their being a doubt in this regard.

2) Different regions. Fruit grown in different regions throughout Israel so that they will be available for most of the year. While there are times that they are less available, such fruit is not considered altogether seasonal.

3) Refrigerated. Fruit that can be refrigerated. Since refrigeration degrades fruit quality, this fruit is not available in the marketplace at certain times.

4) Continuous yield. Fruit trees that produce many times throughout the year (sometimes with the help of various cultivars), but there are times when they are not sold for various reasons.

5) Imported. Fruit imported most of the year, so it is difficult to define them as “seasonal.” However, changes in import times causes periods that the fruit is unavailable.

In the table below, we attempted to bring together all of the most recent information from supermarkets and farmers about fruits and vegetables that are seasonal and those where this status is in question. Fruits and vegetables that are not seasonal, however, do not appear below (such as olives and lemons). Some of the fruits in the table, such as the lychee and pitaya, are classified as exotic; their cultivation is limited in scope and they are sold during specific periods only. There are other, similar fruits, but most are not sold commercially. Thanks to ever-developing methods of storage and new cultivars, it is possible for small quantities to be sold even during periods when these fruits are defined as “unavailable.” These new methods combined with the ability to import fruit, which has increased in recent years and makes possible the import of a variety of fruits as necessary, with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture. Note that the table is correct to date of publication (the table is updated from time to time).

*Fruits in bold are considered seasonal even today, and they are not sold for set periods during some of the year.

**The last column cites the classification of the fruit according to the five groups mentioned above. In groups 2–5 there is a doubt regarding whether the fruit is renewed. A detailed explanation follows the table.

Classification

Period unavailable

Means used to extend sales time

Natural germination period

Fruit/
Vegetable

Anona

Fall

 

 

1: Seasonal

Peach

Spring–summer

Different cultivars

Winter

1: Seasonal

Apricot

Summer

 

Rest of the year

1: Seasonal

Avocado

Late summer–fall

Different cultivars, refrigeration[47]

Less available in mid-summer

4: Continuous yield

Blueberry

Spring–summer

Imported

Less available in the winter

5: Imported

Cherry

Summer

 

Winter

1: Seasonal

Coconut

 

Imported

 

5: Imported

Feijoa

Fall

 

 

1: Seasonal

Fig (fresh)

Spring–summer

Grown in the Arava and in the Jordan Valley

Winter

1: Seasonal

Goji berry (fresh)

Spring–summer

 

 

1: Seasonal

Grape

Spring–late summer

Different cultivars, refrigeration,[48] cultivation in the Jordan Valley in the winter, imported

Less available in fall and winter

2: Different regions

Grapefruit/
pomelo

Fall–winter

Different cultivars, refrigeration

Less available in the summer

3: Refrigerated

Guava

Fall–winter

 

Spring-early summer

1: Seasonal

Kiwi

Late summer

Refrigeration,[49] imported

Less available in early summer

3: Refrigerated

Lychee

Summer

 

 

1: Seasonal

Loquat

Spring

 

The rest of the year

1: Seasonal

Mango

Summer

Grown in the Negev[50]

Winter–spring

1: Seasonal

Mangosteen

Summer

 

 

1: Seasonal

Marula

Summer–fall

 

 

1: Seasonal

Melon[51]

Spring–summer

Different cultivars, cultivation in the Arava in the winter

Less available in the fall

2: Different regions

Mulberry

Spring–summer

 

The rest of the year

1: Seasonal

Nectarine

Spring–summer

Different cultivars

Winter

1: Seasonal

Orange

Fall–winter

Different cultivars, refrigeration

Less available in late summer

3: Refrigerated

Papaya

All year

 

Less available in the winter

4: Continuous yield

Passion fruit

Winter, summer

 

Less available in spring and fall

4: Continuous yield

Peach

Spring–summer

Different cultivars

Winter

1: Seasonal

Pear (Nashi)

Summer

Imported

 

5: Imported

Persimmon

Summer–winter

Different cultivars, refrigeration[52]

Spring

1: Seasonal

Pineapple

All year

Different cultivars, techniques that encourage early blooming, imported

Less available in the winter

4: Continuous yield

Pitaya

Summer–fall

 

 

1: Seasonal

Plum

Summer–fall

Different cultivars,  refrigeration

Winter

3: Refrigerated (a certain cultivar)

Pomegranate

Late summer–fall

Different cultivars, refrigeration[53]

Spring–summer

1: Seasonal

Quince

Late summer–fall

Refrigeration,[54] imported

 

5: Imported

Raspberry

Summer

 

 

1: Seasonal

Sabra fruit (prickly pear cactus)

Summer

Different cultivars, refrigeration[55]

Less available in early summer

4: Continuous yield

Starfruit

Late summer-spring

Net houses/hot houses, different cultivars

Less available in early summer

4: Continuous yield

Strawberry

Fall–spring

Grown in the Golan, different cultivars

Less available in the summer

2: Different regions

Tangerine (clementine)

Fall–winter

Different cultivars, refrigeration, stored on the tree

Less available in early summer

3: Refrigerated

Watermelon[56]

Spring–summer

Different cultivars, cultivation in the Arava in the winter

Less available in the fall

2: Different regions

 

 

Group 1: Seasonal Fruit

As mentioned above, the first category is fruit whose sales time is limited to one or two seasons, and they renew from year to year. For such fruit, shehechiyanu is in order.

Group 2: Different Regions

These fruits are cultivated in different regions, which makes it possible to grow them all year round. For several reasons, however, there are periods with less fruit available.

Watermelon and melon belong to this category,[57] as they are cultivated all year: in the winter and fall, they are grown primarily in the Arava, but there is a time when produce is extremely scarce or is only available at specialty stores. This period occurs in part of the fall and winter, and the primary reasons for it is the lack of demand and the fruit’s inferior quality. It is possible that the period when they are of inferior quality in the winter could have bearing on their definition as seasonal fruit.[58]

Grapes are grown in warm areas, which makes it possible to produce fruit by late winter, and at the end of the season they are grown primarily in Lakhish, which makes it possible to sell green grapes until early winter and red grapes until mid-winter.[59] From the end of the season until the first Israeli-grown grapes appear on the market in the spring, grapes are imported. This sometimes creating a continuum, primarily for red grapes. Despite this, it seems that the major supermarket chains still take a break[60] from selling grapes, especially green grapes. Note that grapes are sold throughout the year thanks to the different cultivars sold at different periods, which often vary in taste and in other characteristics. This, too, can weigh in on defining grapes as a seasonal fruit, even if a shehechiyanu would not be made on each variety.

Where strawberries are concerned, recently they have begun to be cultivated in the Golan during the summer, which fills in the gap when there are no strawberries anywhere else in Israel. However, they are generally of inferior quality and smaller quantity, and are not available continuously in most major supermarkets.

Group 3: Refrigerated

This group includes fruit available from refrigeration most of the year, but generally in smaller quantities and of an inferior quality. This group includes the following citrus fruits: grapefruit, pomelo, sweetie (oroblanco), tangerine, and orange. These fruits are harder to come by during the summer, but there is fruit that is in refrigeration throughout the summer. This fruit is generally used for juicing, but it can also be sold in small quantities. This said, it seems that the fresh fruit sold in supermarkets is mainly oranges,[61] even if in a small quantity. Beyond the difficulties involves in refrigeration, the main reason it is rarely sold in late summer is due to the many fruits in the market at this time. Beyond the issue of whether the fruit is readily available, as mentioned above, some poskim maintain that fresh oranges[62] are distinct in their taste and appearance and superior to refrigerated oranges. For this reason, it would be possible to make a blessing on the new oranges.

For kiwis, too, there is almost continuous sales (thanks to refrigeration and imports), but there are periods when fruit is scarce or expensive. This is the case especially before the new produce arrives in late summer.

Refrigerated plums are also available throughout the year in some supermarkets, but it seems that the fruit is very inferior in quality, only a small quantity is available, and only of a specific variety. Moreover, this fruit is only available at select stores. For this reason, it seems that is still is seasonal in the mainstream supermarket chains.

Group 4: Continuous Yield

The fruits from this group are farther from the definition of “seasonal fruit,” since they are produced throughout the year. While these fruits—including papaya, passionfruit, sabra fruit (prickly pear), and pineapple—are produced throughout the year, due to certain difficulties in cultivation, there may be periods without fruit, with lower quality fruit, or with expensive fruit. For pineapples, imports primarily help augment the fruit supply, and it seems to be available all year. Another fruit that would be difficult to define as “seasonal” would be avocado,[63] which is available nearly all year (especially due to different cultivars). However, there may be periods[64] when fruit is scarce or expensive.

Note that there is a difference among the fruits in this group. For instance, avocados are available all year due to different cultivars, but there is not one cultivar that produces fruit all year. Other fruits, however, are even further from the status of “seasonal fruit”: for papaya, passionfruit, and several cultivars of sabra fruit, there are several waves of blooming on the same plant. This situation makes it possible to sell the fruit almost all year (thanks to refrigeration and cultivations in different regions), even though the fruit may be of an inferior quality part of the time. Pineapples are the farthest from a seasonal fruit, since the time of blooming depends on when it is planted, not on a season. This is why it bears fruit all year; that said, in the winter techniques are employed to encourage early blooming but the fruit is of an inferior quality. Starfruit trees also produce almost all year, especially in nethouses. There is a period in early summer, though, that they are not sold. It seems, then, that there is a period of more than one month when they do not appear on the market.[65] This situation may change in years to come.

Group 5: Imports

Quince, nashi pears, blueberries, and coconuts[66] are sold all year since they are imported.[67] Coconuts are not grown in Israel. Quince cultivation in Israel (primarily in the Golan Heights) has declined in recent years. As for nashi pears, there is limited amount of local produce sold mainly in late summer. Blueberries are grown locally and sold in summer months. In any case, the fact that these fruits are imported all year round puts them in this category (it seems that today they are always available). At times there may be changes in the quantities of fruit imported at different times during the year, and quantities can also change from year to year.

 

Conclusion

The availability of fruits and vegetables has changed and is constantly changing in our day. The tremendous bounty we are blessed with makes it possible to sell many types of fruits throughout the year. This makes it necessary to constantly monitor the marketplace to see which fruits can be considered seasonal vis-à-vis making a shehechiyanu. This blessing is linked to the joy of the fruit’s renewal on the tree, it helps acquaint us with the seasonal rhythm of agriculture in Israel, and raises our awareness as to the advances of our local agricultural cultivation. This consciousness serves to strengthen our bond to agriculture even today, even when fruits and vegetables are sold wholesale. Note, though, that some poskim maintain that shehechiyanu should not be made on fruits from trees grafted in a prohibited fashion. This makes the problem of forbidden grafting, so prevalent today in fruits and vegetables, more acute. Unfortunately, the issue of forbidden grafting is not well-known since fruit or vegetables are permitted regardless if they are grafted in a forbidden manner.

 

 

[1] Aruch HaShulchan, Orach Chayim (OC) §225:1.

[2] Mishna Berura §225:9. From Sefer HaEshkol (Birchot HaHoda’a) §23, it seems that there is no obligation to see the fruit, but if one does see the fruit one should make the blessing.

[3] See Shevet HaLevy IV, §25, who notes that many great rabbis would make a shehechiyanu only on fruits of the seven species of the Land of Israel, since this is what filled them with joy.

[4] Eruvin 40b, Shulchan Aruch OC §225:3.

[5] Mishna Berura, §225:18.

[6] Shulchan Aruch OC §225:3. And if it is not a seasonal fruit, even if it is the first time in one’s life eating the fruit, shehechiyanu is not said (Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:17).

[7] Ibid. This seems to be the ruling of the Gemara in Eruvin 40b.

[8] Mishna Berura §225:18 (see the example given there of a carrot, which is a thick root); VeZot HaBeracha 18:5.

[9] The example given in the Mishna Berura is a potato, as opposed to vegetables that were seasonal (in their time): carrots, turnips, and cucumbers.

[10] Mishna Berura, ibid.

[11] VeZot HaBeracha, ibid., according to Aruch HaShulchan. VeZot HaBeracha quotes Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, citing watermelon as an example of an important vegetable.

[12] VeZot HaBeracha, ibid., quoting Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu. This is true only when the blessing over the fruit does not change to be shehakol (juice, for instance); Yalkut Yosef, Berachot §225:2.

[13] OC §225:6.

[14] This is the understanding of most of the Acharonim, including the Mishna Berura; the Kaf HaChayim (OC §225:5), on the other hand, rules that the blessing is made only once.

[15] Halichot Shelomo, Tefila 23:21. More investigation is necessary to ascertain whether his intention was a 30 day gap between the times that the fruit appears on the trees or between the fruit being available in the market following harvest.

[16] Shulchan Aruch OC §225:4, Rema, and Mishna Berura, ibid. See also Sha’ar HaTziyun, n. 18.

225:17.

[18] Piskei Teshuvot OC §225, n. 103.

[19] Birkei Yosef OC §225:5; Aruch HaShulchan §225:9; Ma'amar Mordechai, §225:4; Kaf HaChayim §225:34, and more.

[20] Peninei Halacha (Berachot, Berachot HaHoda’a VehaSimcha §16) clarifies that when there are different varieties sold at different times, for instance Japanese plums (that ripen in the summer) and European plums (different varieties that ripen from spring to early fall), one can certainly make a shehechiyanu on them.

[21] Sha’ar HaTziyun §225:18; Birkat HaBayit 23:11.

[22] Shulchan Aruch OC §225:5, Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:16.

[23] Shevet HaKehati IV, §73.

[24] This is what is implied by the Mishna Berura §225:15. Rabbi Akiva Eiger (on the Magen Avraham, n. 11) was not certain about whether one could make a shehechiyanu on grapes after drinking wine (without a shehechiyanu).

[25] Mishna Berura §225:18.

[26] Implied, Mishna Berura §225:18; Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:17.

[27] In practice, it seems that oranges stored long-term are not sold during the summer; most are used for juice.

[28] VeZot HaBerecha 18:6; Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:17.

[29] Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay. Emunat Itecha 41 (5761), pp.41–43.

[30] Implied by the Aruch HaShulchan OC §225:12; See also VeZot HaBeracha ch. 18, who quotes Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu saying that the Jerusalemite custom was to make a shehechiyanu on olives.

[31] It seems that a gap of less than 30 days is considered inconsequential in this regard.

[32] Teshuvot VeHanhagot I §101; VeZot HaBeracha 18:3.

[33] Teshuvot VeHanhagot I §101.

[34] VeZot HaBeracha 18:4.

[35] Piskei Teshuvot §225:18; as he understood the ruling of Teshuvot VeHanhagot I §101. Further investigation is necessary.

[36] VeZot HaBeracha 18:8 mentions coconuts. Further investigation is necessary regarding tropical fruit that grows in Israel and produces only at certain times, if it is similar to the status of imported fruits. Yet it seems everyone is in agreement that it is still considered seasonal, since pomegranate trees for example, yield fruit a few times a year in certain countries, but we never heard anyone say that shehechiyanu should not be made on them.

[37] So there is a noticeable difference between the new and refrigerated fruit.

[38] Satmar Rebbe, Zemirot Divrei Yoel.

[39] See Iggerot Moshe OC III §34. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein made a distinction between vegetables that are staples (such as potatoes) and fruit that are eaten as a snack (such as apples). It could be that he refers also to artificial means, such as hothouses, etc. In any case, he himself noted that more investigation is necessary.

[40] However, there are times in the summer when there is difficult to cultivate bananas and they are more expensive.

[41] Apples and pears are available year round also thanks to importation. See note 29; there are poskim who hold that it is possible to make the blessing on seasonal fruit, even if the same fruit is available in refrigeration.

[42] Moreover, 95% of pears in Israel (as of 5778) are grafted in a forbidden manner, so some poskim believe that a blessing should not be made. The same principal applies to plums, peaches, and apricots, and to a lesser degree, cherries and loquats. See also note 56 for further explanation.

[43] According to the Ketzot HaShulchan §63:4, who holds that the blessing for seeds is that same as for the fruit. There he discusses seeds whose blessing is borei peri ha’etz.

[44] Unpackaged corn on the cob is available only for a short period, while packaged corn is available around the year, albeit at certain times less is available. In any case, it is a question if a distinction should be made between canned corn kernels, available all year round without a problem, and corn on the cob.

[45] Note also the opinion of the Shelah, cited by the Mishna Berura (§225:18), who states that to avoid mistakes no blessing should be made on vegetables (since for some of them it is difficult to distinguish between old and new).

[46] Data was collected based on information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Plants Production and Marketing Board, and the Agricultural Extension Service of Israel (Shaham), and based on discussions with salespeople and farmers. Special thanks to Tzadok Avraham (Rami Levy, vegetable section) and Yitzchak Amitai (Chief Rabbinate of Israel) for their assistance in data collection. 

[47] Six weeks (approx.).

[48] Primarily red grapes.

[49] Five months (approx.).

[50] Also through storage on the tree.

[51] A large percentage of melons are grafted onto pumpkin rootstocks in a forbidden manner, especially for melons at the beginning of the season. For this reason some poskim maintain that one should refrain from making a shehechiyanu. See note 56 below.

[52] Four months (approx.).

[53] Four months (approx.).

[54] Approximately two months.

[55] Approximately a month.

[56] All watermelon at the beginning of the season, and approximately 80% of watermelon in general in Israel (as of 5778), are grafted in a forbidden manner onto pumpkin rootstocks. For this reason some poskim maintain that one should refrain from making a shehechiyanu. See Be’ur Halacha §225, incipit “peri chadash.” See also Piskei Teshuvot OC §220 n. 94, who permitted this in certain cases (it seems he permits this only in the case of doubt); Yabiya Omer (V §19) was asked about a grafted orange, and he permitted making the blessing. Peninei Halacha (Berachot HaHoda’a VehaSimcha §17), permitted this, and noted that this is the prevalent custom.

[57] For melon, cultivation is more continuous than for watermelon; melon is also grown in the winter and fall.

[58] Based on the halachic literature saying that if a fresh fruit tastes better than a refrigerated fruit, it is possible to make a shehechiyanu on the superior fruit based on one’s joy that it is now in season. Here too, even according to poskim who maintain that one should not make a blessing on two varieties, it is possible that one could make the blessing on the superior fruit, despite the fact that the inferior variety is available all year.

[59] Also thanks to refrigeration.

[60] The period of this break can change depending on the beginning of importation, and it seems that today it is about one month, especially for green grapes. For red grapes, there can be a very brief break until imported grapes appear on the market.

[61] There is also the Valencia orange variety, that produces during the summer (primarily early summer), and is generally used for juice.

[62] VeZot HaBeracha 18:6; Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:17.

[63] For avocados, there are poskim who maintain that shehechiyanu is not said over a fruit that is eaten as a spread with a status subordinate to another food (tafel) (Piskei Teshuvot OC §225:11), while others say that the blessing may be made in any case (see VeZot HaBeracha 18:2).

[64] In late summer.

[65] From early June to late July (approx.).

[66] See VeZot HaBeracha18:8, who notes that Rabbi Moredachai Eliahu would make a shehechiyanu on coconuts on Tu BiShevat.

[67] Quince can also be refrigerated for extended periods.