by R. Daniel Mann
Question: When I eat a fruit and drink, if I finish the fruit but will continue drinking for quite a while, when should I recite Borei Nefashot? If I do it after finishing the fruit, should I make a new beracha on the drink?
Answer: Even if you did not eat a fruit, what to do about Borei Nefashot on drinking over time is not simple. If you never drink a revi’it at one time, you are not obligated (due to doubt) in Borei Nefashot (Mishna Berura 210:1). It is inadvisable to go more than a half hour between one drink and another, as that may be enough of a break to detach the drinking from the beracha acharona and perhaps the beracha rishona. Those who drink large amounts with significant breaks should make a set of berachot each time (see Living the Halachic Process, II, B-4).
We proceed to the impact of the fruit. One has at least a half hour and perhaps significantly more (see V’zot Haberacha, p. 50) from the end of eating fruit to recite Borei Nefashot; you can also leave a little fruit to eat many minutes later. Therefore, your question can usually be avoided.
Your question pertains if after eating the fruit, you will continue sporadic drinking for a long time (without leaving the vicinity). The first issue is whether Borei Nefashot’s efficacy on the fruit is extended by continued drinking without a long break. During a long meal in which 72 minutes pass between eating bread and bentching, the food one continues to eat extends the time (Magen Avraham 184:9). There are two ways to explain this halacha. The Pri Megadim (ad loc.) suggests that continued eating slows digestion. The Mishna Berura (184:18) says that it is a halachic matter – Birkat Hamazon does not expire in the middle of a meal. The Shevet Halevi (VII, 27) posits that if the reason is physical, it applies to any eating/drinking, but if it is halachic, it likely only applies to a meal or other unified eating (see V’zot Haberacha, p. 191). Therefore, it is a machloket whether you may wait much more than a half hour after finishing the fruit to make Borei Nefashot.
The Har Tzvi (OC I:96) prefers the opinion that we do not extend the time for eating due to drinking, as the beracha on one is not covered by the beracha of the other. Therefore, it is improper to wait beyond the normal time for making a beracha on the fruit. (The Shevet Halevi concurs in practice).
How does reciting Borei Nefashot impact on the beracha on drinking? The Har Tzvi instructs to have in mind when saying Borei Nefashot that it not apply to the drinking, so he can continuing drinking based on the original beracha. He rules this way despite seeing the ability to affect the matter by intention as a machloket. The Pri Megadim (Peticha Kollelet, Berachot) says that for a beracha acharona (as opposed to a beracha rishona), when one beracha can apply to multiple foods, it does even if one did not have that intention. The Har Tzvi disagrees, with aid from the Rav Pe’alim (II, OC 32). Logic suggests that the Pri Megadim might actually agree that here one can limit the Borei Nefashot’s reach for the following reasons. The Pri Megadim’s apparent logic is that a beracha acharona is different because given the standing obligation to make the beracha, one cannot detach it from all the foods (see Rav Pe’alim ibid.). However, in our case, the time to make Borei Nefashot on the drink has not yet come, and in fact it would cause an unjustified new beracha. Therefore, it is illogical that the Borei Nefashot on the fruit should be forced onto it. Therefore, when there is reason to make a Borei Nefashot on the fruit but not the drink, one should recite it with intention just for the fruit.
On the other hand, it is often wise to purposely have Borei Nefashot on the fruit also “end the round” of drinking for the chance of several cases: 1. he will take too long a break in the drinking; 2. he will unwittingly leave the house; 3. he will forget Borei Nefashot at the end; 4. he drank in a way that it is a safek whether he requires Borei Nefashot.