The Shulchan Aruch rules that if a person recited the Bracha of "Boreh Peri Ha’etz" over a food that requires the Bracha of "Boreh Peri Ha’adama," he has not fulfilled his obligation, and he must then recite "Ha’adama." Something that grows directly from the ground – such as lettuce or other vegetables – cannot be said to have grown on an Etz ("tree"), and thus even after the fact, the recitation of "Ha’etz" does not fulfill the obligation, and the correct Bracha must be recited. In the reverse case, if one recited "Ha’adama" over a fruit which requires "Ha’etz," he has fulfilled his obligation Bedi’avad (after the fact). Since fruits grow on trees which grow from the ground, the Bracha of "Ha’adama" is appropriate for fruits, even though of course one is supposed to recite "Ha’etz" over fruits. Therefore, after the fact, one has fulfilled his obligation if he recited "Ha’adama" over a product requiring "Ha’etz." It is unclear whether a person who recited "Ha’adama" in such a case and then immediately realized his mistake should correct himself, or just eat the fruit. Some contend that since the Bracha of "Ha’adama" suffices after the fact, there is no need for the person in this case to correct himself. Others, however, argue that the person should correct himself in order to recite the Bracha that is supposed to be recited. This question has not been definitively resolved one way or the other. In a case where one mistakenly recited "Ha’adama" over a fruit, the Bracha covers all foods on the table that require "Ha’adama." Thus, for example, if a person recited "Ha’adama" over an apple, and there are vegetables on the table, then he does not have to recite "Ha’adama" a second time over the vegetables. Although his Bracha of "Ha’adama" was recited by mistake, nevertheless, it covers all the vegetables in front of him. This applies also to one who mistakenly recited "She’hakol" over a food requiring a different Bracha. The Bracha of "She’hakol," after the fact, covers all foods. And so, if one mistakenly recited "She’hakol" over a fruit, for example, his Bracha covers the fruit as well as any other foods in front of him, such as water. This is mentioned by Yalkut Yosef, citing his father, Hacham Ovadia Yosef. Finally, the Radbaz ruled that if one mistakenly recited "Ha’adama" over a fruit, and other people at the table listened to his Bracha with the intention of fulfilling their obligation, they fulfill their obligation even though the Bracha was recited mistakenly. This can happen on the night of Rosh Hashanah, when the head of the household customarily recites "Ha’etz" over an apple or date for everyone at the table, who fulfill their obligation by listening to his Bracha. If he mistakenly recited "Ha’adama" over the fruit, both he and they have fulfilled the obligation. This is the Radbaz’s ruling, and it was accepted by later Poskim.
By Rabbi Eli Mansour
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