Tosefta Brachot 4:4-5
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תוספתא מסכת ברכות פרק ד הלכה ד
הֵבִיאוּ לְפָנָיו מִינֵי תְרָגֵימָה מְבָרֵךְ עֲלֵיהֶן ''בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי כִּסָּנִי'', עַל הַזְּרָעִים הוּא אוֹמֵר ''בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי זְרָעִים'', וְעַל הַדְּשָׁאִים הוּא אוֹמֵר ''בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי דְשָׁאִים'', וְעַל הַיְּרָקוֹת הוּא אוֹמֵר ''בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה.'' רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר ''בָּרוּךְ מַצְמִּיחַ הָאֲדָמָה בּדְבָרוֹ.'' רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר: אֲפִלּוּ רָאָה אֶת הַפַּת וְאוֹמֵר 'בָּרוּךְ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֶת הפַּת זוּ, כַמָּה הִיא נָאָה', זוּ בִרְכָּתָהּ. רָאָה אֵת הַתְּאֶנִים וְאָמַר ''בָּרוּךְ שֶׁבָּרָא אֶת הַתְּאֶנִים הַלְּלוּ, כַמָּה נָאִין הֵן'', זוּ בִרְכָּתָן. רַבִּי יוֹסִי אוֹמֵר: כּׂל הַמְשַׁנֵּה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ שֶׁטָּבְעוּ חֲכָמִים בִּבְרָכָה - לֹא יָצָא.
If they brought before one types of desserts, one recites over them the blessing, 'Creator of types of sweets;' over edible seeds one recites, 'Creator of types of seeds;' and over other herbs one recites, 'Creator of types of herbs;' and over greens one recites, 'Creator of the fruit of the ground.' Rabbi Judah says: [One recites,] 'Blessed are You Whose word the earth sprouts.' Rabbi Meir says: Even if one saw a loaf [of bread] and said, 'Blessed are You Who created this loaf, how nice it is,' that serves as its blessing. If one saw figs and said, 'Blessed are You Who created these figs, how nice they are," that serves as their blessing. Rabbi Yose says: Anyone who departs from the formula which the sages established for blessings has not fulfilled one's obligation. [translation by Hazon. Edited for gender neutrality]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is the significance of the word "even" (afilu) in what Rabbi Meir is arguing? What can we infer about the previous formulations by contrast?

2. What does this discussion in the Tosefta show about the development of food brachot?

3. Do you agree with Rabbi Meir or Rabbi Yose?

4. If you regularly say brachot, how does this practice help you feel gratitude? If you don't normally say brachot, how do you feel when you do?

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Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)