By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a
A. Praying for a Mehudar Etrog on Shabbos
In light of the previous weeks’ Halacha series dealing with what one is permitted to prayer for on Shabbos, it is in permissible to prayer for meriting a Mehudar Etrog for the upcoming Sukkos, following that which is written in the Sifrei Hakodesh about Tu B’Shvat being an auspicious time (Mesugal) for praying for such an Etrog.
B. The Bracha to be said on Dried/Sugared Etrog
“… Borei Pri Ha’aetz” when eating either the flesh or the rind of the sugared Etrog. We do not however make a Shehechiyanu on the Etrog for numerous reasons brought by the Poskim.
Note: it is important to realize that there is in fact no specific obligation to make a Shehechiyanu on Tu B’Shvat (and therefore one should not be concerned if they cannot find a new fruit on which to make a Shehechiyanu.)
C. Blessings related to the Fruits before and during the Seudah
One who eats the fruits before the Seudah, needs to make a Bracha Achrona (after blessing) – Birchas Hamazon does not cover his obligation. If one commences the Seuda and forgets to make a Bracha Achrona, he must make a Bracha Achrona during the Seuda and even if he forgot and made Birkas Hamazon, he is still obligated to make the Bracha Achrona afterwards.
One who eats the fruits during the Seuda, needs to make Bracha Rishona over the fruits then, but should not make a Bracha Achrona, as it will be covered by his Birkas Hamazon.
One who eats the fruits before the Seuda with the intention of eating the same fruit during the Seuda as well, should have in mind when he makes the blessing before the Seuda to cover the fruit during the Seuda as well. That being the case, he should not make Bracha Rishona for the same fruit during the Seuda and also should not make a Bracha Achrona on the fruit that he ate before the Seuda, as it too will be covered by his Birkas Hamazon.
D. The order of the Brachos:
One who eats various types of food, should ensure to make the blessing on the most important fruit among them, as is decreed by Chazal. There are may laws associated with this, so we will mention only those laws relevant to Tu B’Shvat itself.
If one wishes to eat fruit from the 7 species which are in front of him, he should make the blessing on them before any other types of fruit. However, even within the 7 species themselves, the order of precedence is as follows:
1. Olives, 2. Dates, 3. Grapes, 4. Figs, 5.Pomegranates
One should know that this order of precedence is only related to which fruit to make the blessing on first. However, once the blessing has been made, there is then no specific order as to which of the remaining 6 fruits one has to eat. Nor is it a requirement to eat all of the specific fruit on which one has made the blessing – rather, one only need taste a little of that specific fruit before moving on to the other fruits.
Note: If one wishes to drink wine, its blessing takes order of precedence over the 7 species.
As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you are unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).