Q) Any ideas about the beracha on hearts of palm? The gemorah in Berachos mentions it, but I'm not clear as to the outcome of the discussion.
A) This a famous and popular bracha question and unfortunately there is no clear consensus as for an answer. You’re absolutely right, it first comes up in Berachos 36a where R’ Yehuda says it’s Ha’adama while Shmuel maintains it’s shehakol. Although the Gemara sides with Shmuel, that was only in a case where people plant the palm tree without intention for the hearts of palm. However, nowadays the hearts of palm manufacturers plant these trees with specific intent on the hearts of palm.
The question we have now is: do we poskin like Rav Yehuda and the fruits would be Ha’adoma or possibly Rav Yehudah only said Ha’adoma where the tree wasn’t planted with intent for the hearts of palm. Possibly Rav Yehuda would maintain Ha’eitz on today’s hearts of palm.
The sefer “V’zot Haberacha,” discusses this at length (see Berur Halacha 36) and ultimately poskins one should make Ha’adoma on hearts of palm for several reasons.
(It is important to note that there are other equally valid opinions out there which other people might follow and there is no need to correct anyone else in this matter. I believe Rav Bodner makes a distinction between cultivated and wildly grown. According to him, hearts of palm that come from Brazil are wildly grown and would receive a Shehakol, while hearts of palm from Ecuador are cultivated and would receive a Ha’adoma. The Star-K on the other hand, holds the hearts of palm are always Ha’eitz. )
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