Brachot on Sights

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General laws of Brachot on Sights[edit | edit source]

  1. If one saw a friend one a television or heard them on the phone or radio, one doesn’t make any Bracha for seeing or hearing them. [1]
  2. All the below Brachot for certain sights are made if one hasn’t seen them in thirty days. [2]
  3. Seeing from a distance or airplane is still considered good enough vision in order to make the bracha as long as one can see the sight clearly and the sight is recognizable. [3]
  4. Seeing a sight at night warrants a Bracha as long as one the sight is distinguishable even at night. [4]
  5. Some say one can still make the Bracha upon seeing a wonder of nature even after one has left as long as the sight still impresses or inspires oneself. [5] Some say that one may make the Bracha only while one is still in the area where one can still see the sight or if it’s within the Toch Kedi Dibbur of leaving that area. [6]

Bracha for seeing a house of Avoda Zara[edit | edit source]

  1. Nowadays we do not make the Bracha for seeing a house of Avoda Zara (which was Baruch Atta…SheNatan Erech Apayim LeOvri Retzono). [7]

Bracha for seeing a scholar[edit | edit source]

  1. For seeing a great Jewish Chacham (wise scholar) the Bracha is Baruch Atta…SheChalak MeChachmato LeYire’av ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם שחלק מחכמתו . ליראיו [8] However, this Bracha is made rarely because it should only be made for a wise scholar, G-d fearing person, and man of Middot. [9]
  2. For seeing a brilliant non-Jewish secular scholar the Bracha is Baruch Atta…SheNatan MeChachmato LeBasar VeDam. [10] Some say that there’s a minhag not to make this Bracha nowadays. [11]

Bracha for seeing a king or queen[edit | edit source]

  1. Upon seeing a king or queen who is Jewish one should recite ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם שחלק מכבודו ליראיו (Baruch... Shechalak Mikvodo Liyireav). If he is not jewish one should recite ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם שחלק מכבודו לבשר ודם (Baruch... Shenatan Mikvodo Libriyotav). [12]
  2. It is questionable if nowadays one should make this Beracha for seeing a king, queen, president, or prime minister, and therefore one should only make this Bracha without Shem UMalchut. [13]
  3. This Bracha applies equally to a male king as to a female queen, however, one shouldn’t stare at the queen but only a quick look. [14]
  4. Seeing the monarch on television would not obligate you in the beracha. [15]

Bracha for seeing a cemetery[edit | edit source]

  1. For seeing a Jewish cemetery the Bracha is Baruch Atta…Asher Yatzer Etchem…Mechaye Maytim. ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם, אשר יצר אתכם בדין ודן אתכם בדין וכלכל אתכם בדין והחיה אתכם בדין, ואסף אתכם בדין, ויודע מספר כולכם, ועתיד להחיותכם ולהקימכם בדין לחיי העולם הבא, ברוך אתה ה' מחיה המתים [16] This Bracha can be made for seeing it through glass and so if one see a cemetery from a car while driving one can make this Bracha. [17] Some say that one may make the Bracha even after leaving the sight as long as one is still effected and impacted by it. [18]

Bracha for seeing a friend[edit | edit source]

  1. Nowadays, the Ashkenazic minhag is not to make a bracha upon seeing a friend after 30 days or after 12 months. [19]
  2. However, some say Sephardic minhag is to make the Bracha of Shehecheyanu even if one was in contact as long as one hasn’t seen them for 30 days, while some disagree. [20]

Bracha for seeing 600,000 people[edit | edit source]

  1. Upon seeing 600,000 Jews there’s a Bracha of Baruch Atta…Chacham HaRazim, however, this is a extremely rare occurrence. [21]
  2. Upon seeing 600,000 non-Jews one should say the פסוק “Boshu Imachem Meod…” and some say that one can say this for any gathering of non-Jews. [22]

Other specific Brachot on Sights[edit | edit source]

Related Links[edit | edit source]

  1. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz about making a Bracha for seeing royalty.

Common Questions[edit | edit source]

  1. Does one make a Bracha for seeing the President? See above #Bracha for seeing a king or queen.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 406)
  2. 224:13
  3. Vezot HaBracha (pg 154-5), Piskei Teshuvot 228:1
  4. Vezot HaBracha (pg 154), Piskei Teshuvot 228:1
  5. Halichot Shlomo 23:26 writes that if one didn't make the bracha immediately upon seeing the ocean, one may make the bracha as long as the sight effects oneself (one is still inspired or in awe).
  6. Piskei Teshuvot 228:1
  7. S”A 224:1 writes that for seeing an Avoda Zara the Bracha is Baruch Atta…SheNatan Erech Apayim LeOvri Retzono. The Mishna Brurah 224:2 adds that this Bracha also applies if one only sees the house of the Avoda Zara. However, the Rama 224:1 writes clearly that our minhag is not to make this Bracha nowadays since we see these houses of Avoda Zara often. Mishna Brurah 224:3 extends the case to even if one didn’t see the house of Avoda Zara in thirty days one still doesn’t make the Bracha.
  8. S”A 224:6
  9. Piskei Teshuvot 224:4, Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 602)
  10. S”A 224:7
  11. Piskei Teshuvot 224:5 writes that the minhag is not to make this Bracha since some say that one should make the Bracha on non-Jews that don’t keep the 7 מצות of Bnei Noach
  12. Berachot 58a, S"A 224:8
    • How much power does the ruler have to have in order to make the Bracha upon seeing him? Rav Ovadia Yosef Yechave Daat 2:28 cites the Radvaz 1:296 as well as the Orchot Chaim Berachot 49 that say that this beracha is recited on any monarch with enough power to execute or pardon from execution. Halacha Brurah 224:14 writes that one makes the Bracha (with Shem UMalchut) on a king of a country even if he is democratically elected and even if he is only ruler for a term as long as there isn’t a another figure above him that can nullify his decision such as if his decisions don’t need to be approved by parliament. Halacha Brurah mentions specically if the ruler has the power to pardon someone sentenced to death or declare war against another country then one may make the Bracha on that king with Shem UMalchut.
    • Does the king need to be wearing royal clothing? Rav Ovadia Yosef in Sh”t Yabia Omer 8:22(25) rules that one doesn’t make the Bracha with Shem UMalchut if the king is wearing normal clothing (not royal clothes). Actually, Rav Ovadyah Yosef writes that when the US President Nixon came to Israel that they made the Bracha without Shem UMalchut because he was wearing normal clothes. Rav Moshe HaLevi in Birkat Hashem (vol 4 3:32) agrees. [See, however, Halacha Brurah 224:14 writes that even if the king isn’t wearing royal clothing but as long as he is recognizably respected by his officers that surround him and by the many people coming to see him, then one may make the Bracha with Shem UMalchut on such a king. Sh”t Elyashiv HaKohen 2:26 quotes Rav Mazuz who agrees with Halacha Brurah.]
    • Piskei Teshuvot 224:6,7 concludes that nowadays one should make this Bracha without Shem UMalchut for seeing a king, queen, president, or prime minister.
    • See also Shu"t Minchas Elazar Vol. 5 Siman 7, Shu"t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 1 Siman 35.
  13. Halacha Brurah 224:15 quoting Sh”t Bear Moshe 2:9(4), 2:14(16), Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 1:35, Sh”t Rivevot Efraim 1:47(3), B’tzel Hachachma 2:19 and others who all make this distinction between staring and seeing based on Beit Yosef 75 d"h viasur. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Braun in She’arim Metzuyanim B’halacha 1:60:7 rules however that one cannot recite the blessing over a queen because a man may never even gaze at a woman. See also Rav Moshe Shternbuch in Sh”t Teshuvot ViHanhagot 2:139 rules that since the obligation is based on the honor given to that monarch, that one should in fact recite the beracha upon seeing the monarch of modern day England, even a female despite the fact that we don't allow for a Jewish monarch to be a women.
  14. Yechave Daat 2:28 compares it to saying birkat halevana upon seeing the moon in the mirror, which we do not do based on the gemara in rosh hashana 24b and birkei yosef Choshen Mishpat 35:11
  15. S”A 224:12, Mishna Brurah 224:17, Piskei Teshuvot 224:10, Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 604), Kitzur S"A 60:11
  16. Piskei Teshuvot 224:10, Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 605)
  17. Halichot Shlomo 23:26 (in the footnote) writes that if one didn't make the bracha immediately upon seeing the Jewish cemetery, one may make the bracha as long as the sight effects oneself.
  18. Halichot Shlomo 23:12, Piskei Teshuvot 225:2. Mishna Brurah 225:2 says to recite shehecheyanu upon seeing a friend, parent, or teacher that one has not seen in 30 days as long as there hasn't been any correspondence.
  19. Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 605) writes that the minhag is to make both these Brachot under the conditions of S”A. However, Vezot HaBracha (pg 171) quotes Rav Mordechai Eliyahu who says that the minhag is not to make these Brachot nowadays.
  20. S”A 224:5
  21. S”A 224:5, Piskei Teshuvot 225:3 quoting the Sh”t Divrei Yetsiv 1:91 and Brachat HaBayit Shaar 29:3