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Revision as of 20:46, 14 March 2014 by ChachamY
- 1 Obligation
- 2 The extent of the obligation
- 3 What type of learning requires Birchot HaTorah?
- 4 The Text of the Brachot
- 5 Someone who forgot to make the Brachot
- 6 How they are to be said
- 7 Interruptions that would require new Brachot
- 8 Sleeping during the day
- 9 Nighttime
- 10 Waking up in middle of the night
- 11 Sources
- One should be very careful about Birchot HaTorah to say them before learning. The Brachot should be said with great Simcha (happiness) that we’re fortunate to be chosen and be privileged with the Torah. 
- Before one learns Torah one must make the following Brachot :
The extent of the obligation
- One should be particularly careful about saying the Birchot HaTorah because they show one's appreciation of Hashem’s gift of Torah to the Jewish people. 
- Some hold Birchot HaTorah are a Biblical Mitzvah and some consider it a Rabbinic institution. 
- Someone who was in doubt, preferably, one should hear someone else make the Brachot (and both the listening and the speaker should have intent to fulfill the obligation), otherwise one should have intent to fulfill the obligation with the Bracha of Ahavah Rabba or Ahavat Olam and learn right after Davening. If that’s not possible, according to Ashkenazim, one may make the Bracha of the Asher Bacher Banu.  However, according to Sephardim, if one can't hear the bracha from someone else or have intent that one's bracha of Ahavat Olam fulfill one's obligation, one should not say the brachot.
- One has to make Birchot HaTorah for any learning including Torah, midrash, Mishna, and Gemara. 
- Women are also obligated in making the Birchot HaTorah. 
What type of learning requires Birchot HaTorah?
- Writing Torah even without reading, if one understands what he’s reading, it is considered learning for which you have to make Birchot HaTorah. 
- According to Ashkenazim, because of a dispute one should not think Torah before making Birchot HaTorah, however it’s permissible to do a Mitzvah even though it’ll cause one to thing about the laws of the Mitzvah.  However, according to Sephardim thinking words of Torah don't require Birchot HaTorah and so it's permissible to think Torah before Birchat HaTorah. 
- Hearing a speech of Divrei Torah from a person or a electronic device requires the Brachot. 
- Looking into a Sefer Kodesh and only reading with one’s eyes, even without saying the words, requires Brachot. 
- Telling someone a halacha without giving a reason is a dispute of the poskim and should be strict to say Torah Brachot. 
- One who hears a berachah may answer Amen before reciting these berachot. One also may answer Kedushah before reciting these berachot, even though the responses are themselves biblical verses. 
The Text of the Brachot
- The first bracha Ashkenazim conclude with the words “LaAsoak BeDivrei Torah” and Sephardim conclude with the words “Al Divrei Torah" 
- The second bracha begins with VeHaRev with a Vav. Some Ashkenazim have the custom to say it without a Vav. 
- When saying Birchot HaTorah especially “VeNehiyeh Anachnu VeTzeTzeynu” on should pray for one’s children to be Talmidei Chachamim, Tzaddikim, and Baalei Middot. 
- The minhag is to say the Pesukim of Birkat Cohanim and the משניות of Elu Devarim after Birchot HaTorah. If one didn’t learn then, it’s a dispute whether one fulfilled one’s obligation and so one should have intent to fulfill one’s obligation with the Bracha of Ahava Rabba. 
- There is a dispute whether the first bracha of Birchot HaTorah includes Haarev Nah or not. In light of this, there's a dispute whether one should answer Amen if one hears someone finish the bracha of LaAsok BeDivrei Torah, for Ashkenazim, or Al Divrei Torah, for Sephardim. Therefore, some advise saying this bracha quietly so that the listener won't be in doubt as to whether to answer Amen. 
Someone who forgot to make the Brachot
- The Bracha of Ahavat Olam (the second bracha of Birchot Kriyat Shema) exempts one’s obligation of Birchot HaTorah only if one learns immediately after Tefilah. 
- If one forgot if he said the Birchot HaTorah (and didn’t yet say Ahavat Olam), Sephardim shouldn’t make a bracha, but Ashkenazim can make the Asher Bachar Banu Bracha. 
How they are to be said
- The Brachot can be said standing or sitting. 
- Some say that one can interrupt between the Brachot and the learning, but it’s correct not to, and so the practice is the say the Parshat Birkat Cohanim right after the Brachot. 
- It is good to recite one's berachah out loud, to enable others to respond Amen. However, this is not an obligation. 
Interruptions that would require new Brachot
- One who stops from his learning with working, bathing, or sleeping, isn’t an interruption for his learning and he doesn’t make new Brachot. 
Sleeping during the day
- If one slept during the day for a long period of time one does not make Birchot HaTorah again upon waking up. Even though there is what to rely on to one to make the Brachot, the Minhag HaOlam is not to make the Brachot, and one should instead hear them from someone who is obligated to make them (both must have kavana, and after the Bracha, both learn some pesukim such as Parshat Birkat Cohanim). 
- The night goes after the day with regards to Birkas HaTorah; therefore, one doesn't make a new Birkas HaTorah when night begins. However, if one goes to sleep at night, one will need to make a new Birkas HaTorah when one wakes up..
- If one woke up before Olot HaShachar (after Chatzot) and wants to learn, one should make Birchot HaTorah even if one will go to sleep afterwards. If one does go back to sleep Shinat Kevah during the night, there’s what to rely on to make Birchot HaTorah a second time. 
- Someone who wakes up early in the morning before dawn can make all the Brachot (Brachot HaShachar and Birchot HaTorah) except Hanoten LeSachvi Binah and Parshat HaTamid which should wait until Or hayom. The Birchot HaTorah then covers his Brachot all day. 
- If one didn't sleep all night, such as on the night of Shavuot, there's a dispute whether one should make Birchot HaTorah. According to Ashkenazim, one should try to hear the Brachot from someone else, and then say some pesukim afterwards. If one is unable to do that, one should have intent that one's Bracha of Ahava Rabba should count for Birchot HaTorah, and then learn after Tefillah.However, the Sephardic minhag is to say Birchot HaTorah by oneself.
- If one slept Shinat Kevah the day before staying up all night, one should make the Birchot HaTorah in the morning after one didn’t sleep. 
Waking up in middle of the night
- S”A 47:1
- Mishna Brurah 47:4
- Ramban in Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam adds Birkat HaTorah as a Mitzvah Deoritta based on Gemara Brachot which learns these Brachot from the Pasuk “Ki Shem Hashem Ekrah Havu Godel LeElokenu”. See Ramban there and Minchat Chinuch 430:5 who classify these Brachot as Brachot of praise. Because of the dispute in the Rishonim whether these Brachot are Deoritta or Derabanan the rule of Safek Brachot LeHakel still applies.
- S"A 47:6 rules that the Bracha of HaRev Nah begins with the letter Vav to connect it to the last Bracha. The Rama writes that others hold that one should say it without a vav, it's better to say it with a vav. Magen Avraham 47:4 explains that the vav shows that the first and text brachot are really one long bracha, and the opinion that the Rama quotes who argues that there should be no vav holds that they are considered two separate brachot. Mishna Brurah 47:11 agrees.
- S”A 47:5
- S”A 47:1. Gemara Nedarim 81a says because the Jews didn’t say Birchot HaTorah the fist Bet HaMikdash and Israel was destroyed. The Bach 57:1 explains that their intention was to learn Torah just to learn the knowledge and be arrogant in their wisdom. They didn’t internalize the holiness of Torah into their body and soul and this caused Hashem’s Shechina to be removed.
- Mishna Brurah 47:1
- Mishna Brurah 47:1
- Yalkut Yosef 47:2 writes that since there are some who hold brachot hatorah are derabbanan if one is in doubt one should not say the bracha based on the klal of safek brachot lehakel.
- Brachot 11b, S”A 47:2, Yalkut Yosef 47:2
- S”A 47:14, Magan Avraham 47:17 explains that it’s because women have to learn the Halachot relevant to them. Minchat Chinuch 430:5 says that women can make these Brachot because it’s a praise of Hashem for giving us the Torah. The Gra 47:18 argues that women shouldn’t have to make the Brachot because they’re exempt from Torah learning. However he allows women to make the Brachot like any other mitzvah from which women are exempt, Ashkenazic custom is to allow them to make a bracha.
- S”A 47:3 based on Avudraham pg 32. Magan Avraham 47:1 adds that one has to understand what he’s writing to be considered learning, but just copying over text isn’t learning. This is also the opinion of Buir Heitev 47:2
- Mishna Brurah 47:7 because of the Gra who argues on S"A.
- S”A 47:4 based on Shabbat 151a, Agur 2, and Tosfot 20b s.v. VeRav Chisda. This is also the opinion of Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 81) that it's permissible to think Torah before Birchat HaTorah.
- Yalkut Yosef 47:5
- Yalkut Yosef 47:6
- Rama on S”A 47:4 based on Ran (Shabbat 4b s.v. Makom, Avoda Zara 19b s.v. Tana) allows this because it’s just like thoughts of torah. However Yalkut Yosef 47:7 rules that because of a double doubt one should be strict to make Brachot.
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:39:1
- s.v. Maiy Mevarech) and Arizal (Shaar Kavonot Nusach Hatefilah) have the version of Sephardim- Al Divrei Torah. Rosh (Brachot 1:13) and Tur 47 have the version of the Ashkenazim of LaAsoak BeDivrei Torah.
- S”A 47:6 based on Tosfot (Brachot 46a s.v. Kol, Ketubot 8a s.v. Shehakol in name of Rabbenu Tam), Rosh (Brachot 1:13), Rabbenu Yonah 5b s.v. Veha, Rashi 11b s.v. VeRabbi Yochanan, and Mordechai 31. Rama says that the practice is say it without a Vav but it’s better to say it without a vav to satisfy all opinions. This opinion is sourced in the Rambam (Tefilah 7:10, Rashba 11b s.v. VeRabbi Yochanan, Bal HaMor s.v. Maiym, and Avudraham pg 44.
- Mishna Brurah 47:9, 10
- S”A 47:9-10, Mishna Brurah 47:19-20
- Kitzur S"A 7:1
- S”A 47:7 based on Brachot 11b says that one can fulfill the Brachot with the Bracha before Shema. Mishna Brurah 47:15 in name of Levush says that one can finish tefilah and it’s not called an interruption. Beiur Halacha s.v. Im Lamad implies from the Or Zaruh that finishing tefilah is ok but talking would be an interruption.
- Sephardim don’t make a bracha because it’s a safek Brachot lehakel since it’s a dispute in the rishonim if Birchot HaTorah is Deoritta (Ramban) or Derabanan (Rambam). This is also the opinion of (Yalkut Yosef Hilchot Pesukei Dezimrah 47:2 pg 60). Ashkenazim can make the Asher Bachar Banu bracha as the Mishna Brurah 47:1 says in the name of the Shagat Aryeh.
- Yalkut Yosef 47:15 pg 94
- S”A 47:9. Tosfot Brachot 11b s.v. Shkevar in name of the Ri, Rabbenu Yonah 5b, and Mordechai 31 hold an interruption isn’t a problem. Rambam (as understood by Bet Yosef) holds one can’t make an interruption. Magan Avraham 47:8 says that one can say these pesukim even before daylight unlike the Maharshal who says one doesn’t read pesukim of Birkat Cohanim at night.
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:39:2
- S”A 47:10. See Tosfot Brachot 11b.
- S”A 47:11 quotes those who say that a fixed sleep during the day is a hefsek, and then quotes those who say that it isn't a hefsek; the minhag follows the latter view. However, Eliyah Rabba 47:9 quotes many poskim who say that one should make a Beracha and agrees with them; Mishna Brurah 47:25 quotes many main acharonim who say to make a Birchas HaTorah, and concludes that one who does doesn't lose out. However, many contemporary poskim including Piskei Teshuvot 47:14, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 6:6, Rivevos Ephraim 8:609:1, Ishei Yisrael 6:25, Karna Deigrata 1:133, Halachically Speaking (vol 3, article 1, pg 5), and Piskei Teshuvot 47:14 write that the minhag is not to make any Birchot HaTorah for sleeping in the day.
- Shulchan Aruch 47:12, M"B S.K. 28
- Mishna Brurah 47:29,30
- S”A 47:13
- Mishna Brurah 47:28, Rabbi Hershel Schachter (cited by Bet Yitzchak vol 30, p. 592). The side that says one should say it views Birchas HaTorah as similar to other Birchos Hashachar, which are said every morning, regardless of whether one slept or not.
- Chazon Ovadyah (Yom Tov p. 312)
- Mishna Brurah 47:28 in name of Rabbi Akiva Eiger