Difference between revisions of "Daily Halacha"

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==The Weekly Halachic Analysis==
 
==The Weekly Halachic Analysis==
<p style="text-indent: 2em"> While you could have thought that there's nothing to lose by answering [[amen]] if you didn't hear the bracha, the gemara seems to shatter such an idea. Shockingly, the Gemara [[Brachot]] 47a states that if you didn't hear the bracha, you should not answer an [[Amen]] Yetoma, an [[Amen]], which is orphaned and separated from the bracha. Moreover, Ben Azzai says not only is it forbidden, but if you do it, there is a curse that such a person should pass away, leaving his children orphans, Chas VeShalom! What could have possibly prompted Chazal to consider answering [[Amen]] Yetoma such a grievous sin? </p>
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<p style="text-indent: 2em">In order to address our question, perhaps we can gain some insight from seeing how the Rishonim defined the parameters of [[Amen]] Yetoma. Rashi and Tosfot<ref>Rashi ([[Brachot]] 47a s.v. Yetoma) and Tosfot ([[Brachot]] 47a s.v. [[Amen]])</ref> ask that the Gemara [[Sukkah]] (51b) seems to contradict the Gemara [[Brachot]]. The Gemara [[Sukkah]] relates how there was such a multitude of people in the shul of Alexandria that some people couldn't hear the Shaliach Tzibbur. To facilitate people [[answering Amen]], the gemara says, the Shaliach Tzibbur would wave a flag as he finished the bracha so everyone could see that they should answer [[Amen]]. Seemingly, this gemara takes for granted that it is permitted to answer [[Amen]] even if one didn't hear the bracha. Rashi and Tosfot both answer that [[answering Amen]] is only an issue if you don't know which bracha was made or if you don't know if someone made a bracha at all. If you know that someone made a certain bracha, however, even if you didn't hear it, you can say [[Amen]].<ref>Regarding the halacha, whether the opinion of Rashi is accepted, see S"A 124:8</ref> That's why the people of the shul in Alexandria were able to answer [[Amen]] even though they didn't hear the bracha.</p>
 
<p style="text-indent: 2em">Based on the explanation of Rashi, one could suggest that the reason that saying [[Amen]] without knowing which bracha was made is so severe is because [[Amen]] is meant to be a statement affirming the truth of the blessing, expressing one's faith in Hashem's abilities and praise.<ref>This explanation of Amen Yetoma is developed by Rabbi Zalman Melamed [http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/shiur.asp?id=16852 on yeshiva.org.il]. Rav Soloveitchik in Reshimot [[Shiurim]] ([[Brachot]] 47a, p. 501 s.v. VeNirah) explains that Rashi and Tosfot hold that [[Amen]] is a function of expressing one's Emunah in the content of the bracha, in which case only knowledge of the bracha is necessary. The Rabbenu Yonah, however, understood that [[Amen]] is a way of accepting the bracha upon oneself, in which case, having knowledge of the bracha without hearing its words isn't sufficient.</ref> If you don't know which bracha was made and you still say that you affirm its validity, your words become meaningless. Moreover, your intended praise of Hashem turns out to be hollow and without understanding. That's why, says the Maharal<ref>Netivot Olam (Netiv HaAvoda ch. 11; Sifrei Maharal Edition v. 1, p. 112)</ref>, unlike a bracha which is valid if said without understanding as it is intrinsically meaningful, however, an [[Amen]] is a statement of Emunah which is useless without understanding. </p>
 
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==Summary of the Daily Halacha's==
 
==Summary of the Daily Halacha's==
# Chazal viewed the recitation of [[Amen]] very highly. In fact, Chazal tell us that responding [[Amen]] is of greater significance than reciting the Beracha. The failure to recite [[Amen]] is considered a gross transgression, while responding [[Amen]] with great concentration opens the gates of Gan Eden. <ref>Gemara [[Brachot]] 53b, Chaye Adam (Klal 6:1), Gemara [[Shabbat]] 119b, Rashi [[Shabbat]] 119b s.v. BeChol</ref>
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# The Gemara notes that there is an apparent contradiction between two pesukim in Tehillim. On one hand, the pasuk says that Hashem owns the world, yet, the other pasuk describes how the land was given to manking. Chazal explain that indeed, everything belongs to Hashem, but once a person recites a bracha over a certain worldly pleasure, he acquires it.<ref> Gemara [[Brachot]] 35a</ref> Chazal, therefore, instituted a series of [[brachot]] to be recited every morning, each blessing corresponding to another of the various worldly benefits and pleasures.  
# The letters of [[Amen]] are the root letters of the word Emunah, belief or trust. By responding [[Amen]] one declares: "I believe in the bracha that I have just heard and I affirm its truth." Additionally, when responding [[Amen]] one should have in mind the beginning of the Bracha, "Baruch Atta Hashem", that Hashem's name is Blessed. <ref>Shulchan Aruch 124:6, Mishna Brurah 124:24</ref>
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# Many poskim rule that while reciting [[Birchot HaShachar]], the morning [[Berachos]], and while reciting blessing of praise or thanks, one does not need to stand. Others recommend standing. Some say that this only applies if it will not detract from one's concentration.<ref>Pri Megadim (Peticha LeHilchot [[Brachot]] #18 and M"Z 432:3, Halichot Shlomo ch. 20, Teshuvot VeHanhagot 2:37</ref>
# One should answer [[Amen]] to any blessing one hears whether he wishes to fulfill an obligation or not. Moreover, the obligation to respond [[Amen]] even applies to a Bracha that does not contain Hashem's Name, such as answering to a Mi Sheberach or HaRachaman. <ref>Shulchan Aruch 124:6, 189:5, 215:9 </ref>
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# In Talmudic times each of the [[Birchot HaShachar]] were recited when the particular benefit for which it was composed occurred: One would open his eyes and recite the blessing Poke'ach Ivrim; when one would sit up he would say, [[Matir]] Asurim; etc. Nowadays, because of a concern of unclean hands when reciting the [[blessings]], as well as the prevalence of those without sufficient knowledge of Halacha, we recite all the [[Brachot]] at one time, after preparing oneself for Teffilah.<ref>Shulchan Aruch 46:1-2, Aruch HaShulchan 46:9</ref>
# The proper intention of the word [[Amen]] changes with the Bracha. When [[answering Amen]] to [[Birchot HaMitzvah]] or [[Birchot HaNehenin]], one's intention should be to affirm the truth of the Bracha and his belief in it. When answering to Birchot HaShevach, one should have in mind that he is affirming the truth of that praise. When responding [[Amen]] to Tefillot one's [[Amen]] should be a request of Hashem to fulfill that [[prayer]]. <ref>Shulchan Aruch 124:6, Mishna Brurah 124:25</ref>
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# In three of the [[Birchot HaShachar]], we thank Hashem for not making us a non-Jew, who isn't obligated in any mitzvot or a slave who is limited in the mitzvot he is obligated in. Men also recite a bracha thanking Hashem for not being created a woman who is not as obligated as men in certain mitzvot. At this time, women also affirm their unique status in Judaism and recite SheAsani Kirsono.<ref>Tur and Shulchan Aruch 46:4</ref>
# When reciting [[Kiddush]] on Friday night, we say the words "ויהי ערב ויהי בקר" quietly before saying "יום הששי". In truth, ויהי ערב is actually the second part of the Passuk which precedes יום הששי. We don’t say those words out loud because the first letters of יום הששי ויכלו השמים form the name of Hashem.<ref>Rama 271:10, Levush 271:10, Aruch HaShulchan 271:25, Chatom Sofer OC 10</ref>
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==Sources==
 
==Sources==
 
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Latest revision as of 01:38, 15 July 2020

The Weekly Halachic Analysis

Summary of the Daily Halacha's

  1. The Gemara notes that there is an apparent contradiction between two pesukim in Tehillim. On one hand, the pasuk says that Hashem owns the world, yet, the other pasuk describes how the land was given to manking. Chazal explain that indeed, everything belongs to Hashem, but once a person recites a bracha over a certain worldly pleasure, he acquires it.[1] Chazal, therefore, instituted a series of brachot to be recited every morning, each blessing corresponding to another of the various worldly benefits and pleasures.
  2. Many poskim rule that while reciting Birchot HaShachar, the morning Berachos, and while reciting blessing of praise or thanks, one does not need to stand. Others recommend standing. Some say that this only applies if it will not detract from one's concentration.[2]
  3. In Talmudic times each of the Birchot HaShachar were recited when the particular benefit for which it was composed occurred: One would open his eyes and recite the blessing Poke'ach Ivrim; when one would sit up he would say, Matir Asurim; etc. Nowadays, because of a concern of unclean hands when reciting the blessings, as well as the prevalence of those without sufficient knowledge of Halacha, we recite all the Brachot at one time, after preparing oneself for Teffilah.[3]
  4. In three of the Birchot HaShachar, we thank Hashem for not making us a non-Jew, who isn't obligated in any mitzvot or a slave who is limited in the mitzvot he is obligated in. Men also recite a bracha thanking Hashem for not being created a woman who is not as obligated as men in certain mitzvot. At this time, women also affirm their unique status in Judaism and recite SheAsani Kirsono.[4]

Sources

  1. Gemara Brachot 35a
  2. Pri Megadim (Peticha LeHilchot Brachot #18 and M"Z 432:3, Halichot Shlomo ch. 20, Teshuvot VeHanhagot 2:37
  3. Shulchan Aruch 46:1-2, Aruch HaShulchan 46:9
  4. Tur and Shulchan Aruch 46:4