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<p style="text-indent: 2em">The Gemara [[Brachot]] 45b says that one shouldn't answer [[amen]] to one's own bracha except for the bracha of [[Boneh]] Yerushalayim. Rashi (45b s.v. Ha) explains that [[Boneh]] Yerushalayim is only an example; in reality, the same would be true of any bracha that completed a series of [[brachot]]. [[Boneh]] Yerushalayim itself concludes the series of biblical [[brachot]] of [[Birkat HaMazon]].<ref>A number of rishonim agree with Rashi that [[Boneh]] Yerushalayim was only representative including the Rabbenu Chananel (cited by Tosfot (45b s.v. Ha), Bahag (ibid.), Rif([[Brachot]] 33b), Rabbenu Yonah([[Brachot]] 33b s.v. Ha DeAni), Rashba ([[Brachot]] 45b s.v. Lo Kasha), and Shitah Mikubeset ([[Brachot]] 45b s.v. Ha BeShaar).</ref> For example, according to Rashi, after the [[brachot]] of [[Kriyat Shema]] one should answer [[amen]] since it completes a sequence of [[brachot]]. Tosfot (45b s.v. Ha), however, notes that the common minhag was only to answer [[amen]] to one's own bracha after [[Boneh]] Yerushalayim.<ref>The Mordechai ([[Brachot]] 162) and Maharik 2:31 (cited by the Bet Yosef 51:3) are in agreement with Tosfot.</ref></p>
<p style="text-indent: 2em">While the Ashkenazic minhag is simple and follows Tosfot<ref>The Rama 215:1 writes that Ashkenazic minhag is in accordance with Tosfot.</ref>, the Sephardic minhag seems not to follow Rashi or Tosfot. The Tur 215:1 comments that the common minhag of his location was to answer [[amen]] after Yishtabach and [[Hallel]], but not after Birchat HaTorah for [[Kriyat HaTorah]] or [[Bracha Achrona]]. According to Rashi, seemingly one should have answered [[amen]] to all of the above, while Tosfot would have opted for not answering [[amen]] to any of them. In defense of the minhag, the Beit Yosef 51:3 suggests that really one should only answer [[amen]] to a concluding bracha if it concludes a sequence of [[brachot]] which were established to be said together, formally termed [[bracha]] ha'semucha lechaverta. He adds that the [[brachot]] of [[Pesukei DeZimrah]] and [[Hallel]] are considered as if they were consecutive since they surround pesukim of praise and are themselves forms of praise.<ref>The Beit Yosef explains this understanding within the opinion of the Rambam. He also cites the Mahari Ben Lev who explains a similar explanation within the opinion of the Rosh. The Kaf HaChaim 51:6 writes that the Sephardic minhag follows the Shulchan Aruch to answer [[amen]] after Yishtabach and [[Hallel]]. </ref></p>
<p style="text-indent: 2em">What is the logic for such a distinction? Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O.C. 5:9:1) explains that when one answers [[amen]] after a regular bracha it seems as though one is adding onto the institution of chazal. When one finishes a series of [[brachot]], however, one may answer [[amen]] to one's own bracha because in such a case, [[amen]] is seen as a conclusion of a section and not an addition to the text of chazal. He compares this to the Gemara [[Brachot]] 34b which forbids one from bowing during Shemona Esrei at points where chazal didn't institute an obligation to bow since it appears as though one is adding onto chazal's establishment.</p>
==Sources==
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