ARCHIVES: HILCHOS BIRCHAS HA’HODA’AH
(Halachos of Brachos of thanks and praise to Hashem)
BELOW ARE THE HALACHOS FROM THE DAILY EMAILS THAT WERE SENT OUT TO THE “HALACHA FOR TODAY” DAILY EMAIL LIST
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20 2009
1 )The Rambam (Hilchos Brachos Perek 10:26) writes: “…A person should give thanks for the[the good things that happened to him in the] past, and praise [Hashem] as much as his strength allows, and one who abundantly thanks and praises Hashem always, is praiseworthy”
This is an idea that we find in countless Pesukim throughout Tanach, such as in Tehillim Perek 34 where Dovid HaMelech says “Avarcha Es Hashem B’Chol Eis, Tamid TeHilaso B’Fi- I shall bless Hashem at all times; His praise shall be in my mouth always”
Although, one can and should thank and praise Hashem always in his/her own words, there are certain times and situations that require a special Bracha or Tefilah text with which to do so, as per the direction of our holy Chazal. We shall now endeavor to cover as many of these practical situations as we can.
2) A person who was in a dangerous situation (we shall discuss these situations more in detail in the days ahead B’Ezras Hashem), and survived, needs to express his/her thanks to Hashem for being saved by reciting the following Bracha, commonly referred t as “Birchas HaGomel”:
Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam HaGomel L’Chayavim Tovos SheGmalani Kol Tov- Blessed are You Hashem, our G-d, Master of the World who bestows kindness upon the guilty, for bestowing goodness upon me. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:1 and 2. See Mishna Berura S”K 4 where he explains the text to mean that Hashem bestows His infinite kindness even upon those who don’t deserve it)
This Bracha should L’Chatchilah be recited while standing. (Mishna Berura ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, DECEMBER 21 2009
1)Those who hear someone recite Birchas HaGomel should answer Amen, and then say ” Mi SheGmalcha Kol Tov, Hu Yigmalcha Kol Tov Selah- May He who bestowed goodness upon you continue to bestow every goodness upon you forever” (Shulchan Aruch 219:4 and 5. See also Elya Rabbah Siman 141:6 and Aruch HaShulchan 219:5.)
For some reason the prevalent Minhag when hearing this Bracha is to skip the “Amen” and immediately respond with “Mi SheGmalcha…” (See Shu”t Hisorerus Teshuva Siman 99 where he tries to find an acceptable defense (Limud Zechus) for this minhag, but says that L’Chatchilah it should definitely be answered, no different than any other Bracha.)
2) Some have the custom, after reciting this Bracha, to recite the chapter of “Mizmor L’Sodah” (Tehillim Perek 100) as this chapter was recited in the Bais HaMikdash whenever someone brought a Korban Todah, the sacrifice of thanks brought after being delivered from danger. (See Chayei Adam Klal 65:4 quoting the Shl”ah HaKadosh. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 195)
Some people have the custom to make a Seudas Hoda’ah (a feast of thanks) after being obligated to recite the Bracha of Hoda’ah. (See Shu”t Mishneh Halachos, Tinyana, Siman 175)
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22 2009
1) If one was in danger and was saved by means of an unnatural method (Nes Gamur), besides for reciting the Birchas HaGomel, the Bracha of “Baruch She’Asah Li Nes B’Makom HaZeh- Blessed is the One that performed for me a miracle in this spot” is recited the first time he/she returns to the spot where he/she was saved and then again each time that place is passed, provided that 30 days has passed. (We shall discuss more details of this Bracha in the near future B’Ezras Hashem) (See Sha’ar HaTzion 218:6. See also Mishna Berura 218:31 that Birchas HaGomel does not require an unnatural method of being saved)
If one was in various situations of danger and was saved from all of them, only one Birchas HaGomel is recited for all of them. (Mishna Berura Siman 219:3)
2) If a few people in the congregation are obligated in Birchas HaGomel (common during Bain Hazemanim, when a lot of Bachurim come home from studying overseas, or if Chas V’Shalom a few people were in an accident and all survived), each one can recite their own Birchas HaGomel. This is in fact the prevalent custom.
However, if one wants to be exempted by another’s Bracha, he may do so. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:5. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23 footnote 26 that doing so gives it the status of B’Rov Am Hadras Melech. See also Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 10 Siman 10)
If one is being exempted by another’s Birchas HaGomel, he ideally should be standing near the one reciting the Bracha. (Halichos Shlomo ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23 2009
1) One who was ill with a [serious] sickness (we shall discuss the definition of “serious” tomorrow B’Ezras Hashem), or underwent a surgery [on an internal organ], must recite Birchas HaGomel upon being totally healed. (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 12 Siman 18 and Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:2 regarding an internal procedure that isn’t considered life threatening today, such as inserting stents and balloons and eye surgeries, that they still require Birchas HaGomel due to their being internal. See also Orchos Rabbeinu from the Steipler page 91 where he questions whether an operation to fix a broken bone requires Birchas HaGomel upon healing.)
A Jewish male who was not circumcised as a child, and undergoes a Bris Milah when he gets older, recites Birchas HaGomel upon being healed. (See Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 4:31 and Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 19 Siman 53)
2) If one was only partially healed, or even mostly healed, no Birchas HaGomel is recited until the healing is totally complete. (Mishna Berura Siman 219:1)
Likewise, if one’s sickness is in remission, but according to the doctors may possibly return, no Birchas HaGomel is recited until a totally clean bill of health is received. (See Kaf HaChaim 219:43. This seems to be evident from the Mishna Berura 219:25 as well. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 4 Siman 152:3 and Shu”t Divrei Yatziv Siman 86)
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24 2009
1)We mentioned yesterday that one who was ill with a [serious] sickness must recite Birchas HaGomel upon being totally healed.
There is a dispute amongst the Poskim as to what is considered a “sickness” in regard to this:
The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 219:8) rules that upon recovering from any sickness, even one that was not life threatening, the Birchas HaGomel is recited.
According to the Rama (ibid.) only upon recovering from a serious [i.e. life threatening] illness would the Bracha be recited.
The Mishna Berura (219:28) rules that a) if one became ill with an illness that effects the entire body, to the point that we would allow a non Jew to desecrate the Shabbos to obtain a cure, even if it isn’t life threatening or b) one became ill [with a non life threatening illness]to the point that they needed bed rest for three days, (or with a life threatening illness which required bed rest for even a shorter period of time) then the Birchas HaGomel would be recited upon being cured. (See Biur Halacha Siman 219 Dibur Hamaschil Kegon Maka for more about the three day requirement)
2) The prevalent custom today’s days is not to recite Birchas HaGomel after being healed from common illnesses such as Flus, Cellulitis, infections etc. even if it was accompanied by a high fever and required 3 days of bed rest.
Perhaps the reason for this is that with the many medical advances in today’s world (for which of course we must thank Hashem) these common illnesses are highly treatable and seldom lead to life threatening situations, and thus are no longer considered illnesses that require the Birchas HaGomel. (See Ben Ish Chai Parshas Eikev Siman 67. Based on his ruling there, perhaps even on the Flu etc. it should be recited without Shem U’Malchus. For Halacha L’ma’aseh, of course, a Rav must be consulted. See also Ohr L’Tzion Perek 14:44)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH , DECEMBER 25 2009
(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) We learned that one who was in a dangerous situation and was saved recites Birchas HaGomel. We will now discuss some various different “situations” and their Halachic status.
The Poskim point out that one needn’t necessarily be in actual danger, rather even if one was in a place or situation where it is common to encounter danger, if he passed through and was never presented with any actual danger the Bracha is still recited. (See Biur Halacha Siman 219 Dibur Hamaschil Yordei HaYam where he cites an example of one who travels over calm waters of a sea would recite Gomel, because it is common to encounter dangerous waves etc. in the place he crossed. See also Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 113)
2) One who was in a serious car collision that potentially could have caused death, and survived, recites Birchas HaGomel (Based on Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:9 that one who had a “collision” with a bull recites Gomel)
One who was “almost” in a serious collision and at the last moment averted the danger, does not recite Birchas HaGomel (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol.2 Siman 136. He writes there also in the name of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zatzal, that in any case where one was in or near danger, where the Halacha is that one does not recite Birchas HaGomel, still it is important to thank Hashem and say various Tefilos of Hoda’ah. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:1, Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 49 and Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 18 Siman 22)
One who was in a war zone and returned to safety unscathed recites Birchas HaGomel. (See Shu” t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 5 Siman 24:2)
Soldiers who are in combat and are saved from an actual danger recite Birchas HaGomel, even if they will still remain in that war zone. (See Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 9 Siman 45 at length for other details that pertain to soldiers in and out of war zones. See also Shu”t L’Horos Nosson Vol. 11 Siman 12)
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
1) One who was kidnapped by terrorists or other dangerous beings, and was released, recites Birchas HaGomel (See Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 2 Siman 25)
A caravan of vehicles that was traveling through enemy territory where stones were thrown at them with the intent to kill, if one vehicle was damaged and in danger, the members of all the vehicles in the caravan, even the ones that were not damaged but could have been, recite Birchas HaGomel. (Shu”t L’Horos Nosson Vol. 11 Siman 13)
If one was held up by an armed robber who threatened to kill him unless he handed over money, since his life was in danger, he recites Birchas HaGomel upon getting out of the situation alive. (Shu”t Va’Yan Dovid Siman 36)
2) One who was in prison [for an extended period of time], if it was for a matter that could have resulted in a death sentence, according to all Poskim he recites Birchas HaGomel upon being released.
If he was incarcerated for other reasons, and was never in danger of being executed, it is a big dispute amongst the Poskim if Birchas HaGomel is recited upon being released, and according to many Poskim the Bracha should thus be recited without Shem U’malchus, especially in today’s society where execution is never carried out for anything other than capital crimes, and even then very rarely. (See Biur Halacha Siman 219 Dibur Hamaschil Chavush. See also Kaf HaChaim 219:11, Aruch HaShulchan 219:5, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 61:1 and Chayei Adam Klal 65:6. See also Shu”t banyan Av Vol. 1 Siman 6)
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27 2009
1)One who journeyed through a sea and arrives at his destination safely recites Birchas HaGomel. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:1)
This only applies to a sea or ocean (i.e. where the large waves and other elements can be dangerous) and not to rivers and other calm bodies of water. (See Biur Halacha Siman 219 Dibur Hamaschil Yordei)
The Bracha is only recited after arriving on dry land, even if something dangerous transpired while the ship is still en route from which they were saved. (Kaf HaChaim Siman 219:4 and Mishna Berura 219:1)
2) One who travels through an underwater tunnel (such as the tunnel connecting England and France) is not considered to have journeyed through the sea and does not recite Birchas HaGomel upon leaving the tunnel. (Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 9 Siman 72 and Shu”t L’Horos Nosson Vol. 7 Siman 10. See also Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak Vol. 4 Siman 11)
Similarly, one who takes a ferry ride or otherwise is on a ship for a short period of time and not for an extended journey, does not recite Birchas HaGomel upon getting off the ship, unless the ship was in actual danger at some point in the ride.
Today’s days when ship travel is basically nonexistent, A Rav should be consulted with the specific details of any ship ride to determine if Birchas HaGomel is halachically required.
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, DECEMBER 28 2009
1) One who travels through an uninhabited desert and makes it out safely, recites Birchas HaGomel (Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:1)
One who travels through a desert on a train where he is protected from the dangerous elements of the desert (e.g. snakes, scorpions, bandits etc.) does not recite Birchas HaGomel. (See Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 65:2)
2) However, if traveling by car, even in a caravan with others, where the danger of bandits still exists, Birchas HaGomel is indeed recited. (Sefer Birchas HaBayis Siman 327:4. He writes that this would apply to traveling by train as well if the danger of bandits still exists)
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29 2009
1) According to many Poskim, one who flew on an airplane and landed safely must recite Birchas HaGomel, and according to many Poskim this applies to all flights regardless if they were domestic or overseas and regardless of the amount of time spent in the air. (See Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim Vol. 2 Siman 59 where Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal writes very strongly: “I heard that some Poskim rule that only for flights over water is the Gomel required, and there is no basis for this ruling, and of course the Bracha needs to be recited for all flights”. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:5.)
Some Poskim differentiate between flying between countries (where the Bracha needs to be recited even if not flying over water) and between two cities in one country (where no Bracha is recited). (See Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 11 Siman 14)
Some Poskim including Chacham Rav Ovadia Yosef Zatzal (in Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 2 Siman 26) rule that only flights whose duration is more than 72 minutes require Birchas HaGomel.
Many Poskim, however, have a hard time understanding this difference between short flights and long flights, as any amount of time spent in a speeding airplane hundreds of feet above the ground is a situation of extreme danger, as many plane crashes have happened almost immediately upon takeoff.
(See Shu”t L’Horos Nosson Vol. 11 Siman 14. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 1 Siman 193, Vol. 2 Siman 148 and Vol. 3 Siman 81 where he discusses various different customs regarding this.)
Some Poskim say that nowadays when air travel is much safer than it used to be, no Gomel is recited, or at minimum it is recited without Shem U’Malchus. (See Shu”t Chelkas Yaakov Siman 55, Shu”t Kinyan Torah Vol. 1 Siman 16 quoting the Brisker Rav Zatzal and Shu”t B’Tzel HaChachma Vol. 1 Siman 20)
For Halacha L’ma’aseh, as always, a Rav must be consulted to determine if and when to recite the Bracha of Gomel after flying.
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30 2009
1) Ideally, the Bracha of Gomel should be recited within three days of being saved from the danger, even if by doing it within three days it will have to be said not in front of a Sefer Torah as is the custom. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:20)
B’dieved, even up to five days is considered right away. (See Be’er Heitev 219:9)
However, if the Bracha was not recited within three [or five] days, it may still be recited for a while longer, as long as a very long time has not elapsed. (See Mishna Berura 219:8. See Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 3 Siman 16 and Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 3 Siman 14. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 1Siman 197)
If indeed a long time has passed, to the point that many of the details of the ordeal , or even the ordeal itself, is already being forgotten (5 days according to some Poskim, 30 days according to others and 12 months, according to all Poskim), the Bracha is no longer recited [with Shem U'malchus]. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 219:7 and Shu”t Shevet HaKehasi Vol. 1 Siman 100:1)
2) A minor does not recite Birchas HaGomel. (Mishna Berura Siman 219:3)
There are various opinions regarding women and Birchas HaGomel, and we shall B’Ezras Hashem discuss them in the near future in more detail.
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31 2009
1) The Bracha of Gomel must be recited in the presence of ten adult Jewish males. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 219:3)
The one reciting the Bracha may be counted amongst the ten. (Mishna Berura 219:6. See also Sha’ar HaTzion S”K 7 and Kaf HaChaim 219:19 for opinions that hold that ten additional men besides the one reciting the Bracha are required)
If it was recited with less than ten men present, it should be repeated again in front of ten men, but this time without Shem U’malchus. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See also Ben Ish Chai Parshas Eikev Siman 62 and Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 143)
If no ten men are present, the reciting of the Bracha should be postponed until 10 men can be gathered.
However, if by postponing the Bracha it will cause 30 days to pass from when the time the Bracha was obligated to be recited, it should be recited immediately even without ten people. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:8)
2) Ideally at least two of the ten men present should be Talmidei Chachamim (Learned Torah scholars) who study Halacha. However, if such scholars are not readily available, the Bracha should be recited in front of any ten males. (Shulchan Aruch 219:3 and Be’er Heitev S”K 5. See also Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Lo Sh’chichi Rabanan)
The prevalent custom is to recite Birchas HaGomel in Shul at Krias HaTorah. (Shulchan Aruch ibid. See Aishel Avraham (Butchatch) Siman 219 that the Bracha should be recited after the ending Bracha of the last person’s Aliya)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JANUARY 1 2010
(DOUBLE PORTION L’KAVOD SHABBOS KODESH)
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) A woman, after giving birth to a child, is considered like an ill person that recovered from an illness, and as such would seemingly to need to recite Birchas HaGomel.
However, there are various different customs regarding women and Birchas HaGomel, as we will now discuss.
Some Poskim rule that any time a woman is in a situation where she was saved from a danger, she should recite Birchas HaGomel, no different than a man.(Siddur Ya’avetz, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 65:2 and Ben Ish Chai Parsha Eikev Siman 65. See Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:4 that only after childbirth is Birchas HaGomel recited by women and not for other dangers that they survive.)
Some have the custom for the woman to come to Shul and recite the Bracha in the Ezras Nashim (women’s section of the Shul) at a time when ten men are present in the Shul. (See Shu”t Yechaveh Da’as Vol. 4 Siman 14 and 15 and Shu”t Yabia Omer Vol. 8 Siman 23:15)
Some have the custom that a minyan is assembled in the woman’s home to daven a Tefilah and she recites the Bracha afterwards. ( See Shu”t Har Tzvi Siman 118, Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 65:6, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer Vol. 19 Siman 53 and Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 Siman 4:31)
Others have the custom that the woman’s husband should recite the Birchas HaGomel and she should answer Amen, and thus exempt herself with his Bracha. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:17 that a man and his wife are considered one body and thus one may recite the Bracha of thanks on the others’ behalf. However, if doing so in her presence the text of the Bracha must be changed to “HaGomel L’Chayavim Tovos SheGmalach Kol Tov” or if she is not present, he should say “HaGomel L’Chayavim Tovos SheGamal L’Ishti Kol Tov”. The Aruch HaShulchan 219:9 frowns upon this custom)
Others have the custom that women do not recite Birchas HaGomel at all. (See Mishna Berura Siman 219:3 that this was the custom in his time, the reason being that Gomel needs to be recited in front of 10 men, and it isn’t appropriate for a woman to do so. This is also the ruling of Shu”t Halachos Ketanos Vol. 2 Siman 161 and the Aruch HaShulchan 219:6. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 4 Siman 22 regarding alternative ways for a woman to express her thanks to Hashem without reciting Birchas HaGomel. See also Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 4 Siman 53. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:4)
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
1) Another custom is for the woman to recite the Bracha in the presence of nine women and one man. (Mishna Berura ibid, quoting opinion of Elya Rabbah, Chayei Adam and Knesses Hagedola. Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal, in the very last Teshuva that he wrote in his life (Printed in Orach Chaim Vol. 5 Siman 14) argues and maintains that there is no advantage to a “minyan” of women, and the Gomel is best recited in front of one person, a man or a woman, and if she is married it is best recited in front of her husband)
However, if the Bracha is being recited with less than ten men present, it is best recited without Shem U’Malchus. (Kaf HaChaim 219:3)
Some have the custom for the woman to recite Birchas HaGomel in front of ten male relatives only (Kaf HaChaim ibid.)
Each of the aforementioned customs has basis in Halacha, and each woman should conduct herself as per the custom of her community.
2) If a woman has the custom to recite Birchas HaGomel after giving birth to a child, she must wait [at least] seven days after the birth of the child to be considered completely healed. (Kaf HaChaim 219:7. See also Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 8 Siman 120)
HALACHOS FOR SUNDAY, JANUARY 3 2010
1) One who sees a place where a miracle was performed for the Jewish nation, such as the site of the Yam Suf (Red sea, which was split for the Jewish nation after they were freed from Egypt), the site of the walls of Yericho (which miraculously were swallowed into the ground thus allowing Yehoshua and the Jews to conquer the city), and other similar places , recites the following Bracha: Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam SheAsah Nisim L’Avoseinu B’Makom HaZeh- Blessed Are You Hashem, Our G-d, Master of the world, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in this place” (Shulchan Aruch Siman 218:1)
There is no need to specify the nature of the miracle, simply saying “Who performed miracles for our ancestors in this place” suffices. (Biur Halacha Siman 218 Dibur Hamaschil Mevarech)
However, since the exact location of these sites isn’t known for sure today, even when one sees the spot that is purported to be the location, the Bracha is recited without Shem U’Malchus. (See Kaf HaChaim 218:4. See also Mishna Berura 218:1-7 for a listing of some of these locations.)
2) A Ger (a convert to Judaism) may recite this Bracha and include the words “L’Avoseinu- for our ancestors” (See Sifsei Chachamim to Brachos 54a Dibur Hamaschil HaRoeh Makom)
This Bracha is only recited if the miracle was performed for all or most of the Jewish nation, and not for a miracle performed for any group of Jews. (Mishna Berura 218:10. Of course, the ones who experienced the miracle themselves recite their own Bracha, as we shall discuss in the near future)
HALACHOS FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 4 2010
1) An individual who experienced a personal miracle, recites the following Bracha upon seeing the site of the miracle: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam SheAsah Li Nes B’Makom HaZeh- Blessed Are You Hashem, Our G-d, Master of the world, Who performed a miracle for me in this place” (Shulchan Aruch Siman 218:4)
2) Likewise, a son/daughter [and a grandson/granddaughter] and a student (Talmid Muvhak only) of the one who had the miracle performed for them recite a Bracha upon seeing the site of the miracle. (See Mishna Berura Siman 218:16 and Sha’ar HaTziyun S”K 7 regarding when great grandchildren would recite this Bracha. See also Aruch HaShulchan 218:7 who rules that great grandchildren never recite this Bracha. See also Halichos Shlomo Perek 23:9 for more guidelines regarding children and grandchildren. Regarding a Rebbi/Talmid Muvhak see Mishna Berura 218:20)
The text they say is “…SheAsah Nes L’Avi [or L'Imi or L'Zikni'/L'Z'keinasi or L'Rabi] B’Makom HaZeh- …Who performed a miracle for my father [or my mother or my grandfather/mother or my Rebbi] in this place” (See Biur Halacha Siman 218 Dibur Hamaschil V’Chol Yotzei Yereicho )
HALACHOS FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 5 2010
1) The Bracha on seeing the site of a miracle [that occurred to Klal Yisroel, an individual, or to one's father or Rebbi] is only recited once every thirty days. (Mishna Berura Siman 218:15)
An Avel (a mourner) does not recite the Bracha on miracles. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 218:9)
2) If one sees a person to whom a miracle happened, according to some opinions, the following Bracha is recited: Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam SheAsah Nes L’Adam HaZeh (or “SheAsah Lecha Nes”)- Blessed Are You Hashem, Our G-d, Master of the world, Who performed a miracle for this person (or “Who performed a miracle for you”) (Rama Siman 218:6. See Mishna Berura Siman 218:22 and Sha’ar HaTziyun S”K 19 and 20)
HALACHOS FOR WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6 2010
1)The Bracha on miracles (after the initial Birchas HaGomel) is only recited [with Shem U'Malchus]on those kinds of miracles that transpired in an unnatural way, or in cases where one was in clear danger of dying, and was saved, even in a natural way. (See Mishna Berura Siman 218:29)
However, on a miracle which transpired in [a seemingly] natural way (Such as having robbers break into a home at night and surviving unscathed) the Bracha is recited without Shem U’malchus. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 218:9. See also Mishna Berura S”K 31 and 32.)
Some Poskim, however, maintain that anytime one was saved from real danger, even if it was via a natural method, the Bracha is recited. (See Shu”t Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 6 Siman 64. See also Chayei Adam Klal 65:4 and Nishmas Adam S”K 1.
This is also the ruling of Rav Shmuel Wosner shlita in Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 7 Siman 28. See also Shu”t Avnei Yashfe Siman 46 where he quotes Rav Shmuel Wosner shlita as ruling that if a few people were in a serious car collision, and some of the people R”L were killed, the remaining passengers are considered to have been in immediate danger and saved, thus they must recite the Bracha each time they pass the site of the crash.)
For each specific situation a Rav must be consulted, as there are many specific variables that will contribute to a Rav’s deciding which situations merit a Bracha.
2) The Bracha on seeing the site of a miracle is only recited if the danger from which the person was saved, was specifically due to their being at that place at that time (i.e. had they been in a different place they would either a) not have been in danger or b) not have been saved)
However, if one was cured from a sickness, no Bracha is recited when seeing the hospital (or any other place) where they happened to be when they became cured, as their miracle had nothing specific to do with that place. (Of course, Birchas HaGomel is recited as we learned. We are only discussing the Bracha on seeing the place of the miracle at a later date)
The same applies to a woman after giving birth to a child; no Bracha is recited when seeing the place where she gave birth to the child, as she could have given birth anywhere. (Shu”t Shevet Haleivi ibid.)
HALACHOS FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 7 2010
1) One who had a miracle happen to him/her, should give Tzedaka to the best of their ability, especially to support Torah study.
When giving this Tzedaka it is good to say the following: “I am giving this Tzedaka; May it be the will of Hashem that this Tzedaka be considered in the place of a Korban Todah (Sacrifice of thanksgiving) which I would have been obligated to bring in the times of the Bais HaMikdash”
It is also praiseworthy, as a way of expressing thanks for the miracle to recite the portion of the Korban Todah (VaYikra 7:12. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav Siman 1:9), and also to do (i.e. donate) something in the city which will benefit the population of the city.
Also, each year on the anniversary of the day of the miracle it is especially important to thank Hashem for being saved, and be happy and spread the word to other people about the kindness of Hashem. (Mishna Berura Siman 218:32. See commentary of S’forno to VaYikra 7:11 where he writes that the reason that the Torah required so much bread to be brought when bringing a Korban Todah, is in order to make the one bringing the offering call his friends to help him finish it all, and thus word of the miracle will be spread. )
2) Some people have the custom to make a Seudas Hoda’ah, a feast of thanks, each year on the anniversary of the miracle. (See Kaf HaChaim 218:60.See also Chayei Adam Klal 155:41 for a lengthy discussion)
This Seudah is considered a Seudas Mitzvah, as any feast made to commemorate the wondrous ways of Hashem is a Mitzvah (See Mishna Berura Siman 697:2. See also Shu”t Chavas Yair Siman 70 and Shu”t Chasam Sofer Yoreh Deah Siman 233)
HALACHOS FOR EREV SHABBOS KODESH, JANUARY 8 2010
Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh
1) The Bracha upon seeing a place where a miracle was performed is only recited when the actual site is seen (e.g. when the waters of the red sea are seen, as seeing the water conjures up the details of the miracle)
However, if only the general area of the site was seen, but the actual spot where the miracle occurred isn’t seen, the Bracha is not recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 218:7)
If one isn’t clear as to the exact location of the miracle, the Bracha should be recited in the general vicinity without Shem U’Malchus. (Kaf HaChaim 218:4)
However, even when only seeing the general area of the miracle, it is still praiseworthy to thank Hashem in your own words, without uttering the text of the Bracha.
2) When seeing a place where a miracle was performed for a well known personage, who is recognized by all or most of Klal Yisroel, the Bracha is recited as if it was a place where a miracle was performed for the entire Jewish nation.
Likewise, an individual who experienced a personal salvation, and through it a public Kiddush Hashem was facilitated, a Bracha is recited when seeing the site of their miracle. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 218:7, Mishna Berura S”K 23 and 24 and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil Al Nes and Dibur Hamaschil L’Fikach)
The text recited for the aforementioned Brachos is “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam SheAsah Nes L’Tzadikim (or “L’Tzadik Ploni” or simply” L’Ploni”) B’Makom HaZeh- Blessed Are You Hashem, Our G-d, Master of the world Who performed a miracle for the righteous (or “for this righteous person” or “for this individual”) in this place” (Mishna Berura 218:25. See also Sha’ar HaTziyun S”K 21)
HALACHOS FOR SHABBOS KODESH
1) When someone R”L loses a parent [or another close relative], the following Bracha is recited: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Dayan HaEmes- Blessed Are You Hashem, our G-d, Master of the world, the true judge”.
This Bracha is also recited upon the passing of other people, even if they aren’t relatives, if the news of their death causes distress. The prevalent custom, however, in those instances is to recite the Bracha without Shem U’Malchus and simply say “Baruch Dayan HaEmes”
Upon hearing of the passing of a Talmid Chacham the Bracha should also be recited. Here too the prevalent Minhag has become to recite it without Shem U’malchus. (See Mishna Berura Siman 223:8 where he writes that this custom of saying it without Shem U’Malchus, especially when hearing of the passing of a Talmid Chacham, is not a right custom. See Halichos Shlomo Perek 23, Dvar Halacha 41 where he writes that although it isn’t the custom, if one is intensely distressed at the passing of the individual he may indeed recite it with Shem U’Malchus)
2) If upon the death of one’s father he is the lone person who receives an inheritance, the Bracha of “SheHechiyanu” is recited after the Bracha of ‘Dayan HaEmes”. (Even though, of course, he would rather his father still be alive and not get the inheritance, still the fact that he received new assets albeit via a sad method, the Bracha is recited. See Mishna Berura 223:9. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 8 Siman 35:2. Some Poskim maintain that this SheHechiyanu is not recited at all. See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman 140 where he gives reasons why many people do not recite this Bracha)
The same applies to one whose wife R”L dies and leaves behind her own money as an inheritance for him. (Mishna Berura 223:10)
If he is sharing the inheritance with other heirs, in place of SheHechiyanu, the Bracha of “HaTov V’hameitiv” is recited (as we have learned a while back that SheHechiyanu is for a personal Simcha and HaTov V’Hameitiv is for a shared Simcha. See Mishna Berura ibid.)