Educating people to recite blessings:

 

Educating people to recite blessings:

A. Teaching children blessings:[1]

It is permitted to teach children the proper blessings even not during their appropriate time [i.e., not during eating and drinking].[2] [The teacher may even recite Hashem’s name in the blessing in order to educate the children.[3] However it is best, if possible, to simply hint towards Hashem’s name and have them recite it on their own.[4]]

Answering Amen: One is not to answer Amen for a blessing recited by children in such circumstances.

Reciting blessings on behalf of children:[5] One may recite any blessing, even Birchas Hanehnin, on behalf of a child in order to educate them in Mitzvos. This applies even towards children whose education is not under his responsibility, such as they are not part of his family. [Thus, if a child desires to eat something and does not know the blessing it is permitted for one to recite the blessing for him in order to educate him in Mitzvos.[6]]

 

 

Q&A

May one teach the blessings to a child who has not yet reached the age of Chinuch?[7]

Yes. It is permitted to teach a child the blessings even prior to him reaching the age of Chinuch.

 

May one educate a child to say blessings if he is not yet potty trained?[8]

If the child is dirty with feces or urine he may not say a blessing. If the child is clean then he may say a blessing while he is clean. Thus, if a parent desires to educate a child to say a blessing prior to potty training they may only do so while the child is clean.

 

May one educate a child to say blessings if he is potty trained but may contain fecal remnant?[9]

Some Poskim[10] rule it is permitted to educate him in blessings if he has not yet reached the age in which he can be responsible to fully clean himself properly.[11] This is approximately at age six.[12] Others[13] however rule it is forbidden to do so.[14]

 

 

B. Teaching adults blessings:[15]

It is forbidden for adults to recite blessings outside of their appropriate time even if it is done out of learning, to teach them the blessings.[16] [Such a blessing is considered a blessing in vain and is certainly forbidden to answer Amen to such a blessing. It is however permitted to educate a adult and teach him the blessings during the time of his obligation.[17]]

 

 

Q&A

May one read a blessing to an adult during the time of his obligation and have him repeat after him?

Word after word:[18] It is permitted to teach an adult a blessing during his time of obligation and have him repeat word after word, including Hashem’s name, from the person educating him.

Verse after verse:[19] It is forbidden for one to recite the entire blessing to the person and then have him recite the entire blessings after him, and rather it must be recited word after word. [It is however permitted to teach a child a blessing in this method.[20]]

If a Siddur is available:[21] In all cases that a Siddur is available, and the person knows to read from the Siddur, one must provide him the Siddur rather than read word after word.

 

 



[1] Admur ibid; Michaber 215/2-3; Brachos 53b

[2] Admur ibid; Michaber 215/3; Rambam Brachos 1/15; Brachos ibid

[3] The reason: As it is done in a form of learning and the teacher hence fulfills the Biblical command of Veshinantom Levanecha [Igros Kodesh 3/138]

[4] Ashel Avraham Butchach 167/19; Kaf Hachaim 167/129

[5] Admur 167/23; Michaber 167/19; Rosh Hashanah 29a

[6] M”B 167/93

[7] P”M 657 M”Z 1

[8] Kitzur SHU”A in Lechem Hapanim 165/1; See Misgeres Hashulchan on Lechemn Hapanim ibid that he too agrees in such a case that the child may not be educated to say blessings; See Divrei Chaim 2/9; Piskeiy Teshuvos  215/8

[9] Kitzur SHU”A in Lechem Hapanim 165/1; See Misgeres Hashulchan on Lechemn Hapanim ibid that he too agrees in such a case that the child may not be educated to say blessings; See Divrei Chaim 2/9; Piskeiy Teshuvos  215/8

[10] Divrei Chaim 2/9; Misgeres Hashulchan on Lechem Hapanim in Kitzur SHU”A 165/1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 215 footnote 49

[11] The reason: As if the child is not old enough to be educated to clean himself then he is exempt from this aspect of Chinuch. Also the father is exempt from cleaning him to such a point that no fecal remnant remains by his opening, as the child is not old enough to do so himself. Thus, it ends up that although the child is obligated in being educated for blessings he is exempt from this level of cleanliness. [Misgeres Hashulchan ibid in lengthy explanation and defense of ruling of Divrei Chaim ibid]

[12] Misgeres Hashulchan ibid

[13] Kitzur SHU”A ibid in Lechem Hapanim

[14] The reason: As it is forbidden for an adult to say a blessing while he has feces in that area. [ibid]

[15] Admur ibid based on M”A 215/5; Elya Raba 215/4; See Igros Kodesh 3/138

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that adults may practice the correct Nussach of the blessings if they are not aware of how to recite them. [Igros Moshe 2/56 in accordance to how he learns the M”A ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 215/9]

[16] The reason: Although the blessings recited by the children for the purposes of learning are blessings in vain, nevertheless the Sages permitted it to be done. However by an adult, it is forbidden for him to say blessings outside of their appropriate time even if he is doing so for the sake of learning. [Admur ibid] The reason for this is because children are always exempt form blessings until they become Bar Mitzvah, and there is hence no real time in which they are obligated to say it. Therefore the Sages allowed the children to be educated in all cases. However an adult is obligated to say a blessing upon eating/drinking and hence the Sages required the adults to be educated during the times of their obligation abd during times that they are exempt. [Igros Kodesh ibid]

[17] Igros Kodesh ibid

[18] Based on Admur 484/4; Michaber 484/1; P”M 484 M”Z 3; Igros Kodesh 3/138

Background:

See Admur 484/4 regarding running a Seder for the ignoramuses “If they do not know to say Birchas Hamazon, he is to read it with them word after word and it is not considered a blessing in vain being that they are answering after him word after word and is similar to one who is reading to a child and is teaching him Birchas Hamazon after he eats.” [Admur ibid; Michaber 484/1; Tur in name of Rosh; Maharitz Geios 2/105; Mishneh Sukkah 38 as explained in Biur Hagr”a ibid; Taz 484/3; P”M 484 M”Z 3] This does not contradict the ruling in 215/2 that one may only educate a Katan in blessings and not a Gadol, being that there it refers to “not during the time of their obligation” while here it refers to the time of their obligation. So is also implied from Rebbe in Igros Kodesh ibid who writes “since one can educate the Gadol during the time of his obligation therefore one may not do so at times that he is exempt.” However perhaps one can differentiate and say that from 484/4 we learn that only in a case that one has no ability to be Yotzei the person by telling him the blessing [i.e. Birchas Hanehnin] is it permitted to have him repeat word after word, although in a case that he can be Motzi him [i.e. Birchas Hamiztvos] then he may not repeat word after word, and must rather be Yotzei him. So is also implied from Admur 484/3 from the fact that he says that the person leading the Seder is to recite the blessing of Matzah and Maror on their behalf and does not mention repeating word after word, and only in 44/4 regarding Birchas Hanehnin does he mention it. Nonetheless, it is implied from the Rebbe ibid that it is permitted to teach him the blessings even by Birchas Hanehnin. See Hearos Ubiurim Tzemach Tzedek 3/200-204

[19] P”M 484 M”Z 3; See also Shaar Hatziyon 484/7 in explanation of Michaber 167/19, however it is possible to explain in the Michaber that the person is not repeating the blessing after the person saying it but rather listening and being Yotzei

[20] As explained above in 215/2 that children may be taught even outside of their proper time

[21] See Hearos Ubiurim ibid in name of Rav SZ”A

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