Elokaiy Neshama

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Elokaiy Neshama:

The reason why we recite the blessing: [1] Elokaiy Neshama is a blessing of thanksgiving to Hashem for returning ones soul to him upon awakening.

Why does Elokaiy Neshama not begin with a blessing? Blessings of thanks do not begin with an opening blessing.[2] It is for this reason that Elokaiy Neshama does not begin with a blessing.[3]

Reciting the blessing immediately after Asher Yatzar:[4] It is proper to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama immediately after reciting the blessing of Asher Yatzar.[5] [Thus immediately after washing hands after using the bathroom upon awakening one is to say the three blessings of Netilas Yadayim, Asher Yatzar, and Elokaiy Neshama. One who makes an interval between Asher Yatzar and Elokaiy Neshama causes a great blemish in the spiritual worlds.[6]]

One who awoke before daybreak and plans to return to sleep:[7] If one awoke[8] [in middle of the night, even past midnight] and knows that he will be going back to sleep a set[9] sleep for a second time, he should say the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama without the ending sentence of “Blessed are you Hashem…”. When he wakes up in the morning he repeats the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama with the ending sentence of “Blessed are you G-d…“.[10] [If one said the entire blessing upon awakening the first time, then when he reawakens later he repeats the blessing without reciting the ending sentence of “Blessed are you G-d…”.[11] If one will not return to sleep a set sleep but rather a mere nap he is to say the entire blessing after the first time[12], if it is past midnight[13].]

Reciting Hamapil prior to returning to sleep for the second time:[14] Prior to returning to sleep for the second time one is to repeat the blessing of Hamapil without mentioning G-d’s name in the opening sentence [i.e. Baruch Hamapil Chevleiy] and without saying the closing sentence of “Blessed are you Hashem…”.

 

Does one recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama if he did not sleep at night?[15]

Ruling of the Siddur:[16] If one did not sleep throughout the night, or slept for less than 60 breaths worth [i.e. thirty minutes[17]] then one is not to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama. [If one is in doubt whether he slept for 60 breaths than he is to recite the blessing without Hashem’s name.[18]]

Chabad Custom:[19] The accepted, widespread, custom amongst Chabad Chassidim is to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama even if one did not sleep the night before. [The blessing is to be said after Alos[20], immediately after washing hands with a blessing.[21]]

 

Q&A

Does one recite Elokaiy Neshama if he slept during the day?[22]

No.[23]

 

If one accidently spoke after saying Asher Yatzar is he to still recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama right away?[24]

Yes, one is to stop speaking and say it right away.

 

If one woke up in middle of the night and plans to return to sleep right away must he say Elokaiy

Neshama and Hamapil without a concluding blessing?[25]

  • Example: One woke up to use the bathroom or quiet down a crying baby, must they say the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama and Hamapil without the concluding blessing?

No. The obligation to do so is only upon awakening with intent to remain awake for some time prior to returning to sleep, such as to recite Tikkun Chatzos or learn Torah.

 

Is one to recite the blessing of Hamavir Sheiyna upon awakening the first time?

No.[26] However there are Poskim[27] that require one to say it without Hashem’s name upon awakening the first time, and when he awakes the second time he is to say it with Hashem’s name.

 

The Nussach:

Making an interval between Elokaiy and Neshama:[28] One is required to make a slight break between the words Elokaiy and Neshama so it does not sound like one is saying that his soul is his G-d. [The Rebbe Rashab would also make an interval between the words Tehora Hi and Ata Barasa and between the words Ata Barasa and Ata Yatzarta.[29]]

Tehora Hi: In the Siddur Admur writes the word Tehora Hi.  Some[30] however omit the word Hi. 

 

Sparks of Chassidus:

The soul’s descent:[31] The prayer of Elokaiy Neshama refers to the descent of the Jewish soul below into the body. The Neshama first starts off in the world of Atzilus. In this level the Neshama is found in complete unity with G-dliness, and is pure and refined, prior to its descent below. It is referred to in the words “Tehora Hi”. The Neshama then begins its descent below to the worlds of Beriya, Yetzira and Assiya. This is referred to in the words “Ata Barasa [Beriya]; Ata Yatzarta [Yetzira]; Ata Nafachta Bi [Assiya]”. The descent into these three spiritual worlds, one lower than the other, effects the necessary changes for it to become invested within the animal soul and physical body.

Returning the soul to unification with G-d:[32] The reason the Sages instituted that this prayer be said in the beginning of Birchas Hashachar, prior to Davening, is because it represents the soul’s Mesirus Nefesh throughout the day. In this prayer we state that “You gave me the soul…and You will take it from me in the future”. This means to state that since You have given me the soul and will eventually take it back therefore I will already now begin to dedicate it and hand it over to you, to unite it within your unification. This will be accomplished through binding my thoughts with Your thoughts and my speech with Your speech, through the letters of the Torah and prayer. It is with this preparation of giving over the soul to Hashem that we begin Birchas Hashachar.


[1] 46/2 states Elokaiy Neshama is said due to that one awakened from his sleep. 6/7 states it is a thanksgiving blessing. The thanks expressed in the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama is a thanksgiving for the return and rejuvenation of the soul. [M”B 4/3 in name of Gr”a and M”A]

Why is it recited in addition to Modeh Ani? One is required to bless Hashem for the pleasure he received in receiving his soul upon awakening. Modeh Ani does not contain Hashem’s name and is hence not considered a blessing. [214/1] Thus Elokaiy Neshama must be recited in addition to Modeh Ani. Nevertheless Modeh Ani is also said being that it is necessary to thank Hashem immediately upon awakening [being that every blessing needs to be said in close proximity to the pleasure received] and it is not possible to recite Elokaiy Neshama immediately due to ones unclean hands. [Shulchan Menachem 1/1]

[2] 6/6

Background from Admur

All blessings begin with the words “Baruch Ata Hashem” besides for a blessing which is said in continuation of a previous blessing [Bracha Hasemucha Lichaverta] and a blessings of Thanks. The reason a blessing of thanks does not begin with a blessing is because its entire wording expresses thanks. Thus for example the blessings said over rain that fell “Modim Anachnu Lach Al Kol Tipa Vetipa” does not begin with a blessing, and so applies to all blessings of this kind. An example of a Bracha Hasemucha Lichaverta is the blessing of Ahavas Olam which does not begin with a blessing being it is said after the blessing of Yotzer Oar, which counts for it as its opening blessing. [6/6]

[3] 6/7

Why don’t we say the reason is because it is a Bracha Hasemucha Lechaverta? Although any blessing which follows immediately after another blessing, also does not begin with a blessing, [and so is the case with Elokaiy Neshama, as it follows the blessing of Asher Yatzar] nevertheless in the times of the Talmud Elokaiy Neshama was said immediately upon awakening, before Asher Yatzar. It thus was not originally a blessing that followed a blessing. Nevertheless even then the Sages did not institute Elokaiy Neshama to begin with a blessing being it is a blessing of thanks. [ibid]

[4] 6/7; M”A 6/8; Shaar Hakavanos Drush Birchas Hashachar; Soles Belula 6/1; Kesher Gudal 5/6; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 2; Kaf Hachaim 6/5; Gr”a 4/3; Shulchan Hatahor 6/2: “It is forbidden to make an interval according to Talmudic law”

The custom in the times of the Talmud: In the times of the Talmud, Elokaiy Neshama was said immediately upon awakening, before Asher Yatzar. [ibid; 46/2; Rabbeinu Yonah in Brachos 60b; Shulchan Menachem 1/1; See Likkutei Torah Devarim; However see Shulchan Hatahor ibid] However, since today our hands are impure we therefore cannot say it until after we wash.

Other Opinions: The Beis Yosef writes that the custom of Sefarad is to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama in Shul while Asher Yatzar is recited at home. Birchas Habayis 35/1 writes that those that pray Nussach Ashkenaz and say Birchas Hatorah immediately after Asher Yatzar are to say Elokaiy Neshama immediately after Birchas Hatorah and hence proximate it to the blessing of Birchas Hatorah.

[5]  The Reason: The reason for this is in order to attach the blessing of  Asher Yatzar to Elokaiy Neshama and hence consider Elokaiy Neshama to have started with an opening blessing. [Bracha Hasmucha Lichaverta] [ibid based on M”A 6/8] Perhaps this is the reason the Geonim instituted that Elokaiy Neshama is to be said after Asher Yatzar, as mentioned in Shaar Hakolel 1/8. The Gr”a 4/3 writes the reason is because the thanksgiving in Asher Yatzar refers to the body while of Elokaiy Neshama refers to the soul, and we hence proximate their blessing.

Reason of Kabala: The Arizal ibid states that Elokaiy Neshama is to be said immediately after Asher Yatzar in order to unite Aba with Ima which are required to always be together. [brought in Kaf Hachaim 6/3]

[6] Shulchan Hatahor 6/2

[7]  6/8 based on Seder Hayom brought in M”A 6/9; Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5; M”B 47/30

Ruling of Admur in Siddur: In the Siddur Admur rules regarding Netilas Yadayim that one may say the blessing after the first time so long as it is past midnight, as is the rule with all Birchas Hashachar. This implies that one may recite all Birchas Hashachar after the first time he wakes up. Nevertheless this inference is not explicit enough to deduce from the Siddur a ruling that retracts the ruling in Shulchan Aruch. [Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 10] To note that also regarding Netilas Yadayim according to the Rosh the blessing is invalidated if one returns to sleep a set sleep after washing and nevertheless Admur rules here [6/8 and in Siddur] that one may say it the first time.

Other Opinions: Some Poskim [Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7] rule one may choose to say the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama after awakening the first time, and then say it without the concluding blessing after awakening the second time. Some Poskim rule there is no need at all to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama the first time he awakens and he is even initially to push it off until the morning. [Peri Chadash brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid] Some Poskim rule based on the Mekubalim that there is no need at all to delay the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama and rather one is to recite the entire blessing after the first time he awakens if it is past midnight and is not to repeat it at all in the morning. [Shalmei Tzibur 46; Chesed Lealafim 47/6; Kaf Hachaim Falagi 9/1; Kaf Hachaim 46/49 that so is the custom; However see Shulchan Hatahor 46/3 that even according to the Mekubalim one may delay the blessing.]

[8] See Q&A regarding if one plans to return right away to sleep.

[9] Lit. Shinas Keva. This means that one will sleep in his bed [as opposed to a nap on his chair] for a period of at least thirty minutes. [see M”B 4/27; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 18 and 47/15; Chapter 4 Halacha 17]

The reason for mentioning a set sleep: The word “set” sleep is added by Admur to the original Halacha brought in the M”A ibid. Seemingly the reason for this is because Admur holds that if one merely sleeps a temporary sleep then according to all he does not need to recite the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama after this sleep, and hence there is no reason to delay saying Elokaiy Neshama until he awakens the second time. See Chapter 3 Halacha 7 regarding the doubt of whether the impure spirit resides on the hands when one sleeps a temporary sleep. See Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7 that implies the blessing is said after the first time if he will not return to a proper sleep.

[10] The reason for this is because there are opinions which say that the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama is to always be recited upon awakening, even when one went to sleep during the day. [Igur and Shivlei Haleket brought in Beis Yosef 231] Now, although we do not rule like this opinion [Beis Yosef ibid], nevertheless initially one must suspect for their opinion and hence delay the blessing until after awakening the second time in order to fulfill the obligation according to all. [M”A 6/9 as explained in Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 10]

[11]  Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5 based on Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7; Chayeh Adam; Biur Halacha 47 “Hamashkim”

Other Opinions: The Peri Chadash rules that in such a case one is to repeat the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama with Hashem’s name after awakening for the second time. [See Biur Halacha ibid]

[12] Implied from Admur ibid; Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid. see previous footnotes.

[13] Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5

[14] 6/8 based on M”A ibid; Beir Heiytiv 6/7; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Derech Chaim 227; Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5 footnote 10

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule there is never a need to repeat the blessing of Hamapil, and the real versions of the Magen Avraham is to read “Hamaavir Sheiyna” rather than “Hamapil”. [Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7; M”B 47/30]

[15] This matter is based on different ways of learning the Peri Eitz Chaim. Practically the ruling of the Siddur differs from the accepted custom today as is explained here. Regarding hearing the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama from another person, see Halacha 12 in footnotes.

[16] Siddur based on Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 4 as explained in Shaar Hakolel 1/10 unlike Shaareiy Teshuvah 46/12; So rules also Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5; Hagahos Ateres Zahav 46/6; M”B 46/24 in name of Elya Raba; Piskeiy Teshuvos 46/15. See Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 8; Shaar Hakolel 1/10 and Rav Raskin on Siddur p. 8 for the disproof against the understanding of the Shaareiy Teshuvah in the Peri Eitz Chaim; See also Yagdil Torah Jerusalem 5/40. The following Poskim rule one is to hear the blessing from another person: Peri Megadim 46 A”A 2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 46/12; M”B ibid; Siddur Yaavetz; Chayeh Adam 8/9; Derech Chaim; Birchas Habayis 35/2; Likkutei Mahrich; Toras Chaim Sofer 7.

The reason: This blessing of Elokaiy Neshama refers to one’s personal benefit of awakening and not the general pleasure that the world receives. Therefore it may not be said if one did not receive this personal benefit. [Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 8; Peri Megadim 46 A”A  2]

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: Admur does not explicitly state in the Shulchan Aruch whether or not one is to say the blessing of Elokaiy Neshama if he did not sleep at night. However it is implied from 46/7 and 494/3 that it is to be said. See glosses of Rav Raskin on Siddur p. 8

[17] See Chapter 4 Halacha 17 Q&A

[18] Ketzos Hashulchan 5/5

[19] Based on Shulchan Menachem 1/6 [Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag vol. 1 page 25; Likkutei Sichos 9 p. 276]; Heichal Menachem 2/213; Hiskashrus 931; Shevach Hamoadim p. 240 footnote 7 in name of Rabbanei Anash; Rav Raskin in footnotes on Siddur p. 8

Background:

In a letter dated on the 9th of Tishreiy 1949 the Rebbe responded as follows to the question of whether one is to recite the blessing of Al Netilas Yadayim and Elokaiy Neshama in a case that he did not sleep at night: “The public directive follows the ruling in the Siddur of Admur that it is not to be said, although one may hear it from another person who did sleep. (However the private directive is to say it. This is what I heard from my father in law the Rebbe Rayatz).” Although from this letter it remains unclear as to whether a Chassid is to follow the private or public directive, in actuality the custom has become to follow the private directive and so rule Rabbanei Anash. [Shevach Hamoadim ibid] Furthermore in a Yechidus recorded in Heichal Menachem ibid the Rebbe told a Chassid that one is to follow the private directive.

Other Poskim which rule like this opinion: Shaareiy Teshuvah 46/12 in accordance to his understanding of the Arizal in Peri Eitz Chaim; Birkeiy Yosef 46/12; Kaf Hachaim 46/49; Shulchan Hatahor 46/8; Aruch Hashulchan 46/13; Ben Ish Chaiy Bracha 3; Oar Letziyon 2/4-9.

[20] Based on Siddur and 47/7 that the other blessings of Birchas Hashachar may only be said after Alos [in a case that one did not sleep] as this is the time that people wake up.

[21] See Chapter 4 Halacha 16

[22] Rama 231/1 in name of Beis Yosef

[23] Possibly the reason for this is because the Sages only instituted the blessing to be said during the normal times that Hashem returns the souls, which is in the morning. [M”B 231/2]

[24] Piskeiy Teshuvos 46 footnote 48 as speaking accidently is not considered an interval in middle of a blessing.

[25] Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7 in name of Rambam Hilchos Tefilah 7; Kesef Mishneh ibid; Ateres Zikeinim 46; So is also implied from Admur ibid which writes “Hamashkim Lakum” which implies that one has woken up and plans to do some time costing matter while awake.

[26] Based on Admur 6/8 that writes “Hamapil” and not “Hamaavir” as is our version of the M”A and so writes Beir Heiytiv 6/7; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 5 footnote 10

[27] Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7; M”B 47/30 based on their claim of the correct version of the Magen Avraham.

[28] M”B 46/3; Rebbe Rashab brought in Likkutei Dibburim Likut 23 p. 633

[29] Likkutei Dibburim Likut 23 p. 633

[30] Shaareiy Teshuvah 6/7; The reason for this is because the blessing is to contain 47 words in corresponded to the Gematria of the names Havaya Ehye-h. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 46 footnote 46]

[31] Torah Oar 71a; See “Lilmod Eich Lihispalel” Vol. 1 p. 55-75

[32] Tanya chapter 41

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