The Nussach of Birchas Hatorah

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A. The three blessings:[1]

Birchas Hatorah consists of three blessings:

  1. The blessing of “Al Divreiy[2] Torah”. [This blessing is considered Birchas Hamitzvah, just like one recites a blessing prior to every Mitzvah.[3]]
  2. The blessing of “Viharev Na”.[4] [This blessing is considered Birchas Hanehnin, just like one recites a blessing prior to every pleasure.[5]]
  3. The blessing of “Asher Bachar Banu”. [This blessing is considered Birchas Hashevach, just like one praises Hashem during the morning blessings.[6] This blessing is considered the greatest of the three.[7]]

 

B. Saying “Vetzetzaeiy Tzetzaeiynu” in the blessing of Viharev Na:[8]

There are those[9] which are particular to say “Vetzetzaeiy Tzetzaeiynu” in the blessing of Veharev Na. This is done in order to request from G-d that also their children’s children learn Torah in a faithful manner, as when ones children and grandchildren are Torah scholars one is guaranteed that the study of Torah will never cease from his descendents. Nevertheless, there is no real need to recite this, being that in any event all of one’s descendents are included in his initial request of “that the Torah not cease from Tzetzaeiynu (our descendents)”.  [In the Siddur the dialect follows this latter opinion and only Tzetzaeiynu is recited, while Tzetzaei Tzaeinu is omitted.]

 

C. “Al Divrei” versus “Laasok”:[10]

The Nussach of the blessing is “Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Al Divreiy Torah”.[11] However there are those which are accustomed to say “Laasok Bedivrei Torah”.[12]

 

D. May a convert recite the blessing of “Asher Bachar Banu”?[13]

Yes.

 

Reciting the words Anachnu Vitzetzaeiynu with intense concentration:[14]

Upon reciting the words which bequest from Hashem to bestow the learning of Torah to our descendents one is to add in concentration and supplication. This likewise applies when reciting the prayer for our descendants in the blessing of Ahavas Olam and Uva Letziyon. A father and mother is to always add in prayer for their children to be learners of Torah, Tzaddikim and have good character traits.


[1] See 47/5

Is Viharev Nah considered a separate blessing? In 47/5 Admur records a dispute regarding if the second blessing of Viharev Na is considered a continuation of the first blessing, or a separate blessing. According to the former opinion [Rabbeinu Tam Brachos 46a] there are only two blessings in Birchas Hatorah, while according to the latter opinion [Rambam 7/10] there are three. Those which say that the blessing of Viharev Na is a continuation from the previous blessing prove this from the fact that it does not begin with a blessing. Now although every blessing which is said in close proximity to a previous blessing does not begin with a blessing, this only applies when a long blessing is said beforehand. However if a short, one sentence blessing is recited then the next blessing is to begin with a Bracha, just like we see by Havdala that the blessing of Hamavdil starts with Baruch despite it following the short blessing of Haeish. This then proves that Viharev must be a continuation of Al Divreiy Torah. Others however claim that Viharev is a separate blessing and in truth the first blessing of Al Divreiy Torah suffices in place of it needing to begin with a blessing, even though it is a short blessing. Now although by Havdala the blessing of Hamavdil begins with Baruch despite it being said after the blessing of Haeish, this is because one may say Havdala without Besamim or fire, and hence the blessings are not always said in proximity. It is likewise for this reason that the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu begins with Baruch, being that by Kerias Hatorah it is not preceded by another blessing. [ibid; In essence the dispute is if a Beracho Hasmucha Lichaverta, which does not need to begin with a blessing, applies even if the previous blessing is a short blessing, or does it only apply if the blessing which precedes it is a long blessing.] This dispute has the following Halachic ramifications: 1) Is a listener to answer Amen after the first blessing? 2) May one make an interval between the two blessings?  3) Is the second blessing of Viharev to begin with a “Vav”?

The final ruling: Admur ibid concludes that the custom is to recite Harev without a Vav [like the second opinion] and that according to Kabala it is considered a separate blessing. The Ketzos Hashulchan 5/7 rules based on this conclusion of Admur that it is considered a separate blessing. So also rules: Eshkol; Rokeiach; Meiri; Abudarham; Mamar Mordechai 47/5; Kesher Gudal 5/28; Siddur Yaavetz; Shulchan Hatahor 47/1; Kaf Hachaim 47/13; Rav Poalim 3/3; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 47/9 in name of many Achronim. To note that in 46/1 Admur lists three blessings for Birchas Hatorah in the list he gives for the accumulation of 100 daily blessings.

[2] 47/4. However others have the custom to recite “Laasok Batorah”. See C!

[3] Bach; Pnei Yehoshua 11b; Chayeh Adam 9/1; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag P. 28 footnote *6

[4] Based on the second opinion brought in Admur; ruling of the Kabalists and final ruling of Ketzos Hashulchan 5/7, as explained in background.

Is one to recite Viharev Nah-with a Vav-or Harev Nah? This follows the same dispute mentioned in the background regarding if Viharev is a continuation of the first blessing. Those which hold that it is a continuation of the previous blessing hold that it must begin with a vav, as otherwise its considered that he is making an interruption within the blessing. The custom in the times of Admur however was like the opinions which hold that it is a separate blessing and therefore they do not begin it with a vav. Nevertheless, Admur concludes it is better to say it with a vav, as even according to the latter opinion there is no loss in doing so, while according to the former opinion one must do so in order so those words of Harev are not an interval. This is also the view the Kaballists, which although hold that it is considered a separate blessing, nevertheless rule one is to say it with a Vav. [47/5] In the Siddur Admur wrote it with a Vav thus following his conclusion above.

[5] Piskeiy Teshuvos 47/1 based on Levush 47/1 and 6; Ramban Mitzvah 15 “Just as one is to recite a blessing on food so too over Torah”; See also Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag p. 29 that Birchas Hatorah is in truth similar to Birchas Hanehnin, however the Rebbe does not connect it specifically to this blessing of Viharev Naah.

[6] Bach; Pnei Yehoshua 11b; Chayeh Adam 9/1

[7] See Igros Moshe 1/21; Shaagas Aryeh 25

[8] 47/1; M”A 47/1

[9] Bach

[10] 47/4

[11] 47/4; Siddur; Michaber 47/5; Kaf Hachaim 47/10

[12] This is the custom of Ashkenazi communities. [M”B 47/8] See Shulchan Hatahor 47/2 which writes “Laasok”; Some say one is to conclude with both endings. [Mishmeres Shalom 13/3]

[13] 47/4

[14] Ateres Zikeinim 47 brought in M”B 47/10

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