The prayer of Berich Shmei-Its greatness, and detailed laws

Reciting Brich Shmei:[1]

When the Aron is opened, one recites Vayehi Binsoa Haron, and the Zoharic[2] prayer of Brich Shmei.

On which days is it said?[3] Some Poskim[4] write that the prayer of Berich Shmei is only to be said by Mincha of Shabbos. Other Poskim[5] rule it is to only be recited by Shacharis of Shabbos [and by Mincha]. Other Poskim[6] rule it is to only be recited on Shabbos and Yom Tov [and Rosh Chodesh[7]] and so is the Sephardi custom. Other Poskim[8] rule that it is to be said every time the Torah is removed for Kerias Hatorah, even during the week, on Monday’s and Thursday’s, or Yom Tov, or on fast days, and so is the widespread custom of Ashkenazi Jewry and so is the Chabad custom.

Concentration and auspiciousness: One is to be very careful to have extreme concentration upon saying the prayer of Berich Shmei.[9] The opening of the Aron and recital of Brich Shmei is a very auspicious time for prayer from the depths of the heart, and one is guaranteed to have all or at least some of one’s prayers answered.[10]

When to remove the Sefer Torah: Some are accustomed to remove the Sefer Torah at the conclusion of the paragraph of Vayehi Binsoa, prior to beginning Berich Shmei, and hold the Sefer Torah stationary by the open Aron while the prayer of Berich Shemei is being said.[11] The widespread custom, however, is not to remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron until the conclusion of Brish Shmei.[12] This is likewise the widespread custom of ChassidiM, including Chabad Chassidim.[13]

Until when may the prayer be recited?[14] One who was unable to say Berich Shemei while the Aron was opened, may reciting it until the Sefer Torah is opened to be read from. [One who began saying it at this time, may continue saying it until he finishes the paragraph even after the Sefer Torah is opened.[15] If one could not begin saying it prior to this time, then it may be said during Hagabah, when the Sefer Torah is showed to the congregation.[16]]

One who is in middle of Davening:[17] One may not recite Vayehi Binsoa or Brich Shmei in the midst of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar. [However, if one is holding parts of Davening in which speaking is permitted, such as one who is till in the midst of Tachanun, then he is to stop and recite the prayer of Berich Shmei.[18] Nonetheless, this is not an obligation.[19]]

Bowing:[20] Some are accustomed to slightly bow upon saying the words “Desagidna Kamei,” as otherwise it appears like one’s statement is a lie. Other Poskim[21], however, have discouraged this. [Practically, the widespread Chabad custom is not to do so.]

Standing: See Halacha 4!

 

Is one who already Davened, or plans to do so later, required to recite Berich Shmei when the Aron is opened?[22]

No. This especially applies if he is in the midst of Torah study.

 

 

The great auspiciousness of the time of Brich Shmei and the opening of the Aron:[23]

The following was related by the Rebbe Rashab in name of his grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek, in the name of his grandfather the Alter Rebbe, in name of the Baal Shem Tov:

Chambers of Torah are opened: At the time of the saying of Brich Shmei while the Aron is open the heavenly chambers of Torah are opened and shed light into mind and heart.

Hashem fulfills one’s requests: The Alter Rebbe related to me [i.e. the Tzemach Tzedek] that he received from Mezritch in name of the Baal Shem Tov that at the time that the Aron is opened, even if a simple Jew says the prayer of Berich Shemei with true faith and from the depths of his heart, then Hashem fulfills his request, or entire or partially. The Rebbe Maharash related on this: The world of Aron Bris Hashem is opened during this time, in which stand the strength and Mesirus Nefesh of all the Sifrei Torah that were written from all generations. The angel Michael is present at the time and when he hears a Jew say from the depth of his heart “Berich Shmei” he asks for mercy from G-d that the persons request be fulfilled.

Tikkun for Pegam Habris:[24]

The prayer of Berich Shmei is a Tiklkun for Pegam Habris, and is therefore to be said with great concentration.

 

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[1] Siddur Admur; All Poskim in coming footnotes; See Yesod Veshoresh Havoda 5:8; Igros Kodesh 3:149, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:214; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:112-14

Other opinions: Some Gedolei Yisrael were not accustomed to reciting the prayer of Berich Shemei due to issues they had with its Nussach. [Noda Beyehuda, brought in Mofeis Hador p. 61; See Nodah Beyehuda Y.D. 74; 93; Teshuvah Meahavah 26:110; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:13 footnote 64]

[2] Zohar Vol. 2 p. 206, brought in M”A 282 [Omitted from Admur in his Shulchan Aruch, although recorded in Siddur]

[3] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:12

[4] Ramaz, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 488:2

[5] M”A 282 in name of Arizal and Zohar “On Shabbos by Shacharis when the Aron is open one is to say Berich Shmei”; Peri Eitz Chaim 19; Shaar Hakavanos p. 73; Nagid Mitzvah 2 Shacharis of Shabbos 5 p. 130

[6] Kaf Hachaim 134:11 based on Arizal and Chida

[7] Rav Poalim 3 Sod Yesharim 8

[8] Siddur Admur; P”M 282 A”A 1 regarding fast day; Beir Heiytiv 282:1 in name of Arizal “Both on Shabbos and during the week” [Nagid Mitzvah ibid concludes that there is no prohibition to also say it during the week]; Shaareiy Teshuvah 488:2 that so is custom; M”B 134:13

[9] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

[10] Likkutei Dibburim 2 Likkut 13:3 p. 309 [Hebrew]; Sefer Hasichos 5696 p. 49; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:158

[11] Shaareiy Efraim 10:1; Siddur Yaavetz; Rav Poalim 3:8; Possible implication of Zohar Vayakhel p. 206; Igros Moshe 4:70-9 negates THIS implication from Zohar although concludes that so should be directed to one who asks

[12] Igros Moshe ibid that so is custom of world; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 196; Az Nidbaru 8:48 in name of Kaf Hachaim [Falagi]; Implication of wording in Siddur Ramak; Or Hachamah of Rav Chaim Vital; Mishnas Chassidim; Shacharis Deshabbos 9; Implication of Siddur Admur “When the Aron is opened one says Vayehi Binsoa and Berich Shmei.”; Rav Raskin in Siddur footnote 373

[13] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 56; Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1326

[14] M”B 134:13 in name of Achronim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:12

[15] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134 footnote 57

[16] Pischeiy Shearim 10:1 in name of Elya Raba in name of Seder Hayom

[17] So rule regarding saying Vezos Habracha and the same would apply regarding Berich Shmei: Chaim Sheol 68; Kisei Rachamim 14:14; Kesher Gudal 11:21; Maharshag 3:52; Kaf Hachaim 134:20; Igros Kodesh 3:149, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:214, in name of Rebbe Rayatz “It is obvious that since Admur did not record this in any area that we Chassidei Chabad are not to do so. One of the Temimim told me that indeed he heard from the Rebbe Rashab that one is to stop to recite Berich Shmei. I asked the Rebbe Rayatz yesterday and he said that this is not correct and that one is not to stop.”; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:14

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one should stop to recite Berich Shemei on Shabbos and fast day, but not on Mondays and Thursdays. [Birkeiy Yosef 134 in name of Kneses Hagedola, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 134:2 regarding saying Vezos Habracha in middle of Birchas Shema; Peri Hasadeh 3:112] Some Poskim rule that it may be recited between Yishtabach and Yotzer. [Yabia Omer ibid; See Admur 51:4 and 53:3]

[18] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

[19] Shevet Halevi 7:12; Ishei Yisrael 25 footnote 48

[20] See Ohalei Yaakov 57 in name of Maharikash; Birkeiy Yosef 134:3; Emes Leyaakov; Har Tzevi 1:64; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 67

[21] Kaf Hachaim 113:12

[22] Maharshag 3:52

[23] Likkutei Dibburim 2 Likkut 13:3 p. 309 [Hebrew]; Sefer Hasichos 5696 p. 49; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:158

[24] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

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