Halacha for Tuesday 14 Tevet 5781 December 29 2020

The Laws of Women Regarding Morning Blessings and Blessings of the Torah

Question: Must women recite the morning blessings?

Answer: Our Sages instituted that one should recite the morning blessings (the series of blessings printed in the beginning of all Siddurim) daily since these blessings were enacted based on the order of the world (for instance, the blessing of “Poke’ach Ivrim” is recited for one’s sense of sight). Since it is forbidden to benefit from this world without first reciting a blessing, one must recite these blessings every morning. The morning blessings are the blessings from “Elokai Neshama” until the blessing of “Gomel Chassadim Tovim Le’Amo Yisrael.” Following this, the blessings on the Torah are recited.

The Geonim write that women are obligated to recite the morning blessings, for they are not considered time-bound Mitzvot. This means that although women are exempt from positive, time-bound Mitzvot, such as taking a Lulav and the like, the morning blessings are not contingent on any particular time and thus, women are obligated to recite them.

The blessing of “Shelo Asani Isha” was instituted by our Sages because men must thank Hashem that He has given them the opportunity to fulfill most of the Mizvot of the Torah as opposed to women who are not obligated in all of the Mitzvot. Women, on the other hand, fulfill their purpose in life by performing the Mitzvot they are obligated to, such as Shabbat, blessings on various foods and scents, and the like. They should especially concentrate on the Mitzvot specific to women which are Niddah, Challah, and the lighting of Shabbat candles. Additionally, if a woman is married she should encourage her husband to study Torah for in this way, she connects her soul to the tremendous merit of Torah learning. Even if her husband slacks off in his Torah study, she still acquires the merit of Torah study. Also, if a woman has children, she should guide them on the path of Torah and Mitzvot.

This blessing is not, G-d forbid, meant as any form of discrimination against women, for according to our holy Torah a woman is very respected indeed. Our Sages have already commanded that a man must love his wife like himself and respect her more than himself. Furthermore, the chapter of “Eshet Chayil” which was composed in honor of the G-d-fearing woman is unparalleled in its praise of the woman. This that the Torah exempts women from certain Mitzvot that men are obligated in is for a reason  known only to Hashem and every person must accept Hashem’s will and fulfill his/her purpose in this world properly. Just like a Jewish man cannot complain about not having been born a Kohen or Levi and we would tell him to fulfill his role as a Yisrael as per Hashem’s decree, so too, for a woman to show any dissatisfaction with her role as a woman instead of being obligated in Mitzvot like a man, would be completely irrational, for this too was decided solely by Hashem. Indeed, most people who wish to equate women with men with regards to their obligation in various Mitzvot are not acting out of fear of Heaven and are doing so for ulterior motives and only serve to confuse themselves and others in their service of Hashem.

  Therefore, instead of reciting the blessing of “Shelo Asani Isha,” women should recite “Baruch She’asani Kirtzono” (Blessed is He Who has created me according to His will) without mentioning Hashem’s name in the blessing. However, regarding the blessings of “Shelo Asani Goy” and “Shelo Asani Aved,” women should in fact recite them with Hashem’s name, for regarding these blessings there is no difference between men and women. Nevertheless, they customarily substitute the word “Goya” with “Goy” and “Shifcha” for “Aved”, in the Hebrew feminine form.

The blessings of the Torah are not like the other morning blessings in that the morning blessings are not linked to any specific Mitzvah; rather, they are a praise offered to Hashem for the creation of the world. It is thus understandable why women are obligated to recite the morning blessings, for they are blessings of praise and not blessings for a Mitzvah. However, the blessings of the Torah are blessings that our Sages enacted over the Mitzvah of Torah learning. If this is the case and as we know, women are exempt from Torah study, would it not follow that women should not be reciting the blessings of the Torah; after all, the opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch is that women may not recite a blessing on a Mitzvah that they are exempt from?

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that even women recite the blessings of the Torah, for they are also obligated to study the laws of the Torah regarding the Mitzvot that they are obligated in, for instance, the laws of blessings, Shabbat, and the like. Thus, they may in fact recite the blessings of the Torah and they may even recite the words “Asher Kideshanu Be’Mitzvotav “Vetzivanu” Al Divrei Torah” (Who has sanctified us with his commandments “and commanded us” regarding words of Torah), for they are also commanded to study Torah in the aforementioned manner.

In the following Halacha we shall, G-d willing, discuss this matter further regarding the actual time for the morning blessings.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim. We begin recitin......

Read Halacha

A Rainbow

One Who Looks at a Rainbow Our Sages (Chagiga 16a) state: “The eyes of one who gazes at a rainbow are dimmed, as the verse (Yechezkel 1) states, ‘Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so is the radiance around and this is the appearance of the glory of Hashem.&r......

Read Halacha

Things Which Cause Forgetfulness

Five Things Which Cause One to Forget What He Has Learned The Gemara (Horayot 13b) states: “Our Sages taught: Five things cause one to forget the Torah one has learned: One who eats food which a cat or mouse have eaten from, one who eats the heart of an animal, one who eats olives regularly, ......

Read Halacha

Must One Recite a Blessing Before Merely Tasting a Food?

We have already discussed several times that regarding the laws of Blessings of Enjoyment recited before eating that there is no limit for reciting a blessing before eating, meaning that no matter what amount of food or beverage one eats or drinks, one must still recite a blessing. The reason for th......

Read Halacha


The Laws of One Who Forgets to Mention “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” in the “Blessing of the Years”

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed in a general manner that our Sages enacted that beginning from the Seventh of Marcheshvan (outside of Israel from the Fourth or Fifth of December), one begins reciting “Ve’Ten Tal U’Matar” (a request for dew and rain) in the “B......

Read Halacha

Question: At what point does it become permissible to speak after reciting a blessing on food? Is one permitted to speak immediately after placing the food in one’s mouth and tasting the food’s flavor or must one wait until one swallows the food?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (40a) and Rashi ibid. state that one may not speak in between reciting a blessing on food and eating it because this constitutes an interruption between the blessing and the eating and there is no longer any connection between them, as we have discussed severa......

Read Halacha

When the Sanctity of Shevi’it Will Apply to Fruits and Vegetables and More on “Heter Mechira”

In the previous Halachot we have explained that any produce grown in Jewish-owned fields in the Land of Israel this year (5782) retain the sanctity of Shevi’it. We have likewise discussed the ramifications of this sanctity and the proper way to treat such produce. This sanctity rests even on f......

Read Halacha

Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha