Halacha for Monday 27 Av 5780 August 17 2020

A Woman’s Obligation to Recite the “Ha’Gomel” Blessing

In the previous Halachot we have discussed the general obligation of the four categories of people to recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing: Those travelling by sea upon docking safely, those travelling through the desert upon reaching an inhabited settlement, a sick person who has recovered, and a prisoner upon being released. A way to remember this is through the verse וכל החיי"ם יודוך סלה which is an acronym for CH’avush, Y’am, Y’isurim, M’idbar. Chavush refers to a person released from incarceration, Yam refers to sea travellers who have docked safely, Yisurim refers to the suffering endured by an ill person who was healed, and Midbar refers to one travelling through the desert who has reached an inhabited settlement.

Women are also obligated to recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing, for surely there is no distinction between men and women regarding one’s obligation to thank Hashem for the goodness He has bestowed upon him/her. Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein, among others, rules accordingly.

The author of the Kenesset Ha’Gedola (Hagaon Rabbeinu Chaim Benbinishti, student of Rabbeinu Yosef of Tarani, one of the greatest Acharonim who lived approximately 400 years ago) writes that he is astounded about the custom that women do not recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing. He writes that in his opinion, this is a mistaken custom, for since this a blessing of thanksgiving, who has exempted women from reciting it? Although this blessing must be recited in the presence of ten men (as we have explained in a previous Halacha) and it is not respectful for a woman to stand in front of ten men for “the glory of a king’s daughter is within,” nevertheless, this is not enough of a reason to exempt women from a blessing that they are obligated to recite. This is especially true since a woman can recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing while standing in the women’s section of the synagogue and the men praying in the main sanctuary will be able to hear her.

Based on this, several Poskim write that it is customary for the woman to go to the synagogue and she should ask her husband or someone else to notify the Gabbai that she would like to recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing during the reading of the weekly Torah portion at which point the congregation will answer “Amen” to her blessing. However, if ten men are not present, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that since according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch who rules that one must only recite this blessing in front of ten men, the woman should not recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing.

Seven days after a woman gives birth, she is considered to like any other ill person who has recovered and she must recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing in front of ten Jewish men. A woman who has given birth may recite this blessing in her home when there are ten men present. Similarly, if she has given birth to a baby boy, she may recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing during the festive meal following the Berit Milah or during the festive meal following the birth of a baby girl; all those in attendance should answer “Amen” to her blessing. (A woman should not abstain from reciting blessings, praying, and performing Mitzvot just because she is still impure).

The Poskim discuss whether the “Ha’Gomel” blessing should be recited at night as there are those that say that this blessing is customarily recited after the reading of the Torah; therefore, even women should only recite this blessing during the day and not during the night. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that the accepted custom is that women do in fact recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing on the eve of the Berit Yitzchak (the night preceding the Berit Milah) when a small gathering is held in the home of the woman who has given birth for ten (male) friends and relatives of the family, at which point the woman stands in front of them and recites the “Ha’Gomel” blessing. Thus, when necessary, the “Ha’Gomel” blessing can be recited at night as well.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha

“And Your Camp Shall Be Holy”

Question: May I pray when my child is walking around the house in a dirty diaper? Answer: We derive from the verse in the Torah, “And your camp shall be holy”, that one may not recite words of Torah, pray, or perform any acts of holiness (for instance donning Tefillin) in the restroom......

Read Halacha

Women and the Shabbat Meals-The Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: Are women obligated to eat all three Shabbat meals as are men? Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have explained the primary laws regarding the Shabbat meals, including the obligation to eat three meals on Shabbat: One on Shabbat night, one on Shabbat morning, and one on Shabbat after......

Read Halacha


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

Using Frozen Bread for “Double Bread”

We have already discussed that there is a Mitzvah to recite the Hamotzi blessing during the Shabbat meals on “double bread,” i.e. two loaves of bread. It is fairly common that one does not have two loaves of bread for this Mitzvah and would like to join a frozen loaf of bread from the fr......

Read Halacha

“Double Bread”

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the laws of Seuda Shelishit and would also like to discuss the laws of women regarding Seuda Shelishit. However, since this issue is connected to the laws of women and “double bread” on Shabbat, let us first discuss the basic laws of “doub......

Read Halacha

Speaking Between Washing One’s Hands and the “Hamotzi” Blessing

Question: Is one permitted to speak between washing one’s hands and reciting the Hamotzi blessing? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (42a) states: “Immediately following hand-washing, one must recite the blessing.” The Rishonim disagree as to the explanation of this Gemara......

Read Halacha