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

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

Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Eat in the Sukkah

Since there is not so much time left to discuss the laws of Sukkot, let us now spend the next few Halachot discussing some pertinent Halachot for the upcoming Sukkot holiday. A Meal of an Established Character Throughout the entire Sukkot holiday, both during the night and day, it is prohibited ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Selichot Alone, Without a Minyan

Question: If one is unable to recite Selichot with a Minyan (quorum of at least ten Jewish men) for whatever reason or if a woman wishes to recite Selichot and she cannot do so with a Minyan, may one recite the Selichot texts alone or should one abstain from doing so? Answer: If one wishes to rec......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating a Kezayit of Bread in the Sukkah on the First Night of Sukkot and One who is Uncomfortable in the Sukkah

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one may not eat an established meal outside of the Sukkah anytime during the Sukkot holiday. One must be aware that the reward for the Mitzvah of Sukkah is that it protects one during turbulent times (see Zohar, Parashat Tetzaveh). The Mitzvah of......

Read Halacha

The Custom of “Tashlich”

Following Mincha services of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to go to a seashore, river, well, or pit in order to recite the order of “Tashlich.” If there is no river, lake, or pond in close proximity of one’s vicinity, it is likewise perfectly acceptable to recite ......

Read Halacha

The Proper Behavior for the Days of Rosh Hashanah-The Custom of Maran zt”l

It is customary to eat red meat and sweet foods on the days of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse in Nechemia states, “Go eat fatty foods and drink sweet beverages and sent gifts of food to those who do not have, for the day is sanctified to our Lord.” One may not fast at all on Rosh Hashana......

Read Halacha

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

It is a positive Torah commandment to hear the Shofar blasts on the day of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse states, “It shall be a day of [Shofar] blasts for you.” One may not speak between the various sets of Shofar blasts and certainly not during the blasts themselves. The Poskim disagree r......

Read Halacha