Halacha for Tuesday 29 Sivan 5779 July 2 2019

“Ata Honen Le’Adam Da’at” (The Fourth Blessing of the Amida Prayer)

The Reason Why the Blessing of “Ata Honen” Was Instituted as the First of the Series of ‘Blessings of Requests’
Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 115) writes: “Since the advantage of human beings over animals is understanding and intelligence, our Sages instituted the blessing of ‘Ata Honen’ as the first of the ‘Middle Blessings’ of the Amida prayer” (the first three blessings of the Amida deal with praising Hashem followed by a series of blessings dedicated to requesting certain things from Hashem, such as, wisdom, repentance, atonement, redemption, health etc.).

In his Sefer Birkei Yosef, Maran Ha’Chida quotes the Mekubal, Rabbeinu Binyamin Ha’Kohen as saying that the reason for this is based on the idiom of our Sages that one may not pity a person who does not have intellect. For this reason, we beg Hashem to have mercy on us and bestow us with intellect so that we may be worthy of Hashem’s mercy regarding the other things we request during the Amida prayer.

The Proper Text of This Blessing
Regarding the text of the blessing, some say that the proper version is “La’Adam Da’at” (with a “Kamatz” under the “Lamed”) while others say the correct version is “Le’Adam Da’at” (with a “Sheva Na” under the “Lamed”). We customarily follow the latter opinion and there is no reason to change the pronunciation of this word.

Some say that one must say, “Ve’Honeinu Me’Itecha Chochma Binah Va'Da’at” with a “Vav of Conjugation” while others customarily omit the “Vav” and just say “Honeinu Me’Itecha”. The reason for the latter opinion to omit the “Vav” is because this phrase is not a continuation of the beginning of the blessing, “Ata Honen Le’Adam Da’at”; rather, it is the beginning of the request. Nevertheless, our custom is to recite “Ve’Honeinu,” for this is a continuation of the praise mentioned before it.

One May Add One’s Own Personal Requests in the Blessing of “Ata Honen
One may add personal requests into the Amida prayer in an articulate and concise manner based on the specific content of the various blessings of the Amida. Thus, if one is not so successful in one’s studies because one forgets what he learns or because one is not so quick to understand, one may request to be granted wisdom in this blessing, for it is the Blessing of Wisdom.

Therefore, before one concludes the blessing by saying, “Ve’Honeinu Me’Itecha,” one may insert the following prayer: “May it be Your will, Hashem my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, that you bestow me with wisdom and understanding so that I may be able to grasp the deep secrets of Your Torah and grant me the privilege to remember my Torah study so that I may learn, teach, observe, and perform [your Torah and Mitzvot].” Similarly, one may add into his prayer, “And grant me the privilege to remember whatever I learn so that I may serve You,” if one is studying secular studies.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Shavuot- Teachings of Kindness

The Torah introduces the momentous event of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation with the verse (Shemot 19), “On the third month from when the children of Israel left Egypt, on this day they arrived at the Sinai desert.” Our Sages in the Pesikta ask: Why is it that the Torah w......

Read Halacha

“Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (The Twelfth Blessing of the Amida)

Question: In the Blessing regarding the heretics in the daily Amida prayer, how should one end the twelfth blessing: “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (He who smashes enemies and humbles the wicked) or “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Minim” (He who smashes enemies and humb......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by strik......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halachot we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha


How One Should Conduct Himself in the Morning

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5) states: “Yehuda ben Tema says: Be bold like a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and mighty as a lion to perform the will of your father in Heaven.” Let us now explain this Mishnah. The Tanna writes that one must be as “bold as a ......

Read Halacha

Deceit and Trickery

One may not deceive or trick others when it comes to monetary transactions. Monetary Deceit If one knows that one’s merchandise is flawed or faulty, one must reveal this to the buyer. For instance, if one wishes to sell his home and he knows that the ceiling is full of mold because of a bu......

Read Halacha

The Holiday of Shavuot- Coronavirus

The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated, G-d willing, at the conclusion of the period of the counting of the Omer this coming Friday (beginning from Thursday night), the 6th of Sivan (and outside of Israel on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan as well). Let us, therefore, begin to discuss some of the perti......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

Question: What is the significance of reciting Kaddish for a deceased individual? Answer: When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Simil......

Read Halacha