Halacha for Monday 29 Tishrei 5780 October 28 2019

The “She’Asa Li Ness” Blessing- Maran zt”l’s Gratitude

The Gemara (Berachot 54a) states that anytime one passes a location where a miracle happened to him, one must recite the following blessing: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Asa Li Ness Ba’Makom Hazeh.” Indeed, the Gemara there recounts an incident where an individual was walking on the southern edge of the Euphrates River when he was attacked by a lion. Miraculously, he was saved. When this individual later told Rava what had occurred, Rava told him that every time he passed the southern edge of the Euphrates River, he must recite the “She’Asa Li Ness” blessing.

We see from the above that one must thank Hashem for the miracles He performs for us every day. This is especially true regarding occurrences that are out of the ordinary.

Nevertheless, one should not recite the “She’Asa Li Ness Ba’Makom Hazeh” blessing on every type of miracle. Only miracles that are out of the norm require this blessing. Indeed, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules (Chapter 218 quoting Rabbeinu David Abudirhem and Rabbeinu Asher of Lonil) that our Sages instituted this blessing to be recited for miracles which are unnatural and out of the norm, such as being attacked by a lion and being saved, in which case one’s salvation is certainly miraculous.

However, for other things which occur, such as one falling onto train tracks and is able to escape several seconds before an oncoming train passes or if one is present in a place where there is gunfire and was not hit by the bullets, one may not recite the “She’Asa Li Ness Ba’Makom Hazeh” blessing since this salvation is not something which is completely unnatural or out of the norm.

Discussing this matter, Maran zt”l writes: “If a completely unnatural miracle occurs to an individual, such as if a large boulder or beam falls on an individual or if one run over by a car and according to the natural course of events, one should have died, one must recite the blessing, ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Asa Li Ness Ba’Makom Hazeh’ upon seeing this place. Similarly, this individual’s children and grandchildren must recite the blessing ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Asa La’avotenu Ness Ba’Makom Hazeh’ upon passing this place. However, for such miracles that are somewhat natural, such as if one was attacked by burglars at night or was in the vicinity of a shooting and emerged unharmed, this blessing is not recited.”

This blessing can only be recited once every thirty days.

Clearly though, one must certainly thank Hashem profusely even for miracles that are somewhat natural. Indeed, in the month of Elul, 5766 (2006), Maran zt”l fell very ill and required a difficult angioplasty. Jews all over the world stormed the gates of Heaven for his complete recovery as the danger to his life then was very great. Through nothing less than a miracle, Maran zt”l recuperated and returned to his regular self completely. Below is how Maran zt”l described his ordeal:

“I am eternally grateful to Hashem for all he has done for me. In the month of Elul, 5766, I required an emergency angioplasty and even after the procedure, I was ill for most of the month of Tishrei, 5767. With Hashem’s kindness, I slowly returned to good health as a result of the prayers of the masses. Hashem has likewise allowed me the merit to write about the laws of Blessings of Thanks during the month of Tishrei, 5767. I take this opportunity to thank G-d. (Chazon Ovadia- Berachot, page 338)

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