Halacha for Sunday 8 Elul 5779 September 8 2019

Blessings of the Torah Before Selichot

Question: We customarily recite Selichot before Shacharit prayers. Must we recite the blessings of the Torah before Selichot?

Answer: “Blessings of the Torah” refers to the last three blessings of the morning blessings, namely “Al Divrei Torah,” “Ve’Ha’arev Na,” and “Asher Bachar Banu” as is printed in all Siddurim.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 46, Section 9) rules: “One should not read verses before having recited the blessings of the Torah, even when this is being done in a manner of supplication. However, others say that one need not be concerned since the verses are being recited in a manner of supplication. It is nevertheless correct to act in accordance with the former opinion.” This means that clearly, one may not study Torah before having recited the blessings of the Torah. The question is whether or not reciting verses in a manner of supplication constitutes Torah study. Thus, according to the first opinion, one should first recite the blessings of the Torah and only then begin to pray. On the other hand, the second opinion quoted in Shulchan Aruch maintains that reciting verses in a manner of supplication is not tantamount to Torah study and one need not recite the blessings of the Torah before saying such verses.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch writes that it is appropriate to follow the first opinion, i.e. to recite the blessings of the Torah and only after to recite additional verses. Nevertheless, the Rama, whose rulings are followed by Ashkenazi Jewry, writes: “However, the custom in Germany follows the latter opinion, for during the days of Selichot, the custom is to recite Selichot first and only later recite the blessings of the Torah.”

Nonetheless, the prevalent Sephardic custom follows Maran Ha’Bet Yosef who quotes the Orchot Chaim who writes that it is customary to recite the blessings of the Torah first even during the days when Selichot is recited. However, regarding Ashkenazi Jews, Maharshal writes that in Germany the custom was to rely on the opinion of Maharil who ruled that one need not recite the blessings of the Torah before reciting verses from the Torah in a manner of prayer and supplication.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes (in his Chazon Ovadia- Yamim Nora’im, page 5 and Yabia Omer Volume 9, Chapter 108) that although it seems Maran’s ruling in Shulchan Aruch to recite the blessings of the Torah before reciting verses is merely a “correct” thing to do but according to the letter of the law, Maran did not rule explicitly that one must recite the blessings of the Torah first, nevertheless, since a responsa of the Rambam (Pe’er Ha’Dor, Chapter 104) where he writes that the blessings of the Torah must be recited first was discovered after the passing of Maran, the blessings of the Torah should certainly be recited before Selichot, especially when reciting “Ashrei” at the beginning of the Selichot.

Summary: One should recite the blessings of the Torah before reciting Selichot. There is no distinction between men and women regarding this law.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

The Reasons and Parameters of This Law If one is eating dairy foods, our Sages have enacted that one may not allow meat foods to be placed on the same table. For instance, one who is eating bread with cheese may not place meat on the same table. The reason for this is because we are concerned that ......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha