Halacha Date: 29 Tevet 5781 January 13 2021
The Morning Blessings (“Birkot Ha’Shachar”) are the blessings recited every morning beginning from the “Elohai Neshama” blessing until the end of the Blessings of the Torah. Both men and women must recite these blessings, as we have discussed in the laws of the Morning Blessings and the laws of Torah study.
The most preferable time for one to recite these blessings is before one begins Shacharit services. However, if one has already prayed Shacharit, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that one may no longer recite the “Elohai Neshama” blessings, for one has already exempted himself of reciting this blessing by reciting the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing within the Amida prayer. This is because the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing includes the subject matter of the “Elohai Neshama” blessing which concludes, “Blessed are you Hashem Who returns souls to dead corpses.”
Similarly, one may not recite the Blessings of the Torah (the three blessings following the Morning Blessings, i.e., “Al Divrei Torah,” “Ve’Ha’arev Na,” and “Asher Bachar Banu”) after one has prayed Shacharit, for one exempts himself of reciting these blessings by reciting the “Ahavat Olam” blessing before Keri’at Shema, for this blessing includes the ideas contained in the Blessings of the Torah, as the blessing states, “And place understanding in our hearts etc. to study and to teach etc. all the words of your Torah with love.”
Nevertheless, the remainder of the Morning Blessings may be recited even after one has concluded Shacharit prayers, anytime during the day that one becomes aware that he has forgotten to recite them.
Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l adds that if one has forgotten to recite the Morning Blessings and remembers this while reciting Pesukei De’Zimra (the portion of the Shacharit prayer between “Baruch She’amar” and “Yishtabach”), one should not recite these blessings in middle of Pesukei De’Zimra, for one will still be able to recite them after praying Shacharit. Only the “Elohai Neshama” blessing should be recited between “Yishtabach” and the “Yotzer Or” blessing (meaning after one concludes the words “Melech Mehullal Ba’Tishbachot, Amen” before beginning the “Yotzer Or” blessing), for if one waits until the conclusion of Shacharit prayers to recite this blessing, one will no longer be able to do so since one will have fulfilled his obligation with the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing, as we have explained. If one realizes that he forgotten to recite the Morning Blessings once he has already begun the “Yotzer Or” blessing, one may recite the “Elohai Neshama” blessing between the two blessings of Keri’at Shema (i.e. before beginning the “Ahavat Olam” blessing) or between the chapters of Keri’at Shema (such as after the word “U’visharecha” at the end of the first chapter of Keri’at Shema), for one may interrupt in these places in order to recite a blessing which, if it is not recited now, cannot be recited later.
The same applies to the Blessings of the Torah in that they should be recited before beginning the “Yotzer Or” blessing. If one only realizes he has forgotten to recite them after beginning the “Yotzer Or” blessing, one may recite them in between the Blessings of Keri’at Shema, before beginning the “Ahavat Olam” blessing. However, if one becomes aware that he has forgotten to recite the Blessings of the Torah in the midst of reciting Pesukei De’Zimra, one must immediately recite the “Asher Bachar Banu” in order to be able to continue reciting the chapters of Pesukei De’Zimra which are words of Torah and cannot be recited without first reciting this blessing. The remaining Blessings of the Torah, “Al Divrei Torah” and “Ve’Ha’arev Na” should be recited later, between “Yishtabach” and “Yotzer Or,” as we have established above.
In the next Halacha, we shall, G-d-willing, discuss the law regarding women in this context.