Halacha Date: 26 Tevet 5771 January 2 2011
Several days ago, we explained when the proper time for Birkot HaShachar is. We said that one who forgets to recite the Birkot HaShachar in the morning may do so for the remainder of the day, at least until sunset, for these blessings are not time-bound in that one must recite them in the morning. Rather, one may recite them anytime during the day.
We were asked by many readers if this applies equally to Birkot HaShachar and Birkot HaTorah (blessings over Torah learning). Since we have already dealt with this matter in the past, we will explain these laws briefly:
Birkot HaShachar, which are the daily blessings beginning with “Elokay Neshama” and ending with the Birkot HaTorah, must be recited by everyone, men and women included, as we have previously explained in the Halachot of Birkot HaShachar and Torah learning. The optimal time for these blessings to be recited is before one begins the Shacharit prayer. However, if one has already concluded the Shacharit prayer, even though we explained that these blessings may indeed be recited for the duration of the day, if one remembers in the afternoon that he has not yet recited these blessings, he no longer recites the blessing of “Elokay Neshama” for he has already fulfilled his obligation of doing so with his recitation of the “Mechaye HaMetim” blessing in the Amida prayer. Similarly, one may also not recite the Birkot HaTorah (which are the last three blessings of the Birkot HaShachar of “Asher Kideshanu etc. Al Divrei Torah”, “VeHa’arev Na”, and “Asher Bachar Banu”) after he has finished praying Shacharit for he has already fulfilled his obligation with the blessing of “Ahavat Olam”, which is the blessing before Keriat Shema. This is because included in the “Ahavat Olam” blessing is the idea of Birkot HaTorah for we recite “VeTen BeLibenu Bina etc. Lilmod Ulelamed” (“please endow our hearts with understanding etc. to learn and to teach [Torah]”). Nevertheless, the other Birkot HaShachar should be recited even after one has prayed Shacharit, whenever he remembers to recite them, for the remainder of the day.
Maran Harav Shlit”a writes that if one forgets to recite the Birkot HaShachar and remembers this during Pesukei DeZimra (the psalms and verses between “Baruch She’amar” and “Yishtabach”), he should not interrupt in the middle of Pesukei DeZimra in order to recite these blessings since he can recite them just the same after praying. However, one should recite the “Elokay Neshama” blessing between Yishtabach and “Yotzer” (after the words “Melech Kel Hai Ha’Olamim, Amen” before beginning the “Yotzer Or” blessing) for if he does not recite it then, after praying he will already have fulfilled his obligation with the blessing of “Mechaye HaMetim”. If one remembers that he has forgotten to recite the Birkot HaShachar after he has already begun the blessing of “Yotzer Or”, he may still recite the blessing of “Elokay Neshama” in between the Birkot Keriat Shema (before beginning the “Ahavat Olam” blessing) or in between the paragraphs of Keriat Shema (for instance after “Uvish’arecha”), for one may indeed interrupt in these places by reciting a blessing that, if he does not do so now, he will be unable to recite afterwards.
Similarly, the Birkot HaTorah should be recited before the blessing of “Yotzer”, and if he has only remembered after commencing the blessing of “Yotzer”, he may still recite them between the paragraphs of Birkot Keriat Shema, i.e. before the “Ahavat Olam” blessing. However, if one remembers that he has forgotten to recite the Birkot HaTorah in the middle of reciting the Pesukei DeZimra, he should immediately stop and recite the blessing of “Asher Bachar Banu” in order to be able to continue his recitation of Pesukei DeZimra, for one may not recite the verses in Pesukei DeZimra without first reciting this blessing. One may then recite the rest of the Birkot HaTorah in one of the aforementioned ways.