Halacha for Wednesday 15 Tevet 5781 December 30 2020

The Proper Time for the Morning Blessings

Question: If one has not recited the morning blessings in the morning for whatever reason and has only remembered to do so in the afternoon, may one still recite these blessings in the afternoon?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that women too are obligated to recite the morning blessings. We have quoted the Geonim who explain that this is because these blessings are not considered time-bound Mitzvot from which women are exempt, for this is a Mitzvah which is not dependent on any given time. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l derives from here that the Mitzvah of reciting the morning blessings is not contingent on time and thus, if one forgets to recite them in the morning, one may in fact recite them in the afternoon, even after mid-day, for if this were not the case, the morning blessings must be classified as “time-bound Mitzvot” from which women are exempt (similar to the Mitzvah of reciting Keri’at Shema which is time-bound since the Torah states that it should be recited “when you lay down and when you wake up”, and women are thus exempt from this Mitzvah). Since the Geonim write that women recite the morning blessings, this must mean that these blessings may be recited the entire day, even after midday. Therefore, although it is preferable to recite the morning blessings specifically in the morning, even if one has not recited them in the morning, one may still recite them for the duration of the day.

On the other hand, Hagaon Harav Yaakov Loberbaum of Lisa writes in his Siddur Etz Ha’Chaim that the morning blessings may only be recited in the morning and that following four seasonal hours after sunrise, one may no longer recite them (similar to the blessings of Keri’at Shema which may no longer be recited past four seasonal hours after sunrise). Similarly, Hagaon Harav Shlomo Kluger zt”l in his Sefer Ha’Chaim rules that the morning blessings may only be recited until midday (six seasonal hours after sunrise); however, they may not be recited in the afternoon hours. According to these opinions, it would seem that women are exempt from reciting the morning blessings, for they are contingent upon a specific time.

Nevertheless, most Poskim rule that one may recite the morning blessings throughout the entire day and they are not time-bound at all. This is the opinion of Hagaon Harav Eliyahu of Vilna in his Sefer Ma’ase Rav as well as Hagaon Harav Yishmael Ha’Kohen in his Responsa Zera Emet, in addition to many other great Acharonim. (Indeed, even if according to the Halacha one may not recite the morning blessings throughout the entire day, it still cannot be considered a full-fledged time-bound Mitzvah, but here is not the place to delve into this matter).

Hagaon HaChafetz Chaim also writes in his Sefer Mishna Berura that one should not recite the morning blessings passed midday; however, in his Sefer Machane Yisrael, which he authored for Jewish soldiers who were drafted into the Russian army, he writes that when necessary, one may act leniently and recite these blessings even after midday. Thus, he must maintain that halachically speaking, the time for reciting the morning blessings is actually the entire day.

Summary: One should be careful and try to recite the morning blessings every morning before Shacharit. Additionally, women should recite the morning blessings every morning. However, if either a man or woman forgets to recite these blessings, they may still be recited for the duration of the day.

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