Halacha for Sunday 6 Kislev 5784 November 19 2023

“Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach”

Question: If one is praying alone and thus cannot answer “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” may one recite “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” on his own or not?

Answer: It is well-known that the recitation of “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” was enacted to be recited only in the presence of a quorum of ten Jewish men. If ten men are not present, this may not be recited. Thus, if one recites this alone, one transgresses the grave prohibition of uttering Hashem’s name in vain.

The Words of the Midrash
Nevertheless, our Sages in the Midrash Ruth expound the verse, “Cease from the man who has a soul within him, for of what importance is he” to mean that one’s soul does not resettle properly within him after one has slept a sleep of an established character until one recites “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” If one did not merit reciting these words, the soul leaves him. This is a very serious matter, as is explained there regarding the words of the verse.

It is for this reason that every Jewish man should take care to always pray with a Minyan in order to be able to recite “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” Similarly, a woman who merits answering “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” is especially praiseworthy although this is very difficult at times.

What One May Recite Instead of “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach
The Sefer Ha’Rokeach quotes several teachings of our Sages and writes that if one recites them, this is tantamount to answering “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” Maran Ha’Chida writes in his Tziporen Shamir that one should recite the following Baraita: “Rabbi Akiva said: There is a certain creature in Heaven and its name is ‘Yisrael’ and the word ‘Yisrael’ is engraved on its forehead. It stands in the middle of Heaven and proclaims, ‘Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach’ at which point all celestial regiments reply, ‘Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.’”

Thus, reciting this Baraita will be tantamount to answering “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” with the congregation and one’s soul will properly resettle in one’s body.

The Opinion of Maran zt”l
Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that one who recites this Baraita should omit the actual name of Hashem, for this is not the actual recitation of “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” which is recited along with Hashem’s name. Rather, one should merely recite “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” without actually uttering Hashem’s name.

Maran zt”l continues and writes that since one is not actually uttering Hashem’s name when reciting this Baraita, the benefit is not as great as one who actually recites “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” along with the congregation. It is therefore not correct to insert the recitation of this Baraita between Yishtabach and the “Yotzer Ohr” blessing (which is where “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” is recited in the synagogue); rather, one should postpone the recitation of this Baraita until the conclusion of the Shacharit prayer, prior to “Aleinu Le’Shabe’ach”.

Summary: It is extremely important to answer “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” in the synagogue. One who cannot pray with the congregation, such as if one is ill or a woman who is not accustomed to praying in the synagogue, can somewhat make up the lack of reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed” by reciting the following Baraita: “Rabbi Akiva said: There is a certain creature in Heaven and its name is ‘Yisrael’ and the word ‘Yisrael’ is engraved on its forehead. It stands in the middle of Heaven and proclaims, ‘Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach’ at which point all celestial regiments reply, ‘Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.’” The recitation of this Baraita should not include the uttering of the actual name of Hashem; rather, one should merely recite the word “Hashem”. This Baraita should be inserted following Shacharit prayers, before “Aleinu Le’Shabe’ach”. (See Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 2, Orach Chaim, Chapter 4, Section 7)

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