Halacha for Thursday 1 Shevat 5781 January 14 2021

The Law Regarding a Woman Who Forgets to Recite the Blessings of the Torah

We have explained in the previous Halacha that if one forgets to recites the Blessings of the Torah and only realizes this after one has concluded Shacharit prayers, one may no longer recite these blessings, for one has already fulfilled his obligation with the “Ahavat Olam” blessing recited before Keri’at Shema since this blessing likewise discusses the idea of Torah study, similar to the Blessings of the Torah.

According to most Rishonim, women are exempt from reciting Keri’at Shema, for this is a positive, time-bound Mitzvah (for one is not obligated to recite Keri’at Shema at all times, only in the morning and in the evening) and women are exempt from most positive, time-bound Mitzvot. Nevertheless, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 70, Section 1) writes that it is preferable for women to act somewhat stringently and accept the yoke of Heaven by reading the first verse of Keri’at Shema daily.

According to the Sephardic custom, a woman who wishes to perform a Mitzvah she is exempt from, such as Keri’at Shema, may not recite a blessing before performing it. Thus, women do not recite the Blessings of Keri’at Shema, i.e. the blessings of “Yotzer Or,” “Ahavat Olam,” and “Ga’al Yisrael,” while reciting Hashem’s name and kingship (Elokeinu).

Let us now return to our topic. If a woman has recited the Blessings of Keri’at Shema without the name of Hashem and later realizes that she has forgotten to recite the Blessings of the Torah, she may indeed still recite the Blessings of the Torah, for she does not share the same law as a man who has forgotten to recite these blessings and is exempt by reciting the “Ahavat Olam” blessing since she has not mentioned the name of Hashem and any blessing that does not contain Hashem’s name and kingship is not halachically considered a blessing. She must therefore recite the Blessings of the Torah whenever she realizes that she has forgotten to, even after the conclusion of Shacharit prayers. If she realizes that she has forgotten to recite these blessings before reciting Keri’at Shema, she may recite the Blessings of the Torah before beginning Keri’at Shema or between the chapters of Keri’at Shema, as we have explained regarding a man who has forgotten these blessings in the previous Halacha.

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