Volume 6 Number 10

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Berachot and Tchinot on Significant Life Events
         [Rivkah Lambert]
Far East Flights Questions
         [Tsiel Ohayon]
Feld Brothers Both Out on Bail Now
         [Jeff Finger]
When to make Berachot (6)
         [Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth, Neil Parks, Freda Birnbaum, Sam Gamoran,
Anthony Fiorino, Scott Andrew Sundick]


From: <LAMBERT@...> (Rivkah Lambert)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 21:41:36 -0500
Subject: Berachot and Tchinot on Significant Life Events

While I recognize that the question of , "Why no barach for a Get?" is
based on a notion that a get is a positive, commanded mitzvah, it raises
a larger question, particularly for women.

Does it not seem peculiar that there is no bracha, no liturgy at all,
for women who have just given birth?  I was advised to make a
shechechianu when I was cleaned up, but that hardly seems significant
enough, powerful enough to capture the truly unique gratitude and
spiritual awe of giving birth to a healthy child.  Why is there a bracha
for using the bathroom, for seeing a head of state, etc, etc and no
brachas to mark some of the most powerful examples of Divine
intervention in a woman's life?

This is a rhetorical question, of course.  I don't expect an answer.
But it does raise the issue of observant Jewish women's need for
halachic, appropriae expressions of our spiritual experiences,
expressions that are all but absent from tradition.

Interestingly, there is a re-emergence of techinas, prayers written,
usually in Yiddish, specifically for women, that were quite commonly
said by Ashkenazi women in history.  There are currently at least 3
books of techinas published in the last 18 months.  These prayers speak
to the unique experiences of women, prayers to be said, for example,
upon returning from the mikveh, prior to lighting Shabbos candles, after
weaning a child, etc.  There is at least one (and probably only one)
techina in the Artscroll siddur, but it is not identified as such by
Artscroll.  I can provide citations for anyone who might be interested
in more detail.



From: <ohayon@...> (Tsiel Ohayon)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 12:23:54 EST
Subject: Far East Flights Questions

The question that I have is as follows: (It actually came up two months

If someone is to fly out of Houston Friday afternoon around 2:00 PM,
well before for Shabbat, bound for Tokyo, this person will not land in
Tokyo till 6:00 PM Tokyo time the following day.  Shabbat in Tokyo, in
the winter at least, will have ended by then. The time difference
between Tokyo and Houston is 16 hours and the flight is 12 hours. Also
the person in question will not see darkness during his/her flight, and
when he/she does, Shabbat is already over in that part of the world. How
permissible is this? How does one "make up" for the lost Shabbat, since
there is no such thing. The best is to avoid that flight, but that is
not the answer I'm looking for :-).

Somewhat related:

If someone is to fly out of the Far-East bound for the U.S.  due to the
big time difference this person will see the sun rise twice in the same
day. Therefore should this person put on Tefilin twice on that day? I
personally would put tefilin twice and daven shacharit twice because of
the sunrise. On the other hand coming back from the US one does not see
sunset for two days.  So I guess there is no need to put tefilin on and
daven shacharit.  Does anyone have any suggestions.



From: Jeff Finger <jfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 18:53:39 -0500
Subject: Feld Brothers Both Out on Bail Now

I just spoke with Rabbi Yosef Levin, the Palo Alto, California Chabad
shali'ax who has been in contact with the Feld Brothers during their
imprisonment. Rabbi Levin said that Yisrael Feld (as well as Avraham) is
now out of jail on bail. Yisrael bentsh'ed gomel this morning at shul.

The Felds go to trial soon [Jan 19 - Mod.] on "conspiracy to commit

-- Itzhak "Jeff" Finger --


From: <METH@...> (Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 08:05:55 -0500
Subject: Re: When to make Berachot

Jonathan Horen asks why there is no berachah for the act of procreation.
The answer I have heard (sorry, no reference), is that this act is a
"hechsher mitzvah" [preparation for a mitzvah], and does not require a
berachah.  The actual mitzvah of peru u'revu [procreation] is fulfilled
upon the _birth_ of the offspring.

As for a berachah on a get, that's a good question; I haven't heard an
answer.  Perhaps, "boruch dayan emes" is in order, since the gemara says
that one who divorces his wife, even the Mizbeyach [altar] cries for the

From: <neil.parks@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 93 02:05:00 
Subject: When to make Berachot

Divorce isn't really a "positive command" in the sense of being
something that we must do (like eating in a Succah or lighting Shabbos

The ideal state is marriage.  When a marriage fails, then a "get" is the
way we are commanded to end it.  But if we said a brocha on the get,
then we would in effect be making a brocha on a failure.

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From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 06:11 EDT
Subject: When to make Berachot

Jonathan B. Horen asks, in V6#8, re "Why No Brocha for a Get?"

>Also: why a brocha for brit mila, but not for the *act* of procreation?

I don't know why there's no brocha over giving a get, but I have heard
it explained that actually there _are_ brochos over procreation, but
they're said way ahead of time... the sheva brochos at the wedding.

I suppose it's related to the fact that a man isn't required to say the
nighttime Sh'ma on his wedding night...

Freda Birnbaum, <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"

From: <shg@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 11:28:36 -0500
Subject: When to make Berachot

There is no mitzvah to give a get - If it need be done, it should be
done properly - but no bracha.  All the brochot fall into the category
of obligatory mitzvot e.g. shma, tfillin, devaning, holiday mitzvot...
or birchot ha'nehenin - brachot on things which we 'enjoy' e.g. before
eating (birchat hamazon after eating is a separate category of
obligatory mitzvot).  I don't think the sages viewed giving a get as
'nehenin' although I'm sure there have been some cases construed as such

As for procreation -
1) You never know for sure when it is going to happen (successfully)
2) I remember hearing a drasha (sorry I don't remember whose) that mitzvot
for which there is no fixed quantity/time don't have a bracha.  For example,
there is no bracha on giving tzedaka (charity) even though that is a general

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 02:47:32 -0500
Subject: When to make Berachot

Jonathan B. Horen asked why there is no bracha over the mitzvah of
giving a get, or over pru ur'vu:

There are many mitzvot over which there is no birkat hamitzvah; for
instance, bikur cholim [visiting the sick], hachnaset orchim
[hospitality], and so on; meanwhile, there some obscure mitzvot over
which a bracha is required (ie, building a parapet on one's roof).

I think the answer is the following: a mitzvah requires a bracha when
the fact of the mitzvah happening is dependent upon the person doing the
mitzvah; for instance, one builds/buys a home, then becomes m'chuiv in
mezuzah; one (one's wife, rather) has a son, then one becomes m'chuiv in
mila, one decides to put on t'filin, then must says the bracha.
Alternatively, mitzvot which are time-bound also seem to fall into this
category -- ie, purim arrives, and one is m'chuiv in megila.

On the other hand, mitzvot like tzedakah, pru ur'vu, bikur cholim,
hachnasat orchim, returning a bird to its nest, are mitzvot all the
time, but external circumstances alone dictate when one will be able to
perform the mitzvah (ie, there's gotta be sick people to visit).  So
perhaps there is no bracha made on these because one does not have
control over when one will be able to do the mitzvah.

This makes more sense to me than I've explained it above.  Does anyone
else see it this way? (or even better, do Chazal see it this way?)  If
so, can someone explain it more clearly?

Eitan Fiorino

From: Scott Andrew Sundick <sas34@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 09:41:30 -0500
Subject: When to make Berachot

>Why a brocha for the act of a brit and not for that of procreation?
 I belive I heard that there is no brocha for the act of procreation
because the Yetzer Harah is responsible for our desire.
Yisrael Sundick


End of Volume 6 Issue 10