[Avodah] How do Chabad deal with the Amen of Krias Shema

Jay F Shachter jay at m5.chicago.il.us
Mon Feb 25 19:16:39 PST 2013

> Can someone clue me in on exactly what the problem is here? I
> understand that some (I think it was the MB citing the Gra) say that
> the bracha before Shema is a Birkas Hamitzvah, but I have never
> heard an explanation of WHY that might be so. In fact, I have four
> questions, all of which suggest that it is NOT so.
> 1) Is it a Birkas Hamitzva when one davens Maariv after Plag
> Hamincha for whatever reason? Does *anyone* object to answering Amen
> to the Chazan under such circumstances?
> 2) Is it a Birkas Hamitzva when one davens Shacharis during the
> fourth hour for whatever reason? Does *anyone* object to answering
> Amen to the Chazan under such circumstances?
> 3) Is it a hefsek - according to *anyone* - to say "E- Melech
> Neeman" if one is saying Shma without a minyan for whatever reason?
> 4) Do we have any other examples where the Matbea Shetib'u Chachamim
> of a Birkas Hamitzvah does not begin with "Asher Kid'shanu"?
> Rather, it seems to me that there simply isn't any Birkas Hamitzvah
> on saying Shma. WHY there isn't a Birkas Hamitzva is an interesting
> question, but it is not what is being asked right now.
> I do concede that Ahavah Rabba CAN BE used as a substitute Birkas
> Hamitzvah for the morning's Birkas Hatorah.  But that's a b'di[avad]
> solution to a real problem, if one did not say Birkas Hatorah
> earlier.  Given that Aha[vah] Raba IS a bracha, and it DOES mention
> learning, I'm not arguing against those who say that it can be used
> for this purpose b'di[avad]. I'm just trying to understand those who
> say that Chazal established a Birkas Hamitzvah for Mitzvas Krias
> Shema, and that this bracha is known as Ahava Rabba (and Ahavas
> Olam).

The author of the above-quoted passage is probably not aware that
Ovadia Yosef pasqns that women should not recite the full text of the
benedictions preceding and following the Shma` (i.e., with God's
name).  This implies that those benedictions are -- at least,
according to Ovadia Yosef -- similar in nature to the benedictions
attendant upon performing a mitzva (which, as we know, Sfardiyoth do
not recite, when they perform mitzvoth -- like, e.g., reading the
shma` -- that they are not obliged to perform).

			Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
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				jay at m5.chicago.il.us

			"Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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