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

Kenneth Miller kennethgmiller at juno.com
Tue Feb 26 05:22:11 PST 2013

I asked:
> ... ,,, 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).

R' Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter responded:
> 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).

Without me seeing Rav Yosef's reasoning, it is difficult to comment. However, working just from what has been presented here -- namely, that ALL of these benedictions are in the same category, and he does not seem to be singling out the last one just prior to the Sh'ma -- I would suspect that the problem has nothing to do with the Sefardic reluctance for women to say a bracha on a mitzvah that they're exempt from, but to the larger Sefardic reluctance about ANY bracha which is not a clear and direct obligation. The most famous example of this might be their not saying Hagefen on the second and fourth cups at the Seder. Similarly, if Rav Yosef is saying that women should not say ANY of the brachos between Barchu and Amidah, then it is more likely related to whether or not those brachos constitute a required tefila, and less likely related to Shma itself.

As a side point, but very relevant: What does Rav Yosef say for a woman who chooses to say Pesukei Dzimra? Does she say or omit Baruch Sheamar and Yishtabach? Any why?

Akiva Miller
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