Friday, September 25, 2009

Haazinu 5770

The possuk in this week’s sedrah says (דברים ל״ב ג'):

כי שם ה' אקרא הבו גודל לאלוקנו
The gemara in Berachos daf כ״א עמוד א' learns from this that there is a chiyuv to make a birchas hatorah.

Normally we make the birchas hatorah as part of birchas hashachar, however if someone gets up early to learn they have to make the beracha before they start learning. The gemara in Berachos (דף י״א עמוד ב') says:
השכים לשנות עד שלא קרא ק"ש צריך לברך
“If someone gets up early to learn before he has said kerias shema he has to say birchas hatorah.”

The Rashba (דף י״א עמוד ב') relates that when Rashi z”l got up early to learn he would first of all make a birchas hatorah. Then, when he went to shul, he would make a birchas hatorah again. Rashi explained that this is not a beracha levatoloh because just as when you say birchas hatorah in the morning you still say another beracha when you have an aliyah, so too here you can make a beracha when learning early and then make another beracha when you get to shul.

Tosafos asks that these cases are not comparable? The reason that you make another beracha when you have an aliyah is that this is a beracha on the chiyuv of leining which is a chiyuv on the tzibbur to learn. This beracha addresses a different chiyuv to the personal beracha that you make in the morning when you start davening. That is why it is not a beracha levatoloh. However you can’t make one beracha when you get up and another beracha when you get to shul because both of these berachos are for your personal chiyuv to learn and the second one is a beracha levatoloh?

The Emek Beracha says that we can understand Rashi with an explanation of the Brisker Rov z”l. The Brisker Rov repeated an explanation of the birchas hatorah in the name of Reb Chaim z”l who said that birchas hatorah is not a birchas hamitzvos that you say on the chiyuv to learn Torah, rather it is a birchas hashevach, as the passuk says:

דברים ל״ב ג') כי שם ה' אקרא הבו גודל לאלוקנו)

“When I mention the name of Hashem, declare the greatness of Hashem.”
When we learn Torah we praise Hashem for giving us the Torah and for teaching the Torah to us.

Therefore, says the Emek Beracha, because this is a birchas hashevach it is possible to say it many times in one day, just as if you see a rainbow twice in one day you can make two berachos. As long as you have two different learning sesssions, as when Rashi learned at home and then said the korbanos again in shul, you can make two berachos.

The Emek Beracha brings a proof for the Brisker Rov z”l from a gemara in Berachos דף י״א עמוד ב' where there is a machlokes when you have to make a birchas hatorah.

אמר רב הונא למקרא צריך לברך ולמדרש א"צ לברך ור' אלעזר אמר למקרא ולמדרש צריך לברך למשנה א"צ לברך ור' יוחנן אמר אף למשנה נמי צריך לברך [אבל לתלמוד א"צ לברך] ורבא אמר אף לתלמוד צריך לברך דאמר רב חייא בר אשי זימנין סגיאין הוה קאימנא קמיה דרב לתנויי פרקין בספרא דבי רב הוה מקדים וקא משי ידיה ובריך ומתני לן פרקין

“Rav Huna says that you need to make a birchas hatorah for chumash but not for medrash. Rebbi Elozor says you need to make birchas hatorah for chumash and medrash but not for mishnayos, Rebbi Yochanan says you even need to say birchas ha’torah for mishnayos but not for gemara. Rava says that even for gemara you need to make a beracha as Rav Chiya bar Ashi related; ‘Often when we sat in front of Rav to learn our perek in the beis hamedrash Rav would first wash his hands, make a birchas hatorah and then teach us our perek.’”

The Emek Beracha asks, why should you only make a beracha on Chumash? To the contrary, we learn halacha from the Gemara so if anything we should make the beracha more on Gemara than when we learn Chumash? In fact Rabbeinu Yonah explains that the reason that you do make a beracha on medrash is because it contains pesukim from the Chumash.

The Emek Beracha explains that the birchas hatorah is a birchas hashevach on the Torah. More specifically, it is a birchas hashevach on the שם ה' that is contained in the Torah. The Ramban at the beginning of Chumash explains that the whole Chumash is composed of names of Hakodosh Boruch Hu. The beracha on the Torah is said when we mention pessukim that contain the names of Hashem. Subsequently there is only a chiyuv to make the birchas hatorah when learning chumash or when learning something else which contains pessukim from the Chumash.

The Emek Beracha says; If the birchas hatorah would be a beracha on the chiyuv to learn Torah it would be irrelevant which part of the Torah you are learning, because the beracha is on your mitzva and not directly on the Torah. However if the chiyuv of birchas hatorah is to praise Hashem for the Torah that we are learning then the gemara can say that this chiyuv is specifically on the the Chumash and not on other parts of the Torah, because the Chumash is comprised of names of Hashem. Therefore we have a proof for the Brisker Rov z”l that birchas hatorah is a birchas hashevach.

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