Peninei Halakha

07. Birkhot Ha-Torah for the Whole Day

Birkhot Ha-Torah recited by a woman in the morning remains effective all day. Even if she goes to eat and to work afterwards, she does not need to repeat the berakhot upon returning to her studies.

The poskim disagree about whether men must repeat Birkhot Ha-Torah after regular sleep (ibid. 10:6). However, it is a matter of consensus that women only recite Birkhot Ha-Torah once in a 24-hour period and do not repeat them after a regular sleep. Therefore, a woman who wakes up after midnight and intends to go back to sleep a few hours later recites Birkhot Ha-Torah and Birkhot Ha-shaĥar after her main rising (as explained above, 6:6). 1

The poskim disagree about whether a man who was awake all night must recite Birkhot Ha-Torah (Peninei Halakha: Prayer 10:7). However, a woman who was awake for a full 24-hour period does not recite Birkhot Ha-Torah in the morning; instead, she says Birkat Ahavat Olam and afterwards recites the first paragraph of Shema, thereby fulfilling her obligation of Birkhot Ha-Torah (see above, ch. 6 n. 4).

If a woman sleeps a regular sleep during the day prior to the night she stayed awake, she recites Birkhot Ha-Torah the following morning (MB 47:28; Peninei Halakha: Prayer, ch. 10 n. 9).

  1. Tzlaĥ, Berakhot 11b offers a novel insight: A woman who interrupted her studies to do other things and then returned to her studies must repeat Birkhot Ha-Torah. Men do not repeat the berakhot because their obligation to study lasts through the day and night, but a woman has no such obligation; rather, every time she studies she must make a new berakha. However, this opinion was not accepted as halakha. Rav Kook (Tov Ro’i on Berakhot, §95) writes that since the basis of women’s obligation of Birkhot Ha-Torah is inferior to that of men, it makes no sense for the less important obligation to exceed the more significant one. In addition, Birkei Yosef (cited in Kaf Ha-ĥayim 47:34) states that in any case of uncertainty women do not recite the berakhot. Although in n. 4 we mentioned that there are poskim who disagree with Birkei Yosef, which maintains that all agree that women’s obligation in Birkhot Ha-Torah is rabbinic, nevertheless, in practice, it seems that they agree they do not recite the berakha in cases of uncertainty (Halikhot Beitah 3:3,5; Halikhot Shlomo 6:4).

    Furthermore, based on what we explained in sections 1 and 3 above, we can explain that the primary reason that women recite Birkhot Ha-Torah is is their connection to the whole of the Torah, its fulfillment, and their requirement to study practical laws, principles of faith, and ethics. Therefore, the berakha does not pertain to any particular study; rather it is a general berakha regarding the essence of the Torah, and it resembles all of Birkhot Ha-shaĥar in that there is no need to say it more than once a day.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman