18 – Words of Torah in our Prayers and the Blessing of SheAsah Li Kol Tzorki

Most of the passages that we say in the framework of Korbanot (Sacrifices) are included [in our prayers] for two reasons: 1) [to serve] as a substitute for [actual] sacrifices and a preparation for prayer, 2) to give every Jew the opportunity to learn Torah every day – [by reciting] verses from Scriptures, Mishnayot, and Talmudic statements. Consequently, on Tish’a B’Av, when one is forbidden to study Torah, the question arises, is it permissible to recite these passages? Many [poskim] hold that the main purpose of any part of our liturgy is prayer-related and one is, therefore, allowed to recite it on Tish’a B’Av. The Sefardim, as well as some Ashkenazim, follow this viewpoint. Other [authorities] maintain that on Tish’a B’Av one is permitted to say only what he says on a regular basis in his prayers. He should not, however, say that which he does not usually say in the section of Korbanot.[22]

Some people are accustomed to saying several chapters of Tehillim every day, such that they complete the entire book once a month. Some [authorities] say that one may recite these daily chapters on Tish’a B’Av, after midday. Others maintain that it is better to push it off until after the fast (M.B. 554:7, K.H.C. 20).[23]

One of the blessings we say in the morning is SheAsah Li Kol Tzorki, in which we thank God for providing us with shoes to wear. Even though it is forbidden to wear leather shoes on Tish’a B’Av and Yom Kippur, Ashkenazim and some Sefardim say the blessing, because it is a general expression of thanksgiving for the normal way of the world, not for the shoes one wears on any particular day. Moreover, one is permitted to wear non-leather shoes on these days. Furthermore, we put on [regular] shoes after the fast is over, and some say that the blessings we say in the morning apply to the night, as well. According to the Ari, however, one should not recite this blessing on [these] fast days. Most Sefardim follow this viewpoint.[24]

On the night of Tish’a B’Av, one is permitted to say the entire order of Kri’at Shema Al HaMittah (the recitation of Shema before going to sleep), because the verses included therein are said for the purpose of prayer, not Torah study.


[22]. The Shulchan Aruch (554:3) states that one may say the entire order of daily prayer, even the Midrash of Rabbi Yishma’el. The Aruch HaShulchan (554:6) concurs. The Rama (559:4) writes that one should not say Pitum HaKetoret. See Hilchot Chag BeChag 7:44, where [the author] explains that [the Rama] is referring to the Pitum HaKetoret at the end of Shacharit, for not everyone is accustomed to saying it. The Mishnah Berurah (554:7), however, implies that [the Rama’s statement] refers to the Pitum HaKetoret said before the prayer service. Either way, it seems from the Mishnah Berurah that the rule is as follows: whatever people regularly say in their daily prayers may be said onTish’a B’Av as well. This is the second opinion I mentioned above. See Piskei Teshuvot 554:4, Torat HaMo’adim 8:19.

[23]. The Taz permits one to recite the daily portion of the parashahsh’nayim mikra ve’echad targum – [on Tish’a B’Av], and there are those who rely on his opinion, like Chabad Chassidim with regard to Chitat (Chumash, Tehillim, and Tanya). However, the overwhelming majority of Acharonim do not accept this viewpoint, as the Sha’ar HaTziyun (554:11) explains. Similarly, one should not read the daily portion of Chok LeYisrael or Ma’amadot, as the Birkei Yosef (554:5) and Mishnah Berurah (554:7) write. One whose loved one is ill may say Tehillim on his behalf, even before midday, because it [is being said] for a special reason (Divrei Malki’el 6:9; Torat HaMo’adim 8:19, end of note).

[24]. The Rosh, Ran, and Tur (O.C. 613) are of the opinion that one should recite SheAsah Li Kol Tzorki on Yom Kippur, and the Mishnah Berurah (554:31) agrees. According to the Rambam, however, one does not recite the blessing, because he holds that one does not recite a blessing [on something] unless he derives pleasure from it, as the Beit Yosef (O.C. 613) explains. The Vilna Gaon followed this custom, but he would say the blessing after the fast, upon putting on his [regular] shoes (Ma’aseh Rav 9). In general, the Ari’s custom was to recite blessings even [upon things] from which one derives no pleasure (see Peninei Halachah, Tefillah 9:3), but he said that one should not recite [certain] blessings on fast days, and that is what his followers do in practice, as quoted in Kaf HaChayim (46:17). The author of Rav Po’alim (2:8) writes that the blessing should not be recited even after the fast is completed. See Hilchot Chag BeChag 7:36. See Torat HaMo’adim (10:14) where the author mentions the accepted Sefardic ruling not to recite the blessing on fast days, but he adds that those who do say it have [authorities] upon whom to rely. At the end of the footnote, he writes that his father, the brilliant R. Ovadyah Yosef, is actually accustomed to saying the blessing.