Birchot Kriyat Shema
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Who Is Exempt?
- Women are exempt from Birchot Kriyat Shema. 
- Ashkenazi women can voluntarily say Birchot Kriyat Shema, while Sephardi women may not make any bracha that they are not obligated to make. 
- According to Ashkenazim, some say there is an obligation to say the brachot after shema (Emet Veyatsiv, Emet VeEmunah, Haskivenu) because of the mitzvah to remember Egypt. However, according to Sephardim it is not an obligation to say any of these Birchot Kriyat Shema. 
Obligation to say Brachot Kriyat Shema
- Along with the Kriyat Shema one says seven Brachot of praise  are said as follows: by Shacharit, two Brachot prior to Shema and one after Shema, and by Arvit, two Brachot before Shema and two after Shema. 
- These Brachot are Derbanan. 
Brachot Yotzer Or
- In the Bracha of Yotzer we mention that Hashem created light and darkness in the phrase “Yotzer Or UBoreh Choshech”. 
- Some have the practice to kiss their Tefillin Shel Yad while saying “Yotzer Or UBoreh Choshech” and to keep one’s hand one the Tefillin through the entire phrase. Mekubalim have the practice not to kiss their Tefillin Shel Rosh in the Brachot Kriyat Shema. 
Making a mistake in Yotzer Or
- If one started the bracha of Yotzer with “Baruch atta Hashem…Asher Bidvaro Mariv Aravim” (the words usually said by Brachot Shema of Arvit) and concluded with “HaMariv Aravim” one doesn’t fulfill his obligation and must repeat the bracha of Yotzer. 
- If one concludes “HaMariv Aravim” even if he mentioned Yotzer Or in the beginning of the bracha one doesn’t fulfill his obligation and must repeat the bracha. 
- If one concluded with “Yotzer HaMeorot” but started the bracha of Yotzer with “Baruch atta Hashem…Asher Bidvaro Mariv Aravim” (the words usually said by Brachot Shema of Arvit), there’s a dispute whether one fulfills his obligation and so one shouldn’t repeat the bracha (Safek Brachot LeHakel). 
- If one concluded “Yotzer HaMeorot” and said the words “Yotzer Or” in the beginning of the Bracha (even not within Toch Kedei Dibur of the phrase “Bidvaro Mariv Aravim”) one fulfills his obligation. 
- If one needs to repeat the bracha of Yotzer Or (because of a mistake) it should be said immediately. However if one didn’t realize the mistake until after the next bracha of Ahavat Olam then one should only say it after Shemona Esrah. Ashkenazim have what to rely on to say Yotzer Or after Ahavat Olam before Shema. 
- If one is unsure whether he’s in middle of Brachot Yotzer Or or Ahavat Olam such as he was caught saying “HaGadol Hagibor VeHanorah” which appears in both Brachot and was unsure which he was saying, he should return the Hagol Hagibor of the first bracha. Yet, one has what to rely on to continue with the second Bracha. 
- If one hears Kedusha, one can only answer “Kadosh Kadosh…” and “Baruch Kavod…”, but not “Yimloch Hashem…” 
- One can’t answer Baruch Hu Ubaruch Shemo 
- One can’t answer the Kedusha of Brachat Yotzer or Uva Letzion. 
- One can’t interrupt for the Vayavor and the 13 midot. 
- One should answer only the first three words of Modim Derabanan, “Modim Anachnu Lach” and the rest one should just recite it in thought. 
- If one finished Yotzer Or or Ahavat Olam, Minhag Sephardim is that one shouldn’t answer amen to the bracha of Shaliach Tzibbur (or anyone else who finishes the bracha). Lechatchila one should complete the bracha together with the Shaliach Tzibbur so that one doesn’t have to get into the dispute whether one should make an amen or not. Minhag Ashkenaz is to answer amen after the bracha of the Shaliach Tzibbur but concerning Ahavat Olam it’s lechatchila to complete it with the Shaliach Tzibbur so as not to het into the dispute. 
Saying without Brachot
- Lechatchila one should say the Brachot before Shema but if one said Shema without Brachot one must still say Brachot Kriyat Shema. When he repeats the Brachot he should say Shema again. 
- One must say Brachot Kriyat quietly with the Shaliach Tzibbur. However Bedieved, if one was able to concentrate on all of the words of the Shaliach Tzibbur (even though the Brachot are very long), one can fulfill his obligation because of Shomea KeOnah.  The three stipulations for Shomea KeOneh to work are (1) that the one listening has intent to fulfill his obligation and the one reading has intent to fulfill the obligation of others,  (2) a minyan is present, and (3) the one reading hasn’t yet fulfilled his obligation. Otherwise, it only works for someone who doesn’t know how to make Brachot. Bedieved one fulfills his obligation even if the one listening knows how to make the Brachot. 
- If the Shliach Tzibbor was fulfilling the congregation their obligation and because of a mistake had be replaced in middle of Brachot Yotzer Or, if it was before Kedushat Yotzer the second Shaliach should start again from the beginning of the Bracha. However if first Shaliach already said Kedusha the second one should just begin from right after Kedushat Yotzer.  However (nowadays) if the Shliach isn’t fulfill the obligation of others because everyone is saying the Brachot to themselves, then the second Shliach just continues from where the first left off. 
- This bracha is instated as the second bracha before Shema. The Rishonim argue whether this bracha is a Birchat HaMitzvah (Bracha over a Mitzvah) or Birchat HaShevach (Bracha of praise). 
- The Sephardim start the bracha with the words “Ahavat Olam” and Ashkenazim with the words “Ahava Rabba”. 
- The bracha doesn’t begin with the words “Baruch Atta Hashem” because it’s a bracha connected to a previous bracha. 
- One should not answer Amen to his own or anyone else’s Bracha of Ga’al Yisrael even though it really isn't an interruption between Geulah and Tefillah.
- Therefore, some ashkenazim have the practice that the chazan says gaal yisrael quietly.  Others disagree and say it should be said aloud.  Ways how to avoid the dispute include finishing the bracha of gaal yisrael together with the Shaliach Tzibbur or just starting Hashem Sifatay Tiftafach a bit before the Shaliach Tzibur does.
- It is forbidden to break up Gaal Yisrael and Shemona Esrei even with a pause and not speaking.
Whether the Brachot are Me’akev
- Lechatchila, one must say Shema together with the Brachot. However, the Brachot aren’t Me’akev (necessary and prevent one from fulfilling the mitzvah) and so one fulfills his mitzvah even if he read Shema without Brachot. 
- If one only knows the Brachot or only has a Siddur with the Brachot and not Shema, one should still say the Brachot because Shema isn’t Me’akev the Brachot. However, if one knows at least the pasuk of “Shema Yisrael” one should say it with the Brachot. 
- If one said Shema without Brachot, later one can say the Brachot without Shema, but it’s preferable when one says the Brachot to repeat Shema. 
- The order of the Brachot aren’t Me’akev. Lechatchila one should say them in order, but if one said the Ahavat Olam first and then Yotzer Or one fulfills his obligation. 
- If one only has a Siddur with one or two of the Brachot and not the others or one only knows some of the Brachot, one shouldn’t say them at all because there’s a Safek Brachot Lehakel since some Rishonim hold that saying the Brachot altogether is Me’akev. The same applies if one is very close to the end of Zman Shmoneh Esrei after which one can’t say the Brachot, one shouldn’t only say some of the Brachot. 
- Magen Avraham 70:1 writes that women are exempt from Birchot Kriyat Shema since it is a time-bound mitzvah. Bear Heitev 70:1, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 70:1, Mishna Brurah 70:2, Kaf HaChaim 70:1, and Halacha Brurah 70:2 agree. Halacha Brurah (Birur Halacha 70:2) writes that this should be dependant on a dispute in the rishonim whether there is an exemption of Mitzvah Ashe SheZman Grama on Derabbanans [This is the general dispute between Tosfot (Brachot 20b D”H Tefillah, Pesachim 108b s.v. Af, Megillah 24 s.v. Mi) who writes that women are exempt from Derabban time bound mitzvot and Rashi (quoted by Tosfot Brachot 20b) who holds that women are obligated in Derabbanan time bound mitzvot.]
- Even though the Pri Megadim (Ashel Avraham 296:11) writes that brachot which do not entail any action can not be made voluntarily including Birchot Kriyat Shema, the Yeshuot Yacov 422:6 argues that any bracha that is made in preparation for a mitzvah may be made voluntarily, but brachot that are the complete mitzvah in themselves, such as Havdalah, may not be made . The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 70:1, Mishna Brurah 70:2, and Aruch HaShulchan 70:1 rule that Ashkenazic women are permitted to voluntarily say Birchot Kriyat Shema. Concerning Sephardim, the Sh”t Or Letzion 2:5 pg 55 writes that since Birchot Kriyat Shema are praise, women are permitted to volunteer to say them, while Sh”t Yabia Omer 8:8 and Sh”t Otzrot Yosef 4:3 argue that brachot may not be made voluntarily even in such cases. Halacha Brurah (Birur Halacha 70:3) explains that for Sephardim there is a triple safek to permit women to make the bracha: 1) perhaps women are obligated in Derabbanan time bound mitzvot (like Rashi and not Tosfot Brachot 20b), 2) perhaps women may volunteer a non-action bracha that they are exempt from (like the Yeshuot Yacov and not Pri Megadim) and 3) perhaps on a bracha that is not of the form Vetzivanu women may voluntarily make the bracha (like Rosh (Kedushin 31a) and not Rabbenu Tam). Nonetheless, Halacha Brurah concludes that the second and third Safek are really one Safek (as in Sh”t Yabia Omer 2:6:9) and on a double Safek we still say Safek Brachot LeHakel.
- However, the Magen Avraham 70:1 writes that women are obligated to say the bracha of Emet VeYatziv since the obligation of remembering leaving Egypt is a mitzvah that is not time-bound. The Solet Belulah 70:1, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 70:1, Siddur Bet Ovad (Kriyat Shema Arvit 1-2), and Mishna Brurah 70:2 agree with the Magen Avraham. However, the Sh”t Shagat Aryeh 12 writes that women are exempt from the mitzvah of remembering leaving Egypt since it is a time bound mitzvah since the mitzvah of the day is different from the nighttime mitzvah. The Nezirut Shimshon 67, Limudei Hashem 142, and Aruch HaShulchan 70 agree with the Shagat Aryeh. Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 6:12 writes that according to Ashkenazim since there are those who say that it is an obligation and even if it is not an obligation it can be said voluntarily (as Rama 589:6 writes), there is nothing to loose by saying the bracha. However, Sephardim hold that if a person is exempt from a bracha one may not make the bracha voluntarily (as Shulchan Aruch 589:6 writes). Therefore, Sh”t Yabia Omer O”C 2:20, Halacha Brurah 70:2 and Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 6:12 hold that Sephardic women are not obligated in saying the bracha (at least there is a doubt) and so it should not be said voluntarily.
- In total there are seven Brachot of thanks and praise, which the Yerushalmi (Brachot 1:5) says is based on the pasuk “Shevah BaYom Hilalticha Al Mishpatei Tzidkatach” (Tehilim 119:164) “Seven times a day I praise you with the laws of your righteousness” meaning one says seven Brachot of praise along with words of Torah, i.e. Shema. This connection is brought down by Rashi (Brachot 11a), Rishonim on Brachot 11a, and Tur 58.
- Mishna in Brachot 11a says that one makes two before Shema and one afterwards by Shacharit and two before and two afterwards by Arvit. This is also the opinion of Rambam (Kriyat Shema 1:5), and Tur 58.
- Kol Bo (Siman 5e and 122) say that Brachot Pesukei DeZimrah are Derabanan but Brachot Kriyat Shema are Deoritta. Rabbenu Yosef ben Pelet and Rabbenu Yishaya agree. However, it seems (lacking explicit sources) that we hold Le’halacha that the Brachot are Derabbanan as many times the Achronim use the idea of Safek Brachot LeHakel by these Brachot as well.
- Brachot 11b, Tur and S”A 59:1 who gives gives the reason that we say Hashem also created darkness so that the heretics don’t say that G-d who created light didn’t create darkness (based on Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 5b).
- Shaar Kavanot (Yotzer UKriyat Shema pg 18d, 19a, Nusach Tefilah pg 51b) writes both practices. It’s brought down in the Achronim including the Kaf Hachaim Palagi 14:2, Chesed LeAlafim 59:1, Minchat Aharon 13:1, Ben Ish Chai (Shemot 1, Beshalach 1), Kaf HaChaim Sofer 59:2 and Halacha Brurah 59:2. Od Yosef Chai (shemot 3) writes not to remove one’s hand from the Tefillin until one says UBoreh Choshech.
- Brachot 12a (according to Rashi, other Rishonim explain it differently) says that if one started with Yotzer Or and concluded with Mariv Aravim one doesn’t fulfill his obligation but if one started with Mariv Aravim and concluded with Yotzer Meorot one fulfills his obligation because the bracha follows the conclusion (whenever the conclusion has it’s own Baruch). Implied from all the Rishonim (see Bet Yosef 59:2) who discuss the Gemara is that if one started with Mariv Aravim and concluded with it one doesn’t fulfill his obligation. This is also the opinion of Halacha Brurah 59:7.
- Pri Chadash 671:2 writes that the Rif holds if one said Yotzer Or in the beginning then even if he concludes with Mariv Aravim he fulfills his obligation. However, this opinion is in conflict of all the Rishonim and Achronim who agree that the conclusion is needs to be correct but disagree as to whether also the beginning needs to be correct (Bet Yosef 59:2). The Mamer Mordechai 59:3 and Halacha Brurah 59:8 argue with the Pri Chadash’s proof.
- See previous note. Bet Yosef gives two explanations in the Tur. The first explanation (which is the opinion of the Rosh Brachot 1:14), is that one needs both the beginning and conclusion of the Bracha to mention Yotzer Or to fulfill one’s obligation. S”A 59:2 (along with Rama’s comment) rules that if one didn’t say the beginning of the Bracha and the conclusion correctly one doesn’t fulfill his obligation and so he must repeat. This is also the opinion of the Prisha 59:3. Derisha 59:1, Levush 59:2, Bach 59, Hagahot Maralach 59:1, Taz 59:1, Magen Avraham 59:1, Chemed Moshe 59:1, Mamer Mordechai 59:4, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 59:1, and Kaf HaChaim 59:15. The second explanation is that as long as the conclusion is correct one fulfills his obligation. The Bet Yosef says that this is also the opinion of the Rashba (Brachot 12a) in name of Rashi. So holds the Gra 59:4, and Erech Lechem 59. Halacha Brurah says that this is also the opinion of the Rambam (according to Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 6a, Rabbenu Manoach, and Sefer HaBatim against the Kesef Mishna’s understanding of the Rambam), Rif (according to Hashlama, Sefer Meorot (Brachot 12a), and Rashbetz against the implication that the Rosh and Bet Yosef didn’t quote the Rif), the Rivavan Rid, Nemukei Yosef and Meiri in name of Yesh Omrim. Mishna Brurah (Biur Halacha D”H VeLo Amar) adds that this is the opinion of Ramban (who was explaining the Yerushalmi Brachot 1:4). Therefore, Halacha Brurah and Ish Matzliach on Mishna Brurah conclude because of a Safek Brachot LeHakel even against S”A (based on the opinion of the Chida in Sh”t Chaim Shoel 2:248) and so we don’t repeat the bracha.
- S”A 59:2 says it counts as a mentioning of the beginning is one remembers “Meyad”(immediately). Bach 59, Perisha 59:3, Pri Chadash 59:2 say that if one forgot to mention in the first phrase “Asher Bidvaro Mariv Aravim” and remembers immediately meaning within Toche Kadei Dibbur it’s considered as mentioning it in the beginning. If only remembers later on it doesn’t count as a mentioning in the beginning. So explains the Pri Megadim (M”Z 59:1) the words of S”A. However, Mamer Mordechai 59:4, Mishna Brurah (Biur Halacha s.v. Venizkar Meyad), Shalmei Tzibbur 90a, Kaf HaChaim 59:16, and Halacha Brurah 59:7 explain that S”A used the word “Meyad” as the usual case as it seems from Bet Yosef and so one only needs to remember anytime before the bracha at the conclusion.
- S”A 60:2 rules that one can say Shema without Brachot and then later say the Brachot. Therefore, Magen Avraham 59:1 says if one needs to repeat the bracha and one already said the bracha of Ahavat Olam one shouldn’t interrupt there with Yotzer Or but rather should say it after Shmoneh Esrei. This is also the opinion of Beir Heteiv 59:2, Machsit HaShekel 59:1, Kesher Gudal 1:4, Shalmei Tzibbur 90a, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 59:1, Siddur Bet Ovad (Dinei Kriyat Shema 4), and Halacha Brurah 59:8. However the Eliyah Raba 59:2 argues that it’s not an interruption and needs to be said before Shema. This is also the opinion of Derech HaChaim in name of the Rashba, Kaf HaChaim 59:17, and Mishna Brurah 59:2. However Halacha Brurah and Sh”t Tehila LeDavid 59:5 say that the Eliyah Raba says it’s not an interruption only according to Rashba (Brachot 11b) who says that Ahavat Olam isn’t a Brachot HaMitzah. However, Ramban (Likutei HaRamban beginning of Brachot D”H Kavar Haya) disagrees and holds it’s a Birkat HaMitzvah. Thus, one should not interrupt like the Magen Avraham. [The first explanation of the Bet Yosef 59 says that the Rosh (Sh”t HaRosh 4:19) holds Ahavat Olam isn’t a Birkat HaMitzvah and Rambam (Brachot 1:17) holds it is a Birkat HaMitzvah.]
- Sh”t Pri HaAretz 1:3 rules that one should return to the first bracha. Sh”t Mateh Efraim Arditi 2 pg 3b, Sh”t Kol Eliyahu 2:4, Petach Dvir 60:3 concur. Halacha Brurah 59:17 supports this from the Meiri (Brachot 16a), Nemukei Yosef (16a), and Piskei Riaz (Brachot 2:3(3)) who write the law if one is unsure while in middle of Kriyat Shema he should return the earlier mention of the similar words and conclude “so too by Brachot of Shema before and after.” Halacha Brurah concludes that in our case there isn’t an issue of Safek Brachot LeHakel since according to some Rishonim if one doesn’t say the first bracha at all and only said the second one would be making a bracha levatala because both are necessary. In our case there is a safek whether to go back and perhaps say an extra bracha that’s unnecessary or to continue and perhaps be actively making the second bracha levatala. Nonetheless, many Achronim rule that a person should continue from the second bracha because of Safek Brachot LeHakel including Yad Aharon (Hagahot Tur 60), Bear Heteiv 60:1, Sh”t Kiryat Chana 1, Shalmei Tzibbur 91c, Kesher Gudal 10:8, Hagahot Rabbi Akiva Eiger 64:3, Sh”t Nishmat Chaim 6, Chesed LeAlafim 60:5, and Ben Ish Chai Shemot 4.
- By Birchot Shema, Rosh brachot 2:5 quotes Maharam MeRutenberg who says even though the gemara (Brachot 13b) allows an interruption of greeting one who is due respect still one can’t interrupt one praise of Hashem with another. The Rosh argues that one can answer kaddish or kedusha and brings a proof from Brachot 21a that only in Shmoneh Esrei one can’t answer dvarim shebekedusha. This is also the opinion of Tur and S”A 66:3 that one in kiryat Shema one can interrupt for Kaddish, kedusha and baruchu.. Since regularly Shulchan Aruch 125:1 holds one doesn’t say the entire passage of Kedusha and the Arizal (Shaar Kavanot 3 of Chazarat Amida pg 39a) holds one does say the entire passage, in a place where one can’t interrupt then one shouldn’t say the entire passage, so holds Kaf Hachaim of Rabbi Chaim Sofer 66:18. Concerning Yimloch, the Divrei Chamudot Brachot 2:23 says Yimloch isn’t one of the relevant pasukim said by Yishya and Yichezkel from the angels. Magen Avraham 66:6 supports this with a Tosefta and we hold not like the Hagat Yesh Nochlin (azharat tefilah 12 D”H vechen le’inyan). So holds Eliyah Raba 66:5, Yad Aharon 66 Hagahot Hatur, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 66:5,Shalmei Tzibbur 96, Chaye Adam 20:4, Sh”t Chatom Sofer Kovetz teshuvot 4, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 16:3, Mishna Brurah 66:17, Sh”t Yabia Omer O”C 2:4, Sh”t Yechave Daat 6:3, Halichot Olam 1 Shemot 5 D”H VeDah. However the Gra 66:10 argues based on many rishonim (such as Ravya Brachot 66, Orchot Chaim Tefilah 78) that Yimloch is part of Kedusha. Therefore one should refrain from saying Yimloch during Brachot Kiyat Shema.
- Magen Avraham 124:9 says any time one isn’t allow to talk one can’t answer Baruch Hu UBaruch Shemo, therefore seemingly in Pesukei DeZimrah and Brachot Kriyat Shema one can’t answer it (according to Rif and Rosh (Brachot, Ein Omdin) who say not to interrupt with speech from Brauch Shamar until after Shmoneh Esrei). Bear Heteiv 66:9, Chida in Tov Ayin 18:35, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 124:8, Sh”t Zechur LeYitzchak Harari 7, implied by Mishna Brurah 51:8, and Halacha Brurah 51:16 forbid answering Baruch Hu UBaruch Shemo. However, Kaf HaChaim Palagi 18:13, however holds that one can answer it even in Brachot Kriyat Shema.
- Sh”t Yabia Omer 5:7(2) says not to answer because of the Rishonim who hold that it’s not a Dvar Shebekedusha (Ravya 1:2,66, Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 13a in name of some Geonim, Hagahot Maymonit Tefilah 7:90 in name of Rashi, Sh”t Maharam 143, Mordechai Brachot 69, Rosh (Brachot 3:18, Megilah 3:7), Tur 59, Orchot Chaim (Din Kedusha Meyushav 1), Ritva Megilah 23b). Sh”t Otzrot Yosef 4:4 rules that even in Pesukei DeZimrah one shouldn’t answer it for the same reason.
- Sh”t Otzrot Yosef 4:4
- S”A 66:3 says that one can interrupt Kriyat Shema with Dvarim Shebekedusha like the Tosfot (Brachot 13b D”H Shoel; Megilah 18b s.v. Nekot), Ravyah 1:47, Mordechai (Brachot 40), Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 7b, Shibolei HaLeket (Brachot, end of 15), Bach 66 in name of Smak 104, and Rosh 2:5. [However, Rosh (Brachot 2:5) and Rabbenu Yerucham (2:3 pg 24a) quote Maharam MeRotenburg who forbids Dvarim Shebekedusha.] Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 7b say that one shouldn’t say Modim Derabban but rather only bow with the congregation. Bet Yosef 66:3 quotes Trumat HaDeshen 2 who says that one can answer Modim Derabbanan. Bet Yosef concludes that saying the word “Modim” wouldn’t be forbidden even according to Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah. The Achronim explain that the S”A 66:3 who says one should only say the word “Modim” and not the entire paragraph meant one should answer the first three words. So comments Levush 66, Lechem Chamudot, Taz 66:3, Olat Tamid 66:8, Magen Avraham 66:6, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 16:3, Chaye Adam 20:4, Ben Ish Chai (Shemot 6), Kaf Hachaim 66:22, Mishna Brurah 66:20, and Halacha Brurah 66:16.
- S”A 59:4 and Rama 61:3. Bet Yosef 59:4 writes that the Rosh (Teshuvat HaRosh 4:19)would finish Yotzer Or early in order to answer amen to the bracha of the Shaliach Tzibbor. Bet Yosef says that implied from the teshuva is the even after Ahavat Olam he would answer Amen. However Rabbenu Yonah in name of Rambam (Brachot 1:17), Ramban, and Razah says that one can’t interrupt between the bracha and Shema. Bet Yosef concludes that the Minhag is not to answer amen (Maharik (Shoresh 42) agrees), but to remove oneself from dispute one should read the bracha together with the Shaliach Tzibbur. Rama 59:4 (and in Darkei Moshe 59:6) writes that the Minhag Ashkenaz is like the Rosh to finish early and answer Amen. Halacha Brurah (see Otzrot Yosef 4:8) adds that even Ashkenazim should preferably finish Ahavat Olam with the Shaliach Tzibbur to remove oneself from the dispute especially since the Tur (in name of Ramo (with a hey)) implies it’s not an obligation to finish early but only if one did then one can answer amen. [Interesting point: Bet Yosef makes a few implications from the Teshuvat HaRosh: 1) if one did finish the bracha together with the Shaliach Tzibbor it’s forbidden to answer amen because of Brachot 45b which says one shouldn’t answer amen after one’s own bracha. 2) One can’t listen to the entire bracha from the Shaliach tzibbor and then answer amen because one might remove his concentration and loose out on the bracha. Yet if one reads the bracha even if one looses concentration he still is considered as if he said the whole bracha. 3) (Bet Yosef’s first answer) The Rosh held that the practice of Rabbenu Yonah to read the whole bracha to oneself and only the end listen to the Shaliach Tzibbor also had the issue of loosing concentration when listening.]
- S”A 60:2 rules that one can say Shema without Brachot and then later say the Brachot. It’s a dispute between the Bahag (End of first perek of Brachot), Rosh (Brachot 2:1), Rashba (Brachot 12a), Meiri (Brachot 11b) and Mahari Avuhav (quoted by Bet Yosef) who say that one can say Shema without Brachot and Rav Hai Goan (quoted by the Rosh), Tosfot(Brachot 13a s.v. Haya Koreh), and Sefer Eshkol 1:6 pg 12 who say one can’t say Shema without Brachot. S”A rules that one doesn’t need to say the Brachot together with Shema (since he already said Shema) based on Rashba (Brachot 12a s.v. UShma Minah), and Orchot Chaim (Kriyat Shema 14). But S”A adds that it’s preferable to say it together with Shema.
- Shomea KeOneh by all Brachot is brought down in Tur and S”A 25:10 based on Sukkah 38b, Yerushlami Megilah 2, and Rambam (Brachot 1:11). The Bet Yosef 59 says that it also applies to Brachot Kriyat Shema. He quotes Sh”t HaRosh 4:19 who says if it weren’t for the concern that a person can’t concentrate on the entire long Bracha, it’d be preferable to hear the bracha rather than make it yourself because Ahavat Olam is a request for Torah learning. Yet, by other Brachot, Tosfot (Sukkah 38b, Brachot 21b) writes that it is preferable to say the bracha by oneself rather than hear it from someone else (because of Mitzvah Bo Yoter MeBeShlucho). S”A 59:4 rules like the Rosh that one should say the Brachot quietly by oneself. But Bedieved one can fulfill one’s obligation as the Rama 59:4 writes.
- Concerning listening to Shofar blowing, see Rosh Hashana 28b, 33b, Rambam Shofar 2:4, Tur and S”A 589:8.
- Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 13b writes that even though one can fulfill Kedushat Yotzer individually one can only fulfill Brachot Kriyat Shema with a Minyan because one can’t be Poress Al Shema (according to Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah means fulfilling someone else’s obligation of Kriyat Shema) without a minyan. Ritva (Megilah 23b), Rambam (Tefilah 8:5 according to the explanation of the Kesef Mishna), and Rama 59:4 agree. Ran 13b, Rashba (Brachot 21b) and Gra 59:10 write that according to those who hold a minyan is needed for Kedushat Yotzer one clearly needs a minyan for Brachot Kriyat Shema. Nonetheless, the Bet Yosef quotes the Mahari Avuhav who says that others (Rashi and other Rishonim on Megilah 23b) argue on the Rabbenu Yonah’s explanation of Poress Al Shema. Rashi says Poress Al Shema is a way that a group where everyone already prayed can make a Brachot Kriyat Shema if there’s a minyan. Therefore according to Rashi one shouldn’t need a minyan to fulfill the obligation of others. S”A doesn’t bring the qualification of Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah in S”A and perhaps doesn’t agree to it and prefers the explanation of the Mahari Avuhav. Nonetheless, Halacha Brurah 59:14 writes that since no other Achronim write that the S”A here doesn’t agree with the Rama one should be strict like the Rama. The Achronim (Magen Avraham 59:5, Avudraham (Brachot Kriyat Shema), Sh”t Maharm El Ashkar 10, Machsit HaShekel 59:5, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 59:4, Mishna Brurah 59:15, Kaf HaChaim 59:27, and Halacha Brurah 59:14) rule that one needs a minyan (like Rama) to fulfill the obligation of someone who isn’t an fluent in the Brachot.
- Halacha Brurah 59:14 writes just like Brachot HaMitzvah, Shevach, and Hodah, Brachot Kriyat Shema Bedieved can be fulfilled with the reading someone who already fulfill his obligation. However Brachot HaNehenin one doesn’t fulfill his obligation unless the one making the bracha is obligated for himself. If one hasn’t fulfill his obligation then Shomea KeOneh works without limitation, however if the one reading has fulfilled his obligation there’s a dispute whether he can fulfill the obligation of someone who know how to make the Brachot. Bahag (Hilchot Kidush VeHavdalah) writes that Shomea KeOneh is limited to where the person listening doesn’t know how to make it himself. Sh”t Geonim Shaarei Teshuva 116, Sh”t Rambam Pear Hadar 75, Kol Bo 31, Itur (Matzah UMaror pg 136b), and Orchot Chaim (Kiddush HaYom 14, 16) concur. However, Or Zaruh 2:262, Sh”t Maharam MeRotenburg (Prague 111), Hagahot Asheri (Rosh Hashana 3e), Mordechai (Rosh Hashana 721), and Ran (Rosh Hashana 34a) hold that it works whether the one listening knows how to make the bracha or not. Bet Yosef 594 quotes the Mordechai as halacha but S”A 273 rules like the Bahag, concerning this see Sh”t Or Li 41. Yet, Halacha Brurah 59:14 and Beiur Halacha (273 s.v. Vehu; see Mishna Brurah 585:5) write that one Bedieved someone who knows how to make Brachot can fulfill his obligation.
- S”A 59:5 based on the Yerushalmi (Brachot 5:3). Bet Yosef asks why Rambam left this halacha out and suggests that it goes against the Bavli as the Sh”t Rashba 1:35 suggests. Bet Yosef concludes that one may rely on the Yerushalmi and Darkei Moshe argues that since Poskim brought down the Yerushalmi it’s a Bracha Levatala not to follow the Yerushalmi and have the second Shaliach start from the beginning of the bracha. Machasit HaShekel 59:6 (against the Magen Avraham) writes that even S”A in his wording agrees with Darkei Moshe and retracted from his opinion in Bet Yosef that it’s only if one wants one can rely on the Yerushalmi.
- Chaye Adam 29:6, Mishna Brurah 59:29, Halacha Brurah 59:16, Yalkut Yosef 1 pg 113 hold that nowadays when the Shaliach doesn’t fulfill the obligation of others the second should just continue from where the first left off. Yet Sh”t Rav ELiyahu Gutmacher O”C 10 pg 18 argues that the Tur implies it applies even nowadays. Yalkut Yosef argues and concludes because of Safek Brachot the second Shaliach shouldn’t return to the beginning.
- Rambam (Brachot 1:17) says not to interrupt between Ahavat Olam and Shema to answer amen just like one doesn’t interrupt between making a bracha and doing the action upon which you made the bracha. This implies that Ahavat Olam is a Birchat HaMitzvah (as says the Bet Yosef 59 in his first answer). Ramban (Likutim beginning of Brachot) and Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 33b s.v. ULeInyan in name of Rambam, Ramban, and Ramo (spelled with a hey). However, Sh”t Rashba 1:47 in name of the Geonim says that they are their own Brachot but not Brachot hamitzvah of Shema because otherwise we should make the bracha with the words “Asher Kidishanu…Likro Et Shema”. Meiri (Brachot 11a) writes that if one only knows the Brachot and not Shema or has a Siddur with only the Brachot one can say the Brachot because they are made for their own topics, the first for the day and light and the second for Torah. Also the Rosh holds it’s not a Brichat HaMitzvah according to the first answer of Bet Yosef 59. Halacha Brurah (Birur Halacha 60:1) argues that some Rishonim (Tosfot (Brachot 11b) and Sefer Meorot(Brachot 12a)) also hold that it’s similar to Brachot HaMitzvah in that Brachot are integral to the mitzvah but the mitzvah can be fulfilled without the Brachot and not totally Brachot hamitzvah in that the Brachot can be said after Shema.
- Zohar(Vayakel og 202b, Pekudei 260b), Rif (Brachot 12a), Rambam (Kriyat Shema 1:6), Shiltei Giborim (Brachot 11b) in name of Bahag, Arizal (Shaar Kavanot 19a), and S”A 60:1 record the name of the Bracha as Ahavat Olam. However, Roke’ach (Siman 320), Shiltei Giborim (Brachot 11b) in name of many Geonim, Tosfot (Brachot 11b s.v. VeRabanan), Ravyah(Brachot 34), Or Zaruh 1:25, Smag Assin 19, Rosh 1:12, and Rama 60:1.
- Brachot 46a writes that Brachot that follow a previous one don’t begin with Baruch. Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah 1a say that Ahavat Olam is a bracha connected with the previous bracha and even if it’s said out of order one doesn’t being with Baruch since it’s established as a connected bracha. Orchot Chaim (Barchu 2), Kol Bo 8, Tur and S”A 60:1 agree. However, Sh”t Rashba 317-8 argues that it’s not a bracha connected to the earlier one since it can be said out of order but it doesn’t begin with Baruch since it’s a short bracha and just ends with Baruch. Interestingly, Meiri (Brachot 11b) says since it’s a connected bracha only when it’s said together with the previous bracha do you not being with Baruch but if it’s said alone one must begin with Baruch. Magen Avraham 60:2 rules like Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah that even if the bracha is said alone it’s said without Baruch. Sh”t Igrot Moshe O”C 3:81 says that since one is allowed to interrupt between the Brachot for amen and even to greet someone who deserves respect, clearly Ahavat Olam is considered a connected bracha even when said alone. Sh”t Yabia Omer E”H 4:7 and Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 6:2 discuss the dispute in the Achronim whether there’s an issue of interruption in the sheva Brachot at a wedding since the Minhag is for a different person to say each bracha and still some of the Brachot are considered connected Brachot for which we don’t being with Baruch.
- Not only do Rashi (Brachot 45b) and the Rosh (ibid 7:11) write that one should answer Amen to Ga’al Yisrael and that it’s not a Hefsek, but the Tur (OC 66:7) even writes that it’s a Mitzvah! Nonetheless, the Beit Yosef (66:7 and 51:3) rules the one should refrain from doing so, as the Zohar says not to by Ga’al Yisrael. Shulchan Aruch OC 66:7 follows the Zohar, while the Rama follows the Tur. See further in Answering_Amen_to_Your_Own_Bracha.
- See Sh”t Rivivot Ephraim 1:71 who says the reason that some do this is because there is debate as to whether or not one should recite amen after the bracha of gaal yisrael since we do not want to interrupt between the bracha and the beginning of the shemoneh esrei (semichut geula litefilla). He adds that an ashkenazi who hears the conclusion of the bracha should in fact answer amen.
- Rav Herschel Schachter quoting Rabbi Soloveitchik (Nefesh Harav pg. 130)
- Mishna Brurah 66:35
- Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 4b s.v. tanya), Pri Megadim E"A 66:13, Mishna Brurah 66:29
- Rosh (Brachot 2:1) writes one fulfills Shema without the Brachot and that Rabbenu Chananel (Brachot 13a; not like our version of Rabbenu Chananel) concurs. Bahag (end of first perek of Brachot), Rashba (Brachot 12a s.v. UShma Minah), Sh”t HaRashba 1:47, 69, 319 in name of the Rambam, Piekei Rid (Brachot 13a), and Meiri (Brachot 11b) hold that the Brachot aren’t Me’akev. However, he quotes Rav Hai Goan (based on Brachot 12a) who holds that they are Me’akev but the order isn’t Me’akev. However, the Yerushlami which says the Brachot aren’t Me’akev is referring to an individual, but in a Tzibbur the Brachot are Me’akev. Tosfot (Brachot 13a s.v. Haya Koreh) and Sefer Eshkol 1:6 pg 12 hold like Rav Hai Goan. S”A 60:3 rules that the Brachot aren’t Me’akev not like Rav Hai Goan. The Gra (Shenot Eliyahu) asks why is it different from any other mitzvah which the Brachot aren’t Me’akev. Halacha Brurah (Birur Halacha 60:3) and Sh”t Mishkenot Yacov O”C 81 explain that since most of Kriyat Shema is derabanan (only the first pasuk is deoraitta according to many Rishonim) that part of the mitzvah was instituted in a larger structure with Brachot and not saying Brachot ruins one’s fulfillment of that part of the mitzvah. Bet Yosef asks on the Tur who doesn’t differentiate between an individual and a Tzibbur. [See Perisha and Bach who argue on the Bet Yosef.]
- Halacha Brurah 60:7 based on the Meiri who writes that someone who only knows the Brachot of Shema or only has a Siddur with the Brachot one should say the Brachot without Shema since the Brachot aren’t Brachot HaMitzvah. Halacha Brurah argues that even Ramban who holds that Ahavat Olam is a Birchat HaMitzvah may agree here because it’s not a complete Birchat HaMitzvah in that we don’t say “Asher Kidishanu …Likroh Shema” in the bracha.
- S”A 60:2 rules that one can say Shema without Brachot and then later say the Brachot based on Rashba (Brachot 12a s.v. UShema Minah), and Orchot Chaim (Kriyat Shema 14). S”A adds that in his opinion when one says the Brachot one should also say Shema. Divrei Chamudot (Brachot 2:3) explains that it’s in order to maintain the order of prayer. Gra 60:6 explains to precede Shmoneh Esrei with words of Torah. Sefer Meorot (Brachot 12a) discusses whether one can say Ahavat Olam after saying Shema and concludes that one can (like S”A). See further Sh”t Maharil Diskin 2:22. Yotzer Or clearly can be said after Shmoneh Esrei as in Brachot 12a that says in the Beit HaMikdash they would say Shmoneh Esrei and only when the time for Yotzer Or came would they say that bracha (quoted by Magen Avraham 59:1).
- Brachot 12a concludes that the order of the Brachot isn’t Me’akev. Rambam (Kriyat Shema 1:8), Tur and S”A 60:3 bring this down as halacha. The language that it’s not Me’akev implies that Lechatchila one shouldn’t change the order. However, Sefer Meorot (Brachot 12a), Rashba (Brachot 11a s.v. Achat), and Ohel Moed (Kriyat Shema 4 pg 36a) hold that one can change the order even Lechatchila. Nonetheless, Halacha Brurah 60:9 argues that this is only according to the opinion that the Ahavat Olam are Brachot HaShevach and not Brachot HaMitzvah, but according to the Rishonim who hold it’s Brachot HaMitzvah would say that Ahavat Olam should be said right before Shema. Additionally, Lechatchila one should say it in order to satisfy the opinion of the Meiri (Brachot 11b) who holds that Ahavat Olam should start with Baruch if it’s said alone. Additionally, Kaf HaChaim 60:9 says that according to the Zohar (Pekudei 260b) and Arizal (Shaar Kavanot, Yotzer 18d) one is changing the order of the upper worlds by saying it out of order.
- Mishna Brurah 60:6 rules that if someone only says one bracha one fulfills his obligation for that bracha. In Beiur Halacha s.v. Im Hikdim he explains that according to S”A that one can say Shema without Brachot certainly one can say only one bracha and even according to Rav Hai Goan that one can’t say Shema without Brachot that’s only by a Tzibbur and not an individual. However, Halacha Brurah 60:10 argues strongly that the topics of saying without Brachot and saying one Bracha without another Bracha are unrelated as is evident in the fact that the Sefer Hashlama and Meorot (Brachot 12a) are uncertain whether one fulfills his obligation if he only says one bracha, even though they clearly rule like S”A unlike Rav Hai that one can say Shema with Brachot. Additionally, there is a dispute in the Rishonim and Achronim about this topic. Rabbenu Avraham Aleshvili (Brachot 12a), Ritva (Brachot 12a), Meiri (Brachot 11b), Rashbetz (Brachot 13a), and Pri Chadash 60:1 hold that if one only made one bracha, one fulfills the obligation for that bracha. On the other hand, Rabbenu Chananel (Brachot 12a), Ravyah 1:36, Or Zaruh 1:25 in name of the Rach and Sefer Eshkol (pg 104), and Rambam (according to Pri Megadim M”Z 60:1 and Sh”t Shagat Aryeh 26 D”S VeKivan) hold that one doesn’t fulfill any obligation if one only makes one bracha. [These Rishonim don’t differentiate between an individual and a Tzibbur according to the opinion of Rav Hai seemingly because this topic is unrelated to the opinion of Rav Hai. However Ohel Moed 1:4 pg 36a does differentiate like the connection of the Mishna Brurah to the opinion of Rav Hai.] Pri Chadash 60:2 implies from S”A that only the order isn’t Me’akev but actually saying all the Brachot is Me’akev (and then argues on S”A). Chida (Machzik Bracha 60:1, Kiseh Eliyah 60:1 support S”A against Pri Chadash that saying all the Brachot is Me’akev. Therefore, concludes the Halacha Brurah because of the dispute on the issue and we hold Safek Brachot LeHakel one shouldn’t only say one bracha.