Birkat HaGomel

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In the times of the Beit Hamikdash, a person who survived a potentially life-threatening situation brought a Korban Todah, a Thanksgiving Offering, to express his gratitude to Hashem.[1] Nowadays, when the Beit Hamikdash no longer stands and offerings cannot be brought on the altar, we substitute a public proclamation of gratitude to Hashem for an offering. A survivor from a life endangering situation as defined by the Gemara recites Birkat Hagomel in gratitude.


  • The Gemara Brachot 54b states: "One who has completed a sea voyage; one who has traveled through the desert; one who has been sick and healed; and one who was imprisoned and freed."



  • According to the Magen Avraham, [2] Birkat Hagomel, like the Korban Todah, is non obligatory but rather optional. The Peri Megadim [3] argues that it is obligatory. Nevertheless, all poskim urge one to be careful to fulfill this mitzvah given the opportunity. [4]


  • Given that Birkat Hagomel is a public expression of gratitude, it cannot be said in private.




  1. Vayikra 7:12
  2. OC 219:1
  3. OC 219:1
  4. Chasam Sofer O.C. 51, Minchas Yitzchok 4:11-9