Bracha Hasemucha Lchaverta

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Bracha Hasamucha Lchaverta (trans. blessing adjoined to its fellow; Hebrew ברכה בסמוכה לחברתה) is a principle that dictates why chazal formulated the text of certain brachot to begin without the standard text of "baruch atta Hashem melech haolam". The general idea is that any bracha which is adjoined to the bracha immediately preceeding it doesn't require the standard introduction.

  1. Any bracha that is connected to another previous bracha in a series doesn't start with a baruch. For example, the brachot of Shemona Esrei, Birkat Hamazon[1], Sheva Brachot[2], and Brachot Haftorah[3] are all series of Brachot and they don't start with baruch besides the first one.[4]
  2. Some say that a bracha connected to a short bracha beforehand isn't considered bracha hasemucha lechaverta and therefore it must start with baruch and some hold that it is considered bracha hasemucha lechaverta. Since the first bracha of Birchat Hatorah, Asher Kideshanu (Lasok B) (Al) Divrei Torah is short, according to the first opinion the next paragraph, haarev na, isn't considered samucha lechevrta and instead is just one big continuation of the first bracha. Therefore, haarev na starts with a vav, v'haarev na. However, according to the second opinion the next paragraph is an independent bracha that doesn't need baruch since it is samucha lechaverta. The halacha is that one should add a vav.[5]
    1. Similarly, the yehey ratzon after hamaavir sheina is part of that long bracha and starts with a vav.[6]
  3. Brachot that were instituted to be said separately even if they are said together are not considered brachot hasemuchot lechavertot. For example, brachot hashachar were instituted for each act of getting up and are considered separate.[7] Another example is kiddush and havdalah.[8]
  4. Brachot before and after a mitzah are sometimes considered brachot hasemuchot lechavertot. For example, Yishtabach after Pesukei Dezimrah is connected to Baruch She'amar[9] or Yehalelucha after Hallel is connected to Ligmor (Likroh) Et Hahallel.[10] One exception to this rule is brachot hatorah which surround a mitzvah but are considered separate.[11]
  5. Other brachot don't start with baruch for other reasons. For example, Elokay Neshama, Atta Hu Ad Shelo Nivra Haolam, and Tefillat Haderech don't start with a baruch since it is purely a praise and not connected to a benefit.[12]
  6. A practical application of whether brachot are connected or not is whether it is permitted to speak in between brachot. If they are connected one may not speak and if they aren't one may speak. For example, one may not speak during Pesukei Dzimrah since the brachot surrounding it are considered connected.[13]
    1. Some rishonim hold that the brachot of Kriyat Shema after Shema are considered connected to the brachot beforehand.[14] Therefore, one would not be allowed to talk between brachot Kriyat Shema and Shema. Some hold that they aren't connected.
  7. Another practical application is according to Sephardim a person should answer amen to his own bracha specifically after a series of brachot that were connected. For example, after Shemona Esrei[15], the first three brachot of Birkat Hamazon[16], Yishtabach[17], and the brachot of Haftorah.[18]

Sources

  1. Gemara Brachot 46b. Rashi s.v. hatov explains that the last bracha isn't considered connected since it was later instituted. Tosfot Brachot 46b s.v. hatov agrees. Yerushalmi Brachot 1:5 adds that the zimun bracha is separate from birkat hamazon since it is possible to have birkat hamazon without zimun.
  2. Rashi Ketubot 8a s.v. same'ach explains that Sos Tasis and Same'ach Tisamach are considered connected to the bracha of Aser Yatzar Et Haadam. However, Ashar Bara was instituted separately since if there's no new faces it is the only bracha recited. Also, Yotzer Haadam isn't connected to Shehakol Bara Lkevodo since the first bracha was instituted for the honor of those who gathered for a mitzvah and Yotzer Haadam starts the brachot for the couple getting married.
  3. Tur 284:1 writes that the second and third brachot, רחם על ציון and שמחנו, are both connected to the brachot before them. Birkei Yosef 215:1, LDovid Emet 20:5, Rav Yisrael Elgazi in Emet Lyakov p. 227, and Yechava Daat 2:23 agree.
  4. Gemara Brachot 46a
  5. Tosfot Pesachim 104b s.v. chutz writes that Rashi holds that it is possible to have a bracha be connected to a previous bracha in a series even if it is short, but Rabbenu Tam argues. Rabbenu Tam is the one who explains that haarev na needs to start with a vav. Rabbenu Tam is also explained by Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha.
  6. Tosfot Brachot 46b s.v. vehatov
  7. Tosfot Brachot 46b s.v. vehatov
  8. The Yerushalmi Brachot 1:5 asks why the brachot of havdalah aren't considered a unit and each one doesn't need to start with baruch. It answers that it is possible to say each one separately and as such they aren't considered a series. The Yerushalmi also explains that Kiddush is also composed of two different since it is possible to have kiddush without hagefen if one started one's meal before Shabbat. Tosfot Pesachim 104b s.v. chutz quotes this.
  9. Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha, Ritva Megillah 21b s.v. leachareha, Tosfot Pesachim 104b s.v. chutz. Tosfot Pesachim addresses an exception in that we say Yehalelucha on Pesach night without a baruch even though we didn't start Hallel with a bracha. He says it is acceptable since the beginning of the bracha is recognizable anyway.
  10. Tosfot Pesachim 104b s.v. chutz
  11. Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha explains that brachot hatorah for kriyat hatorah were originally instituted for the beginning of the entire kriyat hatorah and at the end and since that would be a long break the two brachot couldn't be considered connected. Even when they later instituted to repeat these brachot for each aliyah they didn't change the text of the brachot. Ritva Megillah 21b s.v. le'achareha explains that it isn't considered connected since the learning Torah between the brachot isn't similar to the theme of the brachot which is a praise of Hashem and as such it serves as an interruption between the brachot.
  12. Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha writes that Elokay Neshama and Atta Hu don't start with baruch since they are purely a praise. Tosfot Pesachim 104b s.v. kol agrees and adds Tefillat Haderech. Rabbenu Yonah Brachot 1a s.v. elah explains Tefilat differently. He explains that since in essence Tefilat Haderech is a version of Shoma Tefilah of Shemona Esrei it doesn't need to start with baruch since in its original context it was connected with other brachot.
  13. Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha, Ritva Megillah 21b s.v. leachareha
  14. Rashbam Pesachim 104b s.v. vbirchot, Tosfot Brachot 46a s.v. hasemucha, Ritva Megillah 21b s.v. leachareha
  15. Ritva Hilchot Brachot 6:5
  16. Gemara Brachot 45b
  17. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 215:1
  18. Ritva Hilchot Brachot 6:5. Birkei Yosef 215:1 writes that since they are a series one can respond amen to one's own bracha afterwards according to Sephardim. Yachava Daat 2:23 agrees. Yachava Daat adds that even though the Kaf Hachaim 215:1 writes that he didn't see anyone do this the absence of a minhag isn't a proof and one should do so.