Shomea KeOneh

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General Requirements

  1. Even though there is always a mitzvah to answer the bracha of a fellow Jew, there is an added reason why a person should answer Amen when one is listening to a bracha, which is in order to fulfill one's obligation. [1]
  2. In order to fulfill one’s obligation the listener must hear the whole bracha starting from the word Baruch. [2] If one did miss part of the bracha some say that one can fill in that part by saying those specific words. [3]
  3. If one was talking while listening to a bracha one has not fulfilled one’s obligation. [4]
  4. According to the Moroccan custom, even one who is fulfilling a mitzvah via Shomea KeOneh should answer Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo to the bracha being said. [5]
  5. The one making the bracha must have intent to fulfill the obligation of the one listening and the one listening to the bracha must have intent to fulfill his obligation through listening. [6]

Brachot on Food

  1. For all brachot for food, either Bracha Rishona or Bracha Achrona, one may not fulfill one’s obligation by listening to someone say the bracha unless that person is also going to eat or has eaten the proper Shuir. [7] The notable exceptions to this are Hagefen for Kiddush and Hamotzei for matzah on the first night of Pesach; for those, it is permissible to fulfill someone else's obligation even if one is not going to eat.[8]

Bracha Rishona

  1. The original establishment of the rabbis was to make Bracha Rishona together (meaning, one person saying it out loud and everyone else fulfilling the obligation by listening). [9]
  2. Some poskim hold that we would not employ Shomea KeOneh for a Bracha Rishona except for HaMotzei on bread and HaGafen on wine. [10] Additionally, since people are not experts in having intent to fulfill the obligation of others and those listening having intent to fulfill their own obligation, the minhag is that each person make the Bracha Rishona for themselves. [11]
  3. It is preferable to say a bracha together and this is based on the principle of BeRov Am Hadarat Melech, meaning, that it is more respectable to serve Hashem in multitudes. [12]
  4. In order that one should fulfill someone else's obligation of a Bracha Rishona with Shomea KeOneh everyone must sit together at the same table. [13] However, after the fact even those who did not eat at the same table can fulfill the obligation by listening to someone else who is making the bracha if the one making the bracha has intent to fulfill the obligation of others and the one listening has intent to fulfill his own obligation by listening. [14]
  5. If someone heard a Bracha Rishona and had intent to fulfill one's obligation through the agency of Shomea Keonah, but then changes one's mind and does not want to eat, if he does not eat, he is considered to have made a Bracha Levatala, therefore one should eat anyway. [15]

Bracha Achrona

  1. The original establishment of the rabbis was for each person to make Bracha Achrona to themself, except Birkat HaMazon which is supposed to be said together (meaning, one person saying it out loud and everyone else fulfilling the obligation by listening). [16] Part of the original enactment of why it was preferable that a person fulfill the obligation through listening (to someone else), was for the case in which the person does not know the text of the Bracha Achrona. [17]
  2. Nowadays, since Bracha Achrona is often disregarded and forgotten, it is considered preferable that the Bracha Achrona be made out loud and everyone listenand fulfilltheir obligation that way. It is proper that everyone say the bracha along with the one saying it out loud word by word. [18]
  3. Nowadays, because it is difficult to have proper intent for a long time the minhag is for each person to say Birkat HaMazon silently to oneself while the Mezamen reads it out loud. [19]
  4. In order that one should fulfill the obligation of the other by saying Birkat HaMazon together, everyone must sit together at the same table. [20] However, after the fact even those who did not eat at the same table can fulfill the obligation together (meaning, one person saying it out loud and everyone else fulfilling the obligation by listening). [21]

Brachot on Mitzvot

  1. The Yerushalmi (Brachot 3:3) establishes that for everything one can fulfill the obligation of someone else with the exception of Shemona Esrei, Shema, and Birkat Hamazon.
  2. Regarding Brachot HaMitzvah, even if one has already fulfilled one’s obligation one can still fulfill the obligation of others because of the principle of Aravim Zeh BaZeh, the responsibility for our fellow Jew. [22]
  3. For a Bracha of Shevach such as Birchot Hashachar, Baruch She'amar, and Yishtabach there is a dispute whether one fulfill someone else's obligation even though one already fulfilled one's obligation. [23]
  4. According to Sephardim one may not fulfill the obligation of someone else in asher yatzer unless one is personally obligated.[24]
  5. If one already fulfilled Kiddush or didn't yet fulfill it but isn't going to fulfill it with this Kiddush he can still recite it for another person even if one doesn't eat it there his meal. However, he needs to give the cup to someone else to drink a Reviyit or a majority of it. Yet, if the person who is listening knows how to make Kiddush he should make it himself.[25]

Tefillah

  1. If one is saying Shmoneh Esrei and one hears the Shaliach Tzibbur reach Kedusha one should pause and listen but one should not answer with the congregation. By listening to the Shaliach Tzibbur one fulfills one's obligation through Shomea KeOneh.[26] One does not need to raise one's feet when listening to Kedusha. [27]

Sources

  1. Mishna Brurah 213:17, Mishna Brurah 8:15, See Vezot HaBracha pg 362 regarding whether answering Amen makes it like the person listening said the entire Bracha.
  2. Mishna Brurah 213:19, Shaar HaTziyun there mentions that if one did not hear some words, as long as they are not the crucial ones, one is still considered to have fulfilled the obligation by listening. (Shulchan Aruch 214:1 and Mishna Brurah 314:4 specify Baruch, either Hashem or Elokenu, Melech, and HaOlam and the conclusion as the crucial words).
  3. Vezot HaBracha (pg 362) quoting Halichot Shlomo (Klali Brachot 11).
  4. Mishna Brurah 167:45. Vezot HaBracha pg 361 writes that it is possible that the Chazon Ish 141:7 who’s explanation of Shomea KeOneh is that the listener joins the bracha by actively listening would disagree.
  5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, Volume 1, Page 111
  6. Mishna Brurah 213:5, 18
  7. Mishna Brurah 213:14
  8. Shulchan Aruch 167:20. Magen Avraham 167:41 explains that in general one cannot fulfill someone else's obligation for a food bracha, unless one is going to eat as well, because unlike for matzah and Kiddush, there is no halachic obligation to eat.
  9. Shulchan Aruch 213:1
  10. Rama 213:1
  11. Mishna Brurah 213:12
  12. Mishna Brurah 213:3
  13. Shulchan Aruch 213:1
  14. Mishna Brurah 213:5
  15. Sh”t Yabia Omer O”C 8:24
  16. Shulchan Aruch 213:1
  17. Mishna Brurah 213:9
  18. Mishna Brurah 213:9
  19. Shulchan Aruch 183:7 writes that it is proper that each person say Birkat HaMazon silently to oneself along with the bracha that the Mezamen is saying out loud. Mishna Brurah 187:27 adds that the original enactment was for everyone to listen to the Mezamen make Birkat HaMazon out loud, however, nowadays that it is difficult to have proper intent for that period of time, everyone should read along silently.
  20. Shulchan Aruch 213:1
  21. Mishna Brurah 213:5
  22. Mishna Brurah 213:14
    • The Ritva (Rosh Hashana 29a s.v. tani) writes just like there is a concept of yatzah motzei for birchot hamitzvah there is also one for birchot hashevach. Hagahot Ashuri (Rosh Hashana 3:13) agrees and applies it to Birchat Hashachar and Baruch She'amar. The Meiri (Rosh Hashana 29a s.v. brachot), however, argues that one may not fulfill the obligation of someone else for birchot hashevach just like for tefillah. He concludes that for Yishtabach if one already fulfill his obligation he can't repeat it for the congregation.
    • Mishna Brurah 6:10 rules that for Birchot Hashachar one can fulfill someone else's obligation even though one already fulfilled it.
    Yabia Omer OC 9:3:2 argues based on the Meiri that one may fulfill someone else's obligation in birchot hashevach once one already fulfilled it.
    • Mishna Brurah 59:21 extends the concept of Yatzah Motzei to Birchot Kriyat Shema. Halacha Brurah 59:14 writes that one shouldn't fulfill the obligation of someone else if they know how to say it themselves but after the fact it is effective.
  23. Yalkut Yosef 6:11. See also Yabia Omer OC 9:3:2.
  24. Shulchan Aruch 273:4 writes that only if the person doesn't know how to recite kiddush can someone else make kiddush for them even though he isn't going to fulfill his obligation. The Mishna Brurah 273:20 disagrees and holds that it is only preferable to let the person hearing Kiddush and knows how to recite it to do it himself but after the fact certainly it is effective. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Kol Sinai Tevet 5724) agrees after the fact.
  25. Shulchan Aruch 104:7. This is based on Rashi Sukkah 38b s.v. Hu who says that Shomea KeOneh makes it possible to fulfill one's obligation by listen and not answering. However, Tosfot s.v. Shamah argues that perhaps listening is considered an interruption in one's Shmoneh Esrei.
  26. Yabia Omer 6:16