Special Tefilla to say before and after learning

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Obligation

  1. There is an obligation to say the prayer before learning so that Hashem will help him not to make a mistake while learning and after one learns to thank Hashem for one’s portion in Torah. [1] Nonetheless those who don’t say it regularly and there’s what to rely on but one should be careful to say it daily. [2]
  2. Even if one learned all day to oneself one should still say both these prayers, however, the one before learning should be said without the lines:וישמחו בי חברי and ולא יכשלו חברי בדבר הלכה ואשמח בהם[3]

Procedure of saying these Tefillot

  1. One Tefillah before learning and one after learning suffices for the whole day. [4]
  2. One may say these prays while sitting or standing. There’s no obligation to bow, face Yerushalayim, or fall on one’s face while saying these prayers. [5]
  3. It is permitted to say this tefillah before learning even on Shabbat since it is a spiritual request.[6]

The text of the Tefillah

  1. The text of the prayer before learning is: יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהי, שלא תארע דבר תקלה על ידי, ולא אכשל בדבר הלכה וישמחו בי חברי. ולא אומר על טמא טהור, ולא על טהור טמא. ולא יכשלו חברי בדבר הלכה ואשמח בהם. [7]
  2. The text of the prayer after learning is: מודה אני לפניך ה' אלהי, ששמת חלקי מיושבי בית המדרש, ולא שמת חלקי מיושבי קרנות. שאני משכים והם משכימים: אני משכים לדברי תורה, והם משכימים לדברים בטלים. אני עמל והם עמלים: אני עמל ומקבל שכר, והם עמלים ואין מקבלים שכר. אני רץ והם רצים: אני רץ לחיי העולם הבא, והם רצים לבאר שחת.[8]
  3. These prayers do not have a conclusion of a Bracha such as Baruch Atta. [9]

Sources

    • The Mishna Brachot 28b records the practice of Rabbi Nechuneyah Ben HaKanah to pray before learning that Hashem will help him not to make a mistake in learning and after learning to thank Hashem for his portion in Torah. Then the Gemara continues to delineate the text of the prayer. The Rif 19a, Rambam (Brachot 10:23), Rosh (Brachot 4:12), Tur and S”A 110:8 bring these prayers as halacha. [There are slight differences in the versions between these poskim, see there.]
    • The Rambam in Pirush Mishnayot (Brachot 4:2) writes that this prayer is an obligation and infers it from the language of the Gemara which says “the text a person says is as follows” and not “Rabbi Nechuniya used to say the following”. This is quoted by the Rabbenu Manoach (Brachot 10:23). The Mishna Brurah 110:36 quotes this as halacha.
  1. Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 2 pg 15), Piskei Teshuvot 110:10. [See the Aruch HaShulchan 110:16 who defends those who don’t say it because they aren’t involved in giving a halachic ruling and those who are giving a ruling are at home and not in the Bet Midrash.]
  2. Mishna Brurah 110:35 and 37
  3. Piskei Teshuvot 110:10, Magen Avraham 110:16
  4. The Rambam in Pirush Mishnayot (Brachot 4:2), Rabbenu Manoach (Brachot 10:23), Mishna Brurah 110:36, Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 2 pg 15)
  5. Torat HaYeshiva 8:1, Halichot Shlomo Tefillah 14:11. See Mishna Brurah 188:9
  6. Gemara Brachot 28b, S”A 110:8, Aruch HaShulchan 110:8. Aruch HaShulchan 110:8 explains that the phrase ולא אכשל בדבר הלכה וישמחו בי חברי means that I shouldn't make a mistake in halacha and my friend should be happy that I avoided making a mistake. See, however, Rashi on Gemara Brachot 28b.
  7. Gemara Brachot 28b, S”A 110:8, Aruch HaShulchan 110:8
  8. The Rambam in Pirush Mishnayot (Brachot 4:2), Rabbenu Manoach (Brachot 10:23), Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 2 pg 15)