(S) Siman 219-223: Thanksgiving Blessings

     Siman 219 Seifim 9

1. Four categories of people must give thanks, those who travel by sea upon  the completion of their journey, those who travel through the desert when they reach an inhabited place, someone who was ill and recovered and someone released from prison. The mnemonic device to remember this is ם   “החיי וכל  יודוך סלה and the word חיי”ם  stands for  ח’בוש, י’סורים , י’ם מ’דבר.

 2.What is the wording of the beracha? ברוך אתה  ה’ וגו הגומל לחיבים טובים שגמלני כל טוב.Those listening respond: מי שגמלך כל טוב הוא יגמלך כל טוב סלה.

3. The Beracha should be recited in the presence of ten people and two of them should be Torah scholars as the pasuk states: וירוממוהו בקהל עם ובמושב זקנים יהללוהו.  If Torah scholars are not present one should not refrain from reciting the beracha.  The custom is to recite the beracha after krias haTorah since there are ten people present at that time.  If one recited the beracha in the presence of less than ten people according to some the  obligation was fulfilled whereas according to others it was not.  It is best to repeat the beracha in the presence of ten people without mentioning Hashem’s Name or Kingdom.

4. If someone else recited ברוך אתה ה’ וגו’ אשר גמלך כל טוב and  the one who was saved responded  אמן he discharged his  obligation.  Similarly, if someone declared:  מלכא רחמנא בריך לן דיהבך דעלמא and the one who was saved responded אמן he  discharged his obligation.  The one who recited the beracha did not recite a beracha l’vatalah even though he was not  obligated to recite the beracha since he is reciting the beracha as a form of praise and thanks for the good his  friend received which brought him joy.

5. If one recited hagomel for himself and had in mind to discharge the obligation of someone else and his friend listened and had in mind to discharge his own obligation, the friend discharged his obligation even without answering אמן (since the one who recited the beracha was also obligated to recite the beracha, the listener fulfills his obligation without even answering אמן).

6. If one delayed reciting the beracha he may make it up as long as he wants but one should not delay the recitation beyond three days.

 7. In Germany and France the beracha is not recited when one travels from one city to another since the obligation was  instituted for those who travel in the desert where wild animals and thieves are commonly found.  In Spain they recite the beracha since all roads are assumed dangerous.  However, one who travels less than a parsa does not recite the beracha but if the area is known to be dangerous one recites the beracha even if he travels less than a parsa..

8. One recites the beracha for any illness even if it is not a dangerous illness or an internal injury; rather as long as one confined to bed and got out he recites the beracha.  It is similar to one brought before a scaffold (the place where judges would sit to adjudicate) for judgment.  There is no difference between a recurring illness that comes periodically or whether it is not a recurring illness.  According to some opinions one does not recite the beracha unless it was a dangerous illness, e.g. an internal injury and that is the custom in Germany.

9. These four categories are not specific and the obligation applies for anyone who experienced a miraculous recovery, e.g. a wall fell on him, one was saved from being trampled or gored by a bull, a lion was going to tear him apart in the city, if thieves or night robbers attacked and he was saved and anything similar.  In all such cases one must recite hagomel.  According to some authorities one recites the beracha only if one is one of the four mentioned categories and it is appropriate to recite the beracha without mentioning Hashem’s Name or mention of His Kingdom.

      Siman 220 Seifim 2 

1. If one sees a dream that leaves him troubled he should improve it in the presence of three people who love him and should declare in their presence, “I saw a good dream,” and they should  respond, “It is good and it should be good.”

2. Fasting is effective to  nullify a bad dream the same way that fire easily burns chaff. But only on the day of the dream, even if it is Shabbos, see below, siman 288.

      Siman 221 Seifim 2

1. If one was distressed by the lack of rain and then the rain fell one recites a beracha even though the rain was not sufficient to fructify, as long as there was sufficient rain to produce bubbles from the rain that go out to greet one another.  The reason the practice of reciting this beracha is no longer  followed is that in these countries rain falls regularly and does not stop for extended periods of time.

2. What is the beracha?  If one does not own a field one recites: מודים אנחנו לך ה’ א-לוקינו על כל טפה וטפה שהורדת לנו  and ואלו פינו מלא שירה כים וכו’ הן הם יודו ויברכו את שמך מלכנו If one owns a  .ברוך אתה ה’ ק-ל רב ההודאות :one concludes field with a partner he recites:  והמטיב הטוב and if he does not have a partner he recites  שהחינו. Some maintain that one who hears that rain fell recites  הטוב והמטיב.

      Siman 222 Seifim 4

1. For good news that is good for one personally he recites  שהחינו and if it is good  for him as well as  others he recites והמטיב הטוב.

2. On bad news one recites ברוך אתה ה’  א-לוקינו מלך העולם דין האמת

3. One must recite the beracha on bad news wholeheartedly and willingly with the same manner of joy that he recites the beracha on good news since bad news for a servant of Hashem is joyous and good for him being that he accepts with love what Hashem decreed upon him so that his acceptance of the decree is a means of serving Hashem and that brings him joy.

4.One recites והמטיב הטוב on good news even if one is fearful that bad will result from it, e.g. one found a lost object but fears that the king will hear about it and take what is his.   Similarly, one recites האמת  דין on bad news even though good could come from it, e.g. one’s field flooded but when the flood passes his field will be left watered.

Siman 223 Seifim 6

1. If one’s wife gives birth to a son he recites הטוב והמטיב and she also recites that beracha. If one’s wife died during childbirth he recites שהחינו since the good is not shared with others. Similarly, if the father died before his son was born his wife recites שהחינו . Some write that the custom is to be lenient with regards to this beracha being that it is optional rather than obligatory and consequently the custom developed to be lenient with these berachos.

2. When one’s father dies one recites דין האמת . If there is money that one will inherit and he is an only child he recites שהחינו . If he has other brothers he recites הטוב והמטיב since one does not recite הטוב והמטיב unless he has partners in those good things.

3. If one built a new house or purchased new utensils, even if he already owned similar ones or if he purchased
items numerous times, he recites שהחינו each time. This is true not only if they are new; rather even if they are
used but are new to him he recites the beracha and “new” is mentioned only as opposed to one who repurchases an item that he sold to someone else.

4. One should recite the beracha at the time of the transaction even though he did not yet use it since
the beracha was enacted for the joy of one’s heart experienced at the moment of purchase. When one wears the garment he should recite: .מלביש ערומים

5. If one purchased items that will be used by the other members of one’s household he recites הטוב והמטיב . If one received an item as a gift he recites הטוב והמטיב since it is good for him as well as the benefactor.

6. On items that are not so important, e.g. a shirt, shoes or socks (small shoes that cover most of the leg) one does not recite a beracha. If one is poor and is joyous over them he should recite the beracha. Some maintain that even a poor person does not recite the beracha on shirts, shoes and the like and this is our custom. The custom is to say to one who wears a new garment ” .”תבלה ותתחדש There is an opinion that maintains that one should not say this regarding shoes or garments made from animal hide because it necessitates killing another animal to make a replacement garment and the pasuk states: ורחמיו על כל מעשיו . This reasoning is weak and does not appear correct but nevertheless there are many who are particular about this and do not say it.


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