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BENEDICTIONS (Hebrew, "Berakot"):

Blessings, or prayers of thanksgiving and praise, recited either during divine service or on special occasions. They were, according to rabbinical tradition (Ber. 33a), instituted and formulated by the founders of the synagogue, the "Anshe Keneset ha-Gedolah" (Men of the Great Synagogue), "the hundred and twenty elders" at the head of the commonwealth in the time of Ezra (Meg. 17a; Yer. Ber. ii. 4d; compare Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah, Tefillah u-Birkat Kohanim, i. 4; Ber. i 5). Thanks-givings in the form of "Baruk Yhwh" (Blessed be the Lord) were occasionally offered in the time of the Patriarchs, the Judges, and the Kings (see Gen. xxiv. 27; Ex. xviii. 10; Ruth iv. 14; I Sam. xxv. 32; II Sam. xviii. 28; I Kings i. 48; v. 21; viii. 15, 56; I Chron. xvi. 36; II Chron. ii. 11, vi. 4) and by the Psalmists (Ps. xxviii. 6, xxxi. 22 [A. V. 21], and elsewhere); and in the form of "Baruk Attah Yhwh" (Blessed be thou, O Lord; I Chron. xxix. 10; Ps. cxix. 12); also in the prayer of Azariah (Song of the Three Holy Children, verse 3; Tobit iii. 11; viii. 5, 15; xi. 14).

In the time of Ezra public worship was begun with the call, "Bareku et Adonay" (Bless ye the Lord! Neh. ix. 5), each thanksgiving being followed by the congregational response Amen (Neh. viii. 6) or a longer doxology, "Baruk . . . Amen" (Ps. xli. 14; lxxii. 18, 19; cvi. 48). Thenceforth the designation "Berakah," or benediction, became the standing name for each individual thanksgiving in the service. Accordingly, the ancient Mishnah, R. H. iv. 5, calls the service "Seder Berakot" (Order of Benedictions). Thus eight benedictions are mentioned in Yoma vii. 1, which are recited by the high priest in the Temple service on the Day of Atonement, namely: (1) on the Law, (2) the 'Abodah, (3) the thanksgiving, (4) the forgiveness of sin, (5) the sanctuary, (6) Israel, (7) the priestly blessing, and (8) the closing prayers.

Title-Page of "Meah Berakot," Amsterdam, 1787.

The recitation of the Shema' every morning in the Temple was preceded by one benediction, and followed by three benedictions, which consisted of Emet we-Yaẓẓib, the 'Abodah, and the Priestly Blessing (closing with "Shalom" = peace; Tamid iv. 1). In the synagogue the Shema' is preceded by two benedictions, one for the light of day: "Yoẓer-Or" (see Liturgy), closing with "Blessed be He who created the lights!" and one for the Law: Ahabah Rabbah, ending with "Blessed be He who loveth His people Israel!" and followed by one benediction beginning with Emet we-Yaẓẓib and closing with "Ga'al Yisrael" (Blessed be He who hath redeemed Israel!), after which the eighteen (or seven) benedictions follow. The Shema' in the evening is preceded by the benedictions "Ma'arib 'Arabim," concluding with "Blessed be He who bringeth on the twilight!" and Ahabat 'Olam, closing with "Blessed be He who loveth His people Israel!" and followed by two benedictions, namely: "Ga'al Yisrael," as in the morning, and "Hashkibenu" ("Grant us peaceful rest in the night!"), ending with "Blessed be He who guardeth Israel!" or, on Sabbath and holy days, with "Blessed be He who spreadeth the tabernacle of His peace over Israel!" The prayer (Shemoneh 'Esreh) in the daily ritual of the synagogue consists of eighteen benedictions (Ber. 28b); the corresponding festival prayer, ofseven (Tos. R. H. iv. 11); the one on fast-days, of twenty-four, six special benedictions being added to the eighteen of the daily prayer, each being followed by the response "Amen" (Ta'an. ii. 2-5).

Upon Reading from Scripture.

A special benediction was also offered by Ezra before the reading from the Book of the Law, the assembly responding with "Amen! Amen!" (Neh. viii. 6.) Hence it became the regular practise in both the temple and the synagogue to recite a benediction before reading the Law, with the introductory "Bareku" (Bless ye the Lord), and after the reading with the closing formula, "Blessed be He who gave the Law," followed by the response "Amen" (Yoma vii. 1, p. 69b; "Masseket Soferim," xiii. 8, ed. Müuller, p. 178). The benedictions recited at the reading from the Prophets, the Hafṭarah, one before and three or four benedictions after the reading on Sabbath and holy days, have the same character. They are thanksgivings for the words of comfort and of Messianic hope offered by the prophetic writings as interpreted by the Haggadah. Originally these also were accompanied by congregational responses ("Masseket Soferim," xiii. 9-14, ed. Müller, pp, 181-185). Similarly the reading of the Hallel Psalms on the New Moon and holy days is preceded and followed by a benediction; the latter known in Mishnaic time as "Birkat haShir" (Benediction of the Psalm, Pes. x. 7). To the same category belong the benediction Baruk she-Amar, which precedes, and the Yishtabbaḥ (with or without the Nishmat), which follows, the reading of Psalms in the early morning service; the benediction in each case closing with "Blessed be Thou, O Lord, who art extolled by praises!" (Compare Ps. xxii. 4 [3] and Ex. xv. 11.) The corresponding evening benediction "Baruk le-'Olam" appears originally to have been also a benediction on the Psalms (see S. Baer, "'Abodat Yisrael," p. 109; and Kohler, "The Psalms and Their Place in the Liturgy," Graetz College Publications, 1897, i. 31.

The benedictions recited over the meals are of very ancient origin. As early as the Book of Samuel people would not eat before the blessing had been offered over the sacrifice (I Sam. ix. 13). Accordingly, the words in Deut. viii. 10, "When thou hast eaten and art full, thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee," are referred by the Rabbis to the benediction over the meal, to both the grace before the meal and the threefold benediction after it (Ber. 21a, 48b; Tos. Ber. vii. 1; compare Sibyllines, iv. 25; Josephus, "B. J." ii. 8, § 5; Letter of Aristeas, § 184; Matt. xiv. 19, xv. 36, xxvi. 26; Acts xxvii. 35). "Seeing thee eat without washing the hands and without saying the benediction, I took thee to be a heathen," said an innkeeper to his brother Jew (Num. R. xx.). "Whosoever eats or drinks or enjoys some pleasure of the senses without offering a benediction commits a sacrilegious theft against God" (Ber. 35a, b).

Before and After Meals.

Especially solemn, because accompanied with responses in accordance with the number of the participants, is the Grace at Meals, consisting of three benedictions, later increased to four. According to Ber. 48b, the first "Ha-zan et ha-kol" (Blessed be He who giveth food to all!) was instituted by Moses; the second, "Nodeh leka" (closing with Blessed be Thou for the land and for the food!"), by Joshua, who led Israel into the land; and the third, "Raḥem na" (closing with "Blessed be He who rebuildeth [buildeth] Jerusalem"), by King Solomon; while the fourth, "Ha-ṭob we-ha-Meṭib" (Blessed be He who is good and doeth good!)—recited as a rule whenever new wine is served to cheer the guests—is ascribed to the rabbis of Jamnia in Bar Kokba's time. All meals having had a distinctly social rather than a mere domestic character in olden times, the benedictions recited at the table were accordingly, like those in the synagogue, introduced by an exhortatory call, "Zimmun," and accompanied by responses (Ber. vii. 1, 2; Geiger, "Urschrift," p. 123; Kohler, l.c. pp. 34, 35).

Gladdening wine as a social element served on such occasions gave rise to benedictions connected with the Sabbath and the festival meals, the Ḳiddush (the sanctification of the day, Mek., Yitro, vii.; Pes. 106a) and Habdalah ("the leave-taking from the holy day"), which formed originally the conclusion of the Sabbath meal (Ber. viii. 1; Geiger, "Zeitschr." vi. 116); the Passover Seder (Pes. x. 6); also to a benediction now no longer in use at the new-moon meal ("Mas. Soferim," xix. 9); to the seven benedictions recited at marriage festivities (Ket. 7b; compare Tobit viii. 6-17), which lasted a full week or two; the benedictions at circumcision (Shab. 137b; Tosef., Ber. vii. 12, 13); and the benedictions at the mourners' meal, which were still in use in Europe in the eleventh century ("Mas. Soferim," xix. 11, ed. Müller, p. 276; Ber. 46b; Semaḥot xii., xiv.; "Siddur Rab Amram," i. 55; Maḥzor Vitry, No. 248). Every new enjoyment offered at the festal table, such as various kinds of fruits, or perfumes, gave rise to another benediction (Ber. vi. viii.; Tos. Ber. vi.). "To God belongs the earth and all its produce, according to Ps. xxiv. 1; but when consecrated by a benediction it becomes man's privilege to enjoy it, according to Ps. cxv. 16," says R. Levi (Ber. 36a).

Thanks-giving for Personal Benefits.

Besides these three forms of benediction, a fourth, bearing a more personal character, came into use in ancient times—a thanksgiving for the manifestation of divine goodness experienced in one's life. The one hundred and seventh Psalm has been correctly understood by rabbinical tradition to refer to four different kinds of thanksgiving for benefits received from God: (1) for escaping the dangers of a journey through the desert (verses 4-9); or (2) being rescued from prison (10-16); or (3) recovering from a grave illness (17-22); or (4) having gone safely through the perils of a sea voyage. All who have undergone any of these experiences are bidden to offer loud thanksgiving to the Lord in the midst of worshiping assemblies. Out of this developed the "Birkat ha-Gomel" (Blessed be the Lord, who bestoweth benefits upon the undeserving), the benediction recited by men who are called up to the Law the first time they appear in the synagogue after deliverance from danger; the congregation responding: "May He who hath bestowed all good upon thee, further bestow good unto thee! Amen," As a matter of course,each miraculous escape or other joyous experience gave rise to another benediction. In fact, many Psalms are the outpouring of such thanksgiving (Ps. xxii. 26 [A. V. 25], xl. 11 [A. V. 10], ciii. 1-5). Yet not only experiences of joy, but also severe trials, prompted the saints to offer thanksgiving, as in the case of Job, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job i. 21).

Development of Benedictions.

Every manifestation of divine protection and help became an opportunity for the pious Israelite to offer up thanksgiving in the usual form of a benediction; thus, after the victory over Nicanor the people exclaimed: "Blessed be He who hath kept His holy place undefiled" (II Macc. xv. 34). A similar benediction is given: "Blessed be Thou, the truthful Judge who disclosest the things hidden" (ib. xii. 41). Not only did the experience of miraculous help from Providence give an opportunity for thanksgiving, as when Jethro exclaimed, "Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptian" (Ex. xviii. 10; Ber. 54a), but the very season or place which recalled the wondrous event to the memory of the people or of the individual gave rise to a benediction: "Blessed be Thou who wroughtest a miracle unto me," or "unto our fathers of old." There is an instructive passage in the Book of Enoch: "Each time Enoch beheld some of the wonders of nature, he blessed the Lord of Glory, who had made great and glorious wonders to show the greatness of His work to the angels and the souls of men, that they might praise His work and all His creation . . . and bless Him for ever." Obviously, at the time Enoch was written, the Ḥasidim had already made it a custom to say a benediction at the sight of every great phenomenon of nature, "'Oseh ma'aseh Bereshit" (Blessed be the Worker of Creation) (Ber. 54a; compare Ben Sira [Ecclus.] xliii. 11, "Look upon the rainbow and praise Him that made it").

In the course of time all these benedictions assumed a stereotyped form; and the rule is given by Rab that, to be regarded as a regular benediction (Ber. 40b), every benediction must contain the name of God, and by R. Johanan that it must contain the attribute of God's kingship. It was always the Name that called forth the response, since the verse Deut. xxxii. 3 (Hebr.), "When I call upon the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness unto our God," was interpreted in this sense by the Rabbis (see Sifre, Deut. 306). In view of this response in the synagogue, "Amen"; in the Temple, "Baruk Adonay" (Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting), particular stress was always laid upon the closing formula ("ḥotem berakot") (Mishnah Ber. ix. 5; Ta'anit ii. 3; Tosef., Ber. vii. 21, 22; Tosef., Ta'anit i. 10-13); whereas full freedom as to the form of the main benediction was granted to the individual who offered the prayer or praise. It has been suggested that Psalms, such as cxxxvi., cxlvii., cxlviii., or other Biblical verses, originally formed the basis of each benediction (see Isidore Loeb, "Literature des Pauvres," p. 158; Müller, "Masseket Soferim," p. 228; Kohler, l.c. pp. 32-34). A specimen in the Apocryphon to an old benediction with choral response is given in the Song of the Three Children (verses 29-34, 39-67). Out of the recitative benedictions spoken in assemblies, as seen in the prevalent use of the plural, developed at a much later stage the solitary prayer without the element of responses (Ber. viii. 8), which had previously been essential.

One Hundred Benedictions Daily.

Great importance was laid, however, on the exact traditional form of the various benedictions. Only a recognized scholar ("Talmid ḥakam") was presumed to know them to a reliable degree; whereas those who compiled them for common use were, in Mishnaic time, regarded with suspicion. "Those who write down the benedictions are equal in mischief-doing to such as burn the Law"—ostensibly because they infringed the rights of those authorized to offer the benediction (see Tosef., Ber. i. 8; Shab. xiii. [xix.] 4; Ber. 38a, 50a; Shab. 115b). Nevertheless it was from such written collections of benedictions that compilations like those enumerated in Mishnah Berakot ix., Ta'anit ii., Tosef., Ber. vii., and elsewhere were made. At any rate, by the second century they were already fixed as to form and number, since R. Meïr declares it to be the duty of every one to say one hundred benedictions daily (Men. 43b); and R. Yose says: "He who alters the form of benedictions fixed by the wise has failed to fulfil his obligations" (Ber. 40b; Yer. Ber. vi. 2, 10b). According to Num. R. xviii. (compare Tan., Korah, ed. Vienna, 1853), it was King David who instituted the one hundred daily benedictions. These hundred benedictions required daily by R. Meïr are shown by Abudrahim in gate iii. ("Birkat ha-Miẓwah") of his commentary to correspond with the benedictions given in the daily prayers.

Maimonides (Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah, Berakot, i. 4) divides the benedictions into three classes: (1) for enjoyments; (2) for the privilege of the performance of a religious duty; and (3) forms of liturgical thanks-giving and praise. Abudrahim, in Hilkot Berakot, divides them into four classes: (1) such as are comprised in the daily prayer; (2) such as precede the performance of religious duties; (3) such as are offered for enjoyments; and (4) such as are offered on special occasions of thanksgiving and praise.

The following is a list of benedictions prescribed in the Talmud and adopted in the liturgy; each of them beginning with the formula "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe!"

  • (1) Before retiring to rest at night: ". . . who makes the bands of sleep fall upon mine eyes and slumber upon mine eyelids. May it be Thy will, O Lord, to make me lie down in peace and rise up again in peace. Let not my thoughts nor evil dreams nor evil imaginations trouble me, but let my bed be spotless before Thee, and give light again to mine eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death" (Ps. xiii. 4 [A. V. 3]); "for it is Thou who givest light to the apple of the eye" (Ps. xvii. 8). "Blessed art Thou who givest light to the whole world with Thy glory" (Ber. 60b).
  • (2) In the morning, before reciting any benediction, one has to wash the hands and say: ". . . who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments and enjoined us to wash the hands" ("Neṭilat Yadayim," "lifting up the bands"); compare Targ. to Ps. cxxxiv. 2 (Ber. 53b).
  • (3) After the performance of the functions of the body: . . . who has formed man in wisdom and created many oriflces and vessels, upon the opening or closing of which life depends." ". . . (who healest all flesh and) who hast made man wondrously" (after Ps. cxxxix. 14).
Morning Benedictions.
  • (4) After awakening from the night's sleep (which was regarded as the returning of the soul to the body) some rabbis prescribe the benediction: " . . . who revivest the dead" (Yer. Ber. iv. 2. 7d); but the form commonly adopted is: "My Lord, the soul which Thou hast given me is pure, Thou hast created and formed it, and Thou didst breathe it into me and preservest it within me and wilt one day take it from me and restore it unto me hereafter. So long as the soul is within me, I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord my God, Sovereign of all works, Lord of all souls, . . . who restorest the souls unto dead bodies."
  • (5) On hearing the cock crow, one says: " . . . who hast given the cock intelligence to distinguish between day and night" (Job xxxxviii. 36). Compare "Apost. Const." viii. 34.
  • (6) On opening the eyes in the morning: " . . . who openest the eyes of the blind" (after Ps. cxlvi. 8).
  • (7) When sitting up and moving one's limbs: " . . . who loosest them that are bound" (Ps. cxlvi. 7).
  • (8) When dressing: " . . . who clothest the naked" (Ps. cxlvi. 8).
  • (9) When standing erect: " . . . who raisest up those that are bowed down" (compare "Halakot Gedolot," ed. Hildesheimer, p. 77). When sitting up: "Who liftest up those that are low" (ib.).
  • (10) When stepping upon the ground: " . . . who spreadest forth the earth above the waters" (Ps. cxxxvi. 6).
  • (11) On stepping forth to walk: " . . . who hast made firm the steps of man" (Ps. xxxxvii. 23).
  • (12) When putting on shoes: " . . . who hath supplied me with every want."
  • (13) When girding the belt about oneself: " . . . who girdest Israel with might" (Jer. xxiii. 11; Ps. xlv. 7).
  • (14) When putting on a head-covering: " . . . who crownest Israel with glory" (Isa. lxi. 10; = "glory," name for miter).(The following alternative is not found in the Talmud, and is disallowed in Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, xlvi. 6: " . . . who givest strength to the weary.")
  • (15) When washing the face: " . . . who removest sleep from mine eyes and slumber from mine eyelids."Here follows a prayer for a day free from sin and temptation and graced by favor of God and man, which closes thus: " . . . who bestowest loving-kindness" (late addition, "upon Thy people Israel").
  • (16) Every one must offer three benedictions daily, namely: " . . . who hast made me an Israelite (or who hast not made me a heathen)"; " . . . who hast not made me a woman"; " . . . who hast not made me a slave [or a boor]" (Tosef., Ber. vii. 18; Yer. Ber. ix. 2, p. 13b; Men. 43b; "Halakot Gedolot," p. 77. Persian and Greek parallels are given by Joël, "Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte," i. 119; Kaufmann, "Monatsschrift," pp. 14-18). For woman the benediction is substituted: " . . . who hast made me according to Thy will."The following benediction adopted in the Prayer-Book is, according to Yer. Ber. ix. 2, preserved in full in Yalḳut, Wa'etḥanan, 836, offered by the angels at the time when the Shema' is recited by Israel: "Thou wast one ere the world was created; Thou hast been the same since the world hath been created. Thou art the same in this world and the same in the world to 1893, come. Sanctify Thy name through those that sanctify it, . . . who sanctifiest Thy name among the multitudes."
  • (17) Before and after the reading of the Psalms in the morning service: Baruk she-Amar and Yishtabbaḥ.
  • (18, 19) Before reading Shema' in the morning, "Yoẓer Or" and Ahabah Rabbah.
  • (20) After Shema', Emet we-Yaẓẓib.
  • (21-39) The "'Amidah," seven (or eighteen, increased later on to nineteen), benedictions, consisting of three principal benedictions of praise at the beginning, three at the close, and twelve or thirteen (on week-days; on Sabbath and holy days only one) inserted in the middle see Shemoneh 'Esreh). In case of need one benediction, Habinenu, containing the contents of the twelve, is offered as substitute for week-days also (Ber. 29a).
  • (40) Before the reading from the Law two different benedictions were in use in the third century, and both have been adopted in the Prayer-Book; one beginning, " . . . who teachest the Law to Thy people Israel," and ending with, " . . . who hast commanded us to occupy ourselves with the words of the Law"; the other, " . . . who hast chosen us from all peoples and hast given us Thy Law," and closing with, " . . . who gavest the Law." After the reading: " . . . who hast given us the Law of truth and hast planted everlasting life in our midst"; and closing with, " . . . who gavest the Law" (see Ber. 11b; "Masseket Soferim," xiii. 8).
  • (41) The benediction "Hashkibenu" in the evening prayer has been mentioned above; this is followed on week-days by:
  • (42) "Baruk Adonay le-'Olam," Psalm verses corresponding to the "Baruk she-Amar," which are concluded with the benediction referring to the Messianic kingdom: " . . . the King who will reign forever and aye over all His creatures."
  • (43) Before and after the recitation of Hallel as mentioned above.
  • (44) "Musaf" consists of seven benedictions, with the exception of that of New-Year, which has three more.
  • (45) The benedictions before and after the Hafṭarah, mentioned above.
  • (46) To the same category as the preceding belong the benediction before and that after the recitation of the Megillah or scroll of the Book of Esther on Purim (Meg. 21b).
  • (47) The benediction over the reading of the four scrolls—Canticles, on Passover; Ruth, on Shabu'ot; Ecclesiastes, on Sukkot; and Lamentations, on the Ninth of Ab, mentioned in "Masseket Soferim," xiv. 3, has fallen into disuse, as has also the benediction over the reading of the Hagiographa (ib. 4).
  • (48, 49) On putting on the tallit and the tefillin on the arm and the forehead respectively (Ber. 60b; Yer. Ber. ix. 2, 14a; Tosef., Ber. vii. 10; and Men. 36a, 42b).
  • (50) Benediction for the Aaronites when they offer the priestly benediction (Soṭah 39a).
  • (51) On kindling the lights on Sabbath and festival eve ("Yad," Shabbat, v. 1; Hagahot Maimuni referring to Yer. Ber. ix.); see Blessing, Priestly.
  • (52) On kindling the Ḥanukkah lights, with the additional benediction: " . . . who hast done wonders to our fathers in days of old at this season" (Shab. 23a).
  • (53, 54) Ḳiddush and Habdalah, q.v.
  • (55-62) On affixing a Mezuzah to a doorpost: " . . . who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments and enjoined us to affix the Mezuzah." Similarly, on building the battlement for the roof prescribed in Deut. xxii. 8; on the consecration of the Ḥallah, or Terumah; on the 'Erub; at the performance of the ritual slaughtering, and the covering of the blood, special blessings are said as also at the removal of the leavened bread before Passover and the eating of the Maẓẓah; at the counting of the days of 'Omer; at the preparation for and first entering into the Sukkah; on the blowing of the Shofar on New-Year's Day; at the performance of the rite of ablution of persons and vessels (Yer. Ber. ix. 2, p. 14a; Tosef., Ber. vii. 9-10; "Yad," Berakot, xi.; Baer's Prayer-Book, pp. 570-571; Ber. 51a).
  • (63, 64) On betrothal and marriage, see Betrothal and Marriage.
  • (65) On circumcision, see Circumcision.
  • (66) On redeeming the first-born, see Pidyon ha-Ben.
  • (67) Over the mourners' meal (Ket. 8b), see Funeral Rites.
  • (68) On the arrival of a new season, or of any joyous event in one's life: " . . . who hast kept us in life and preserved us and permitted us to reach this season."
Thanksgiving for Enjoyments.
  • (69) Blessing over the bread: " . . . who hast brought forth bread from the earth" (Ber. vi. 1, 38a, after Ps. civ. 14).
  • (70) Over the wine: " . . . who hast created the fruit of the vine" (Ber. vi. 1).
  • (71) Over food other than bread prepared of flour: " . . . who hast created various kinds of food" (Ber. 36b).
  • (72) On eating fruit which grows on trees: " . . . who hast created the fruit of the tree" (Ber. vi. 1).
  • (73) On eating fruit which grows on the ground: " . . . who hast created the fruit of the ground" (Ber. vi. 1).
  • (74) After having finished the meal, see Grace After Meal.
  • (75) A benediction containing in abridged form three of the usual graces after meals, after having eaten such fruits as the Holy Land is especially blessed with, such as grapes, dates, figs, and pomegranates, or after having taken wine or partaken of other food than bread.
  • (76) On eating food that does not grow on the ground, or drinking water, or other liquor: " . . . by whose word all things have been made to exist" (Ber. vi. 3).
  • (77) After partaking of any of these, or of fruit: " . . . who hast created beings and what they need. For all that Thou hast created to sustain therewith the life of each living being, blessed be He who livest forever" (Ber. vi. 8; Tos. iv. 16; according to R. Ṭarfon, before the eating, Yer. Ber. 10b). In Yer. Ber. l.c., and Tosef. Ber. iv. 4 other benedictions over special kinds of food are given; but these were not adopted by the casuists.
  • (78) On smelling: "Blessed art Thou who hast created fragrantwoods," "fragrant spices," and "fragrant oils," "odorous plants," and "odorous fruits" (Ber. 43b).
Upon Seeing Natural Phenomena.
  • (79) On seeing lightning, falling stars, lofty mountains, great deserts (also the sun at the beginning of a new cycle of twenty-eight years), or the sky in all its beauty: " . . . who hast made Creation" (Ber. ix. 2; Tosef., Ber. vii. 6; Ber. 59b).
  • (80) On hearing thunder, or witnessing an earthquake or hurricane: " . . . whose might and power fill the world" (Ber. ix. 2).
  • (81) At the sight of the sea: " . . . who hast made the great sea" (ib.).
  • (82) On seeing blossoms budding for the first time in the spring: " . . . who hast made Thy world lacking in naught, but hast produced goodly creatures and goodly trees wherewith to give delight to the children of men" (Ber. 43b; R. H. 11a).
  • (83) On seeing beautiful persons, trees, or animals: " . . . who hast such as these in the world" (Ber. 58b; Tosef., Ber. vii. 4).
  • (84) On seeing strangely formed beings such as giants and dwarfs, or elephants and apes: " . . . who variest the forms of Thy creatures" (Ber. l.c.; Tos. vii. 5).
  • (85) On seeing persons stricken with blindness, lameness, or loathsome diseases, or holy places in a state of desolation, or on hearing evil tidings: " . . . the true Judge" (Ber. ix. 2 and l.c.).
  • (86) On hearing good tidings or witnessing joy: " . . . who art good and dispensest good" (Ber. l.c.).
  • (87) On seeing the rainbow: " . . . who rememberest the covenant, art faithful to Thy covenant, and keepest Thy promise" (Tosef., Ber. vii. 5; a composite prayer, see Ber. 59b).
  • (88) On seeing holy places restored after long desolation: " . . . who reestablishest the border of the widow" (Ber. 58b, after Prov. xv. 25).
  • (89) On seeing a friend after a year's separation: " . . . who revivest the dead" (Ber. 58b; compare Pirḳe R. El. xxxi.). When restored from a dangerous sickness: " . . . Blessed be the Merciful who gave Thee back to us and not to the earth" (Ber. 54b).
On Seeing Remarkable Persons.
  • (90) On seeing a scholar or sage of distinction: " . . . who hast imparted of Thy wisdom to flesh and blood" (ib.).
  • (91) On seeing a king or ruler of a country: " . . . who hast imparted of Thy glory to flesh and blood" (ib.).
  • (92) On seeing the myriads of Israel gathered together: "Blessed be He who knowest the secret thoughts of all these" (Ber. l.c.).
  • (93) After having escaped perils, see Gomel Benshen.
  • (94) On entering a burial-ground: "Blessed be the Lord who hath formed you in judgment, and nourished and sustained you in judgment, and hath brought death on you in judgment. He knoweth the number of you in judgment and will hereafter restore you to life in judgment, . . . who revivest the dead" (Ber. 58b).
  • (95) On seeing a place where a miracle happened to Israel of old: " . . . who hast performed miracles for our fathers at this place" (Ber. ix. 1).
  • (96) On seeing a place from which idolatrous practises have been removed: " . . . who hast removed idolatry from this place" (ib.). On seeing a place where idolatry is practised: " . . . who showest long-suffering to those who transgress Thy will" (Ber. 57b).
  • (97) On the appearance of the new moon, see New Moon.
Bibliography:
  • Sefer Abudrahim;
  • Maimonides, Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah, Berakot;
  • Baer, 'Abodat Yisrael;
  • S. Singer, Daily Prayer-Book, pp. 287-292;
  • Landshuth, Hegyon Leb;
  • M. Bloch, Institutionen des Judenthums, 1884;
  • I. H. Weiss, in Kobak's Jeschurun, 1864, ii. part 1, pp. 37-44.
A. K.
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