shabbos candles

Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Vayikra


Rav Sternbuch was not able to review the sheet this week.

Hilchos B'rachos part XXVIII

            Brachos Upon Sight

Chazal instituted brachos to be recited when seeing various dimensions of creation that usually astound the beholder. Indeed the entire creation sings out ' how great are your deeds, Hashem, not only the unique and extraordinary creations, but it is through the uncommon that we perceive the grandeur of all His handiwork.

            These brachos are called brachos of praise.

            Should one stand when reciting ?

We find a machlokes in the matter. In Rav Yakov Emdins siddur it says that one should stand while reciting and thus is the opinion lchatchila (where possible) of other poskim. [1] On the other hand the Pri Megadim [2] writes that one may sit down. It is also evident from the Rambam [3] who writes that one must stand for Kiddush Levanah, because it is likened to greeting the Shechina, and he does not say to stand for other . [4]

What do we recite for thunder and lightning?

Upon seeing lightning, one recites ' . The bracha must be recited within approx. 3 seconds to seeing the end of the lightning blitz and one is not required to see the actual streak in the sky, it is suffice to see the sky light up. [5] One does not recite this bracha when the lightning is created from an electrical storm, which is common in certain parts of the world.  One only recites it when associated with rain.

What if I missed the first lightning streak?

It is not a problem and one may recite on the succeeding ones. The halacha is that one may not recite a bracha when occupied with an activity such as washing dishes, writing etc. [6] so to recite the bracha one must desist from all activities and only then recite the bracha. It might happen that one will miss a bracha on account of this halacha and in such circumstances the option for the bracha will be the next lightning blitz.

Upon hearing thunder one recites (within approx. 3 seconds) ' . One must be certain that indeed it is thunder and not the neighbor moving his couch or some other noise.

How often is this bracha recited?

For the same rain storm one bracha is enough. In this case night follows day and if one recited a bracha during the day, one will not recite a new bracha during the night. The next day will require a new bracha even though it is the same rainstorm as the previous day. [7]

If the clouds dispersed and a new rainstorm formed, one will recite a new bracha. [8]

Birkas Hailanos

Blossoming and budding of fruit trees is reason to praise Hashem. Chazal said that one who sees blossoming trees in the days of Nissan must recite a bracha.[9] The nussach is " .

The month of Nissan is not essential and one may recite the bracha during Adar as well. [10]

How many trees?

The Kaf HaChaim writes that based on kabalah, one should recite the bracha in a place where there are many trees blossoming, but two trees suffice. The Mishna Berura did not mention a number as a criterion and one may recite the bracha for one tree as well.

Birkas Hayamim the bracha over seas

One who sees the oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian) recites the bracha . There is doubt as to whether the bracha over the Mediterranean  sea is who made the big sea, and since there is doubt one recites the regular bracha .

This bracha is only recited when one did not see the ocean or sea for thirty days. If one saw the ocean or sea and did not recite the bracha and sees it again within thirty days, one does not recite the bracha. This is because the bracha is recited when one has inspired by what one sees, and seeing it again within thirty days lacks the inspiration Chazal were looking for.

[1] See " " and chap. 17.

[2] ( ).

[3] " ".

[4] See chap. 17.

[5] and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl.

[6] See Shulchan Aruch 183:12 and 191:3 MB 5.

[7] See 227:2.

[8] Ibid and MB 8. See also if several clouds remain in the sky.

[9] Siman 226:1.

[10] MB siman 226:1.


Vort on the Parsha

' this possuk is all too often translated as one sacrificing oneself for Hashem, which does not appeal too well to all people. A sacrifice is something one prefers not to surrender, but will do so when the consequence warrants it. But it still resonates with negativity.

I have heard that a korban can be an offering, not a sacrifice. If one realizes that doing something for Hashem brings one closer to Hashem, it becomes that much easier. It is easier to give an offering than a sacrifice.

For a printed version, click here.



One may receive and distribute these weekly shiurim by calling or writing: Office 99 Rechov Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim,
Phone Numbers:U.S. and Canada 732-370-3344 Israel 972-3-616-6340
 South Africa
078 1655 242 England 44-020-8731-6666 Australia 61-296835626 Switzerland 01141430288
e-mail:, or, weekly sponsorships are available as well. 

If you would like to send a question to Rav Ostroff, you can write to him at

Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.