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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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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 Bamidbar


Hilchos B'rachos Part XXXIII

            The Brachos of Gratitude

            Birkas Hagomel

            Who is required to recite Birkas Hagomel?

            A person who was in a dangerous predicament and escaped, is obligated to thank HKBH, and chazal instituted Birkas Hagomel for this purpose. [1]

            A person who was dangerously ill should recite Hagomel upon recovery, even though several poskim [2] write that one should recite Hagomel even if one was bedridden for more than three days. Nowadays the custom is to only recite Hagomel when one was dangerously ill (for even less than three days). [3]

            One who had surgery on internal organs such as fissures, hernias and eyes, will usually recite Hagomel. As usual a Rav should be asked.[4] It is the accepted custom to recite Hagomel if a general anesthetic has been administered, regardless of the procedure it was administered for.

            If bitten by a poisonous insect, snake or scorpion, one will recite Hagomel.

            A person who had hepatitis and was bed ridden for many days, or suffered a heart attack or stroke, will recite Hagomel.

            When does one recite this bracha?

            One recites the bracha when one has fully recuperated. If one has overcome the danger entirely even though one must still administer medication and physical therapy, one will recite the bracha. [5]

            What if chas vshalom there might be a relapse?

            It seems that one will not recite the bracha until one is completely healed. [6]

            If a car narrowly misses hitting a person, or if someone is nearly involved in an accident, does one recite Hagomel?

            One only recites Hagomel when one was in a dangerous situation and was saved. When a car narrowly misses, it is indeed something to thank Hashem profusely, but it is not cause for Hagomel, because after all, one was not in danger the car missed.

If two cars narrowly miss each other, or if one swerves out of the way of another car, one will not recite Hagomel.

If however a car spun out of control, or if a car was hit by another car and ones life was saved, even if the person did not suffer any injury, that person was in danger and must recite Hagomel.

            One who travels through a dangerous place, such as the desert, a plane trip or over the seas, must recite Hagomel [7] upon reaching dry land and at the culmination of the trip. If one makes a short stop-over (even lasting several days) between flights, one does not recite Hagomel [8] until the entire journey is over.

            Is it accepted by all to recite Hagomel after a plane trip?

            Indeed there are various opinions on the matter. There are those that require one to recite the bracha, and others differentiate between whether the plane flew over water or land, while others say that one does not recite the bracha. In all cases one should ask ones Rav, although the prevalent custom is that one does recite Hagomel. [9]

            How long after the trip does one have to recite Hagomel?

Preferably one should recite Hagomel within three days of emerging from danger, [10] and this is even if one will forgo reciting the bracha before a sefer Torah, as is the custom. [11] One may recite the bracha long after three days, but if an extended time has elapsed and one has basically forgotten the danger, one does not recite the bracha. [12] 

Where must this bracha be recited? 

One recites the bracha before ten males, based on the possuk , where the first part of the possuk refers to 10 people and the second part refers to talmidei chachamim, so lchatchila there should be two talmidei chachamim in the minyan (including the person reciting the bracha).

Custom is to recite after reading the Torah, because a quorum is always present, but if one is not able to recite after reading the Torah, one should recite the bracha before a quorum wherever.

The Mishna Berura [13] cites a source saying that if one has to wait thirty days to gather a quorum; one should not wait and recite it with even less than a quorum.

[1] Siman 219:1.

[2] See MB siman 219:28 and Biur Halacha " .

[3] See " '.

[4] " " ".

[5] " " " ".

[6] See " '.

[7] Siman 219:1.

[8] See MB siman 219:1 and Shaar Hatsiun 1.

[9] See " .

[10] Siman 219:6.

[11] MB siman 219:20.

[12] Based on Oruch Hashulchan siman 219:7.

[13] Siman 219:8.


Vort on the Parsha

The Midrash says that Am Yisrael saw that the angels had flags and they also wanted them, so Hashem told Moshe to give them flags. The flags symbolize belonging; one belongs somewhere and has a tafkid. Each soldier has a post and by leaving his post he does two wrongdoings, firstly he vacates his position and second, he tries to occupy someone elses.

It is vital to know that we each have a position and post to occupy and must fulfill it to the maximum. If we would live like that, we would be extremely content with our lives.

For a printed version, click here.



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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.