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Chapter 61:1-3
Birkas Hagomel and Other Blessings

1. The following four individuals* must recite a blessing of thanksgiving: a)those who undertake a sea voyage, once they reach their destination,
b)those who travel through the desert or undertake another dangerous journey, once they reach their destination; included in this category is also anyone who was subject to other perilous situations and was saved from them - e.g., a person who was caught under a wall which collapsed,
c)a person who was dangerously ill, or who suffered internal injuries, or was bedridden for three days due to illness, and then was healed and was able to walk about as a healthy individual,
d)a person who was imprisoned, even for only monetary matters.**

* {The Ba'er Heiteiv writes that this blessing should not be recited by women or children. In his Piskei Siddur, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi accepts the latter point, but disagrees with the former and requires women to recite this blessing after undergoing a perilous situation - e.g., childbirth.}

** {This represents the opinions of the Eliyohu Rabboh and the Birchei Yosef. However, the Mogen Avraham maintains that only a person imprisoned for capital offenses should recite this blessing. See the Piskei Siddur of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi and the Mishnoh B'rurah 219, Bi'ur Halacha.}

Which blessing should he recite? Boruch Attoh A-d-o-n-o-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ho'olom hagomel l'chayovim tovos shegemolani kol tov. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who bestows goodness on the culpable, who has bestowed all goodness upon me.)

Those who hear should respond: Mi shegemolcho tov, hu yigemolcho kol tov seloh. (May He who has bestowed goodness upon you, [continue] to bestow all goodness upon you forever.)

2. This blessing should be recited before ten people.* The person reciting the blessing is not included in that number.** Two of them should be Torah Sages involved in the study of Halacha, as implied by [Psalms 107:32]: "Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the nation, and in the sitting of the elders they shall render praise." However, if no Torah Sages are present, the blessing may be recited in their absence.

* {If ten are not present, the blessing should not be recited. A person who recited the blessing with fewer than ten people in attendance should repeat the blessing again in the presence of ten people, without mentioning G-d's name or His sovereignty over the world (Shulchon Oruch, Orach Chayim 219:3; Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Piskei Siddur; see also Mishnoh B'rurah 219, Bi'ur Halacha.)}

** {Both Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Piskei Siddur) and the Mishnoh B'rurah 219:6 allow the person reciting the blessing to be included in this number.}

It is customary to recite this blessing when one receives an aliyah for the Torah reading, after reciting the blessing following the reading. At the outset, a person should not delay the recitation of this blessing more than three days after the event for which he expresses his thanks.

Thus, a person who was saved from peril on Monday should recite the blessing immediately, without a Torah scroll, rather than wait until Thursday. Similarly, a mourner, who is forbidden to receive an aliyah to the Torah, should recite the blessing immediately, without delay. Nevertheless, he should recite the blessing while standing, with ten people in attendance. After the fact, if one delayed more than three days, one may recite the blessing afterwards.

3. A person to whom miracle occurred should set aside a donation to charity appropriate to his financial status, and divide it among Torah scholars. He should say: Behold, I am giving these funds to charity. May it be Your will that it be considered as if I brought a thanksgiving offering.

It is proper and appropriate to [use this donation] to correct a matter of benefit to the local community. Each year, on the day of the miracle, he should meditate in solitude and give thanks to G-d, blessed be His name. He should rejoice and tell of the miracle.

   Birkas Hagomel and Other Blessings
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.



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