Saturday, August 4, 2018

One Bracha For All Or Everybody For Themselves?

לזכות הצלחת הרב פינחס אלימלך בן ביילא פריידיל וכל משפחתו

There is a topic that has been occupying my mind recently. Sometimes, one person makes a bracha and everybody else is yotzei. Like - Kiddush and hamotzi [at least on Shabbos]. At other times, everybody makes their own bracha - like for example when we sit down to have a regular weekday meal, each of us will make his or her own bracha rishona and achrona. So what are the rules - when is one motzi the others and when do we advise that everybody should go solo?

Fortunately, I am NOT the first to ponder this topic and there is ample material..... Let's see: 

The Shulchan Aruch [8-5] implies that if two or three people are all putting on their tallis, ideally each should make his own bracha [although one may make the bracha for the other(s)]. The Gra argues that this is not so but that ideally one should make the bracha for the other(s). So here we have a dispute about our very question in the bracha of tallis!:-) The Gra goes further and extends this rule to all brachos such as hamotzi and bentching. He references a gemara to prove his point.

The gemara [brachos 53 according to Beis Hillel] says that when they bring a fire to make a בורא מאורי האש, one should make the bracha for the others as a fulfillment of the pasuk ברוב עם הדרת מלך - The King goes with the many. The Gra also quotes a Tosefta that says that if 10 people are doing ten different mitzvos, they should make 10 separate brachos [that seems self-evident? E.E.] but if they are doing ONE mitzvah, then one should make a bracha for everyone else.

The Rosh says in Pesachim that when numerous people search a house for chametz, one makes the bracha for the others and then they scatter throughout the house to search.

The Gra also quotes the mishna in the 6th perek of brachos [42 a-b] that when people sit down together to eat, one should make the bracha for the others. And one should bentch on behalf of the others as well. [A great mareh makom for a DELICIOUS Sunday experience שיעורים לזכר אבי מרי ח"א in the chapter on zimmun. Sweet]. The Shulchan Aruch [167-11] rules in accordance with this mishna  - so how does that square with his ruling about Tzitzis where he prefers that everybody make hiss own bracha??

The Shulchan Aruch [Yoreh Deya 265-5] also says that if there are two mohalim circumcising two babies, one should make the bracha for the other. The Gra [אופ'ן ארט] cites the aforementioned Tosefta. Again - how does that shtim with his ruling regarding Tzitzis??

Things are HEATING UP!!!

Any ideas????