Does one answer Amen after hearing someone recite the blessing of “Al Divrei Torah” by Birchas Hatorah?
A. The Background & Dispute-Is Viharev Nah considered a separate blessing?
There is a dispute recorded in the Poskim regarding if the second blessing of Viharev Na is considered a continuation of the first blessing of “Al Divreiy Torah”, or if it is considered a separate blessing. Accordingly, there is a dispute regarding if there is a total of three blessings in Birchas Hatorah or if it contains only two blessings. The following is the debate:
Opinion who hold that it is considered a single blessing: Some Poskim rule that there are only two blessings in Birchas Hatorah, as the blessing of Viharev Na’ah is not considered a separate blessing but rather is the conclusion of the previous blessing of “Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Al Divrei Torah.” Hence, according to this opinion, the blessing of “Al Divrei Torah” is a long blessing which begins with a blessing of Baruch and ends with the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Hamelameid.”
Opinion who holds that it is considered a separate blessing: Other Poskim, however, rule that there are a total of three blessings in Birchas Hatorah as the blessing of Viharev Na’ah is considered a separate blessing.
This dispute has the following Halachic ramifications:
- Is a listener to answer Amen after the first blessing? According to the first opinion, one may not answer amen after the words “Al Divrei Torah” and must wait to answer Amen until the conclusion of the blessing of Viharev Nah. However, according to the second opinion, one must answer Amen after the words “Al Divrei Torah.”
- May one make an interval between the two blessings? According to the first opinion, one may not make an interval even to answer Amen to another person’s blessing after the words “Al Divrei Torah” and must wait until the conclusion of the blessing of Viharev Nah. However, according to the second opinion, one may answer Amen to another person’s blessing after the words “Al Divrei Torah,” prior to beginning Viharev Na’ah.
- Is the second blessing of Viharev to begin with a “Vav”? According to the first opinion, one is to say Viharev Nah, with a preceding Vav in order to show that it is connected and a continuation of the first blessing. According to the second opinion, there is no need to say it with a Vav, and hence one is to say Harev Nah, being that it is considered a separate blessing although if one chooses to he may. Based on this opinion, the custom has become to say Harev without a Vav. Nonetheless, it is better to say it with a Vav being that doing so is valid even according to the second opinion . [Indeed, in the Siddur Admur writes the word Viharev with a Vav thus following his above conclusion.]
B. The final ruling:
Many Poskim conclude, and so is the implication of Admur, that we rule like the second opinion above that Viharev Nah is considered a separate blessing, and hence one who hears another person reciting Birchas Hatorah is to answer Amen after each of the three blessings, including after the first blessing of Al Divreiy Torah, prior to Veharev Nah. [However, some Poskim rule that due to the above dispute, the blessing of Al Divreiy Torah is to be said quietly, without allowing others to hear it, in order to avoid the controversy of whether Amen is to be answered. Practically, those who follow Admur do not have to worry of this issue, and so is the ruling of the Sephardim and Mekubalim. However, even according to Admur, in order to avoid causing others to being Yotzei his blessing, one should not say all the words out loud.]
One who hears the blessing of Al Divrei Torah is to answer Amen after the blessing.
May one speak or make an interval between the blessings of Al Divrei Torah and Viharev Nah?
One may answer Amen between these blessings. However one may not make an interval for other matters being that initially one is to learn Torah immediately after the blessings, without making an interval in-between, as will be explained in Halacha 5.
 Admur 47:5
 1st opinion in Admur ibid; Tur 47:6; Rabbeinu Tam Brachos 46a and Pesachim 104b and Kesubos 8a; Rosh Brachos 13
 The reason: Those who say that the blessing of Viharev Na is a continuation from the previous blessing prove this from the fact that it does not begin with a blessing. If indeed the first blessing of “Al Divrei Torah” were its own short blessing and the blessing of Viharev were to be considered a separate blessing then the blessing of Viharev should have began with its own blessing of Baruch. Now, although every blessing which is said in close proximity to a previous blessing does not begin with a blessing, this only applies when a long blessing is said beforehand. However, if a short, one sentence blessing is recited, then the next blessing must begin with a Baruch. So we see by Havdala that the blessing of Hamavdil starts with Baruch despite the fact that it follows the short blessing of Haeish and Besamim, being that these are short blessings. [Thus, the fact that the blessing of Viharev does not begin with a Baruch proves that Viharev must be a continuation of the previous blessing of Al Divreiy Torah.] [Admur ibid; Rabbeinu Yona Bracvhos 11a; Rosh ibid]
 2nd opinion Admur ibid; Opinion in Rama 47:6; Rambam Tefila 7:10; Razah in Hamaor, brought in Rashba; Arizal in Sefer Hakavanos and Shaar Hakavanos; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 7; Matzas Shmurim; Nagid Umitzvah p. 11; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Chatzos; Beir Heiytiv 47:6
 The reason: This opinion argues that in truth Harev is a separate blessing, [and in truth the first blessing of Al Divreiy Torah suffices in place of it needing to begin with a blessing, even though it is a short blessing. Now although by Havdala the blessing of Hamavdil begins with Baruch despite it being said after the blessing of Haeish/Besamim], this is because Havdala can be performed without Besamim or fire as if one chooses, he may say the blessing over the flame and spices on their own and afterward say Havdalah over a couple wine without a flame or spices. Hence the blessing of Hvdalah is not always recited in proximity to the blessings of Haeish/Besamim and therefore is required to begin with a Baruch despite it usually being in close proximity to the blessings over fire and spices. It is likewise for this reason that the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu begins with Baruch, being that by Kerias Hatorah it is not preceded by another blessing but rather said individually. [Admur ibid; In essence the dispute is if a Beracho Hasmucha Lichaverta, which does not need to begin with a blessing, applies even if the previous blessing is a short blessing, or does it only apply if the blessing which precedes it is a long blessing.]
 See Kaf Hachaim 47:13
 Mateh Yehuda 47:7; P”M 47 M”Z 4; Derech Hachaim 1; M”B 47:12 writes that majority of Achronim rule one is not to answer Amen.
 Admur ibid in opinion of Mekubalim; Taz 47:4; M”A 47:1; Arizal in Sefer Hakavanos and Shaar Hakavanos; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 7; Matzas Shmurim; Nagid Umitzvah p. 11; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches ChatzosBeir Heiytiv 47:6
 1st opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber 47:6; Rabbeinu Tam Brachos 46a and Pesachim 104b and Kesubos 8a; Rosh Brachos 13
 2nd opinion Admur ibid; Opinion in Rama 47:6
 Admur ibid; Rama ibid
 Admur ibid; Rama ibid
The reason: As even according to the latter opinion who views it as a separate blessing there is nothing to lose in saying it with the extra Vav, while according to the former opinion who holds that it is considered a single blessing with the previous blessing, if one says it without a Vav then it is considered that he has made an interval in middle of the blessing. [Admur ibid; M”A 47:5; Taz 47:5; Beis Yosef 47] Furthermore, according to the Kaballists, it is considered a separate blessing and one is to answer Amen after the blessing and nonetheless one is to say it with a Vav. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Arizal in Sefer Hakavanos and Shaar Hakavanos; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 7; Matzas Shmurim; Nagid Umitzvah p. 11; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches ChatzosBeir Heiytiv 47:6; Beir Heiytiv 47:6]
 2nd opinion in Admur 47:5 and Rama 47:6; Conclusion of Admur and Rama ibid that so is the accepted custom to recite Harev without a Vav; Conclusion of Admur ibid that so is the ruling of the Mekubalim, that the first blessing is considered to be a separate blessing from Viharev Nah and to answer Amen in between; Arizal in Sefer Hakavanos and Shaar Hakavanos; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Habrachos 7; Matzas Shmurim; Nagid Umitzvah p. 11; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Chatzos; M”A 47:1; Taz 47:4; Beir Heiytiv 47:6; Eshkol; Rokeiach; Meiri; Abudarham; Mamar Mordechai 47:5; Kesher Gudal 5:28; Shalmei Tizbur; Siddur Beis Oveid; Siddur Yaavetz; Chesed Lealafim 47:3; Kaf Hachaim Falagi 9:12; Shulchan Hatahor 47:1; Rav Akiva Eiger; Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:6; Daas Torah 47:6; Aruch Hashulchan 47:13; Rav Poalim 3:3; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 12; Kaf Hachaim 47:13; Ketzos Hashulchan 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 47:9 in name of many Achronim; Siddur of Rav Raskin footnote 136
Other opinions: See Background for the dissenting opinion who does not consider Viharev Nah a blessing of its own and hence in their opinion one is not to answer Amen until the conclusion of Viharev Nah. Some Poskim conclude like this opinion that one should not answer Amen. [Mateh Yehuda 47:7; P”M 47 M”Z 4; Derech Hachaim 1; M”B 47:12 writes that majority of Achronim rule one is not to answer Amen.]
 Background of the final ruling of Admur: Admur ibid concludes that the custom is to recite Harev without a Vav [like the second opinion] and that according to Kabala it is considered a separate blessing. The Ketzos Hashulchan 5:7 rules based on this conclusion of Admur that it is considered a separate blessing. To note that in 46:1 Admur lists three blessings for Birchas Hatorah in the list he gives for the accumulation of 100 daily blessings, hence again proving his final position to be like that of his second opinion, the custom, and the Mekubalim.
 M”B 47:12
 Heard from Rav Yehuda Leib and Eliyahu Landa Shlita; The Rebbe by Farbrengens was not heard to say blessings aloud, allowing the public to answer Amen; See also Smeh and Shach ibid that only by Milah is it an actual obligation
The reason: As Admur 213:4 rules that one who hears a blessing according to some opinions is Yotzei even if he did not have intent to be Yotzei, and hence, in order to prevent others from entering into this doubt, we therefore recite the blessings silently. [Rav Landa Shlita] According to this reason however, it suffices to simply say the first words quietly [see Admur 215:2] and then say the remainder aloud, hence benefiting from all sides.
 Ketzos Hashulchan 5:8; Shulchan Hatahor 47:1 in name of Arizal; Daas Torah 47:6; However see Tehila Ledavid 47:4 which leaves this matter in question being one is required to learn Torah immediately after the blessing, according to some opinions.
 See Tehila Ledavid ibid