From the Rav’s Desk: Birchas Ilanos in Iyar

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 1st Iyar, 5781]

I did not have an opportunity to recite Birchas Ilanos during the month of Nisan and today plan on being in an area where I will see fruit trees. Can I still say the blessing?


While this matter is under debate and some are accustomed to being lenient to recite the blessing even during the month of Iyar, practically one is to be stringent not to recite it.

Explanation: The Talmud and Poskim mention the month of Nissan in their discussion of this law of reciting a blessing upon seeing the blossom, thereby raising the question as to whether the month of Nissan is intentionally mentioned to exclude any other month, seemingly due to the fact that this is the main first month of the blossom, or if it is not exclusive and in truth the blessing may be recited whenever he sees a blossoming tree that year irrelevant of the month. Practically, the Poskim debate this matter, with some permitting the blessing to be said past the month of Nissan and others prohibiting it due to the above reason, as well as based on the teachings of Kabbalah which state that the whole purpose of the blessing is to elevate the reincarnate souls found in the fruit trees specifically during the month of Nisan. Practically, the Rebbe learns the opinion of Admur to be exclusive only to the month of Nissan, and therefore certainly Chabad Chassidim should not say the blessing past Nissan, and even regarding everyone else it is best for it not to be said past Nissan based on the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel.

Sources: For a thorough discussion on this matter see Ketzos Hashulchan 66:18; Sdei Chemed Mareches Brachos 2:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 126:1; The following opinions rule it may be said: Ritva Rosh Hashanah 11b; Chayeh Adam 63:2; Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair; Shulchan Hatahor 226:1; Kitzur SHU”A 60:1; Machatzis Hashekel 226; Mishneh Berurah 226:1; Birchas Habayis 29:14; Heishiv Moshe 8; Olas Shmuel [brought in Pesach Hadvir 2:226 that even according to Kabala this applies]; Sdei Chemed ibid in name of many Achronim; So is implied from the Peri Megadim 226 M”Z 1 that deals with the question of why we do not say the blessing every thirty days. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]; Minchas Yitzchak 10:16; The Sdei Chemed ibid rules that it may be said throughout the entire Tekufa of Nissan. The Chasam Sofer writes it may be said until Nissan of Tekufas Hachama. [Nitei Gavriel Pesach Vol. 1] The following opinions ruling it may not be said: Moreh Baetzbah 198 and Birkeiy Yosef 226:2 [in name of Mekubalim however in Moreh Baetzbah he implies that Bedieved it may be said afterwards]; Halachos Ketanos 2:28; Moed Lekol Chaiy 1:9; Pesach Hadvir 2:226 [according to Kabala]; Zechor Leavraham 3 Mareches Beis 26; Kaf Hachaim 226:1; opinions in Sdei Chemed Mareches Brachos 2:1; Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 23:365 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:350; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 1:220]; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 226; Nitei Gavriel Pesach 1; Opinion of Admur: The Ketzos Hashulchan 66 footnote 18 writes that is implied from Admur in the Luach 12:23 that the blessing may be said in Iyar. This is implied from the ruling of Admur that after 30 days from saying the blessing the first time [in Nissan], the blessing should be recited without Shem Umalchus. Now, thirty days since the first recital in Nissan lands within the month of Iyar, and we see that Admur nevertheless learns that it is still applicable to the blessing. However, the Rebbe in Igros Kodesh ibid writes that from the Seder Birchas Hanehnin 13:14 one can derive the opposite law, that one may only say the blessing in Nissan. This can also be supported from fact Admur in the Seder does not explain that the word Nissan is not exact. It is also deduced from the fact that he omitted the law of “if one may say the blessing again after thirty days,” which is written in the Luach. This omission is seemingly because in the Seder, Admur rules one may only say the blessing in Nissan, and hence saying it again thirty days later is irrelevant. [However, alternatively one can explain the omission of this Halacha due to that in the Seder Admur rules that the blessing may only be said once, thus, once it was said in Nissan, the question of repeating it thirty days later is irrelevant.] However, in the Rebbe’s opinion of the Alter Rebbe, the blessing may not be said in any month other than Nissan, as the fact that Admur wrote specifically the word Nissan shows that it is exclusive to this month.

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