From the Rav’s Desk: Is shushing someone up a Hefsek in middle of a blessing?

  1. Question: [Thursday 14th Kisleiv 5782]

I was in middle of saying a blessing of Hamotzi by the Shabbos table when one of my small children started talking in middle, and I shushed him up to be quiet. I didn’t actually say any words but simply said to him “Shah.” Is this consider that I made an interval during the blessing and I need to restart the blessing again from the beginning or not?



Initially, one should definitely avoid saying “shah” during the blessing, and if one did so, I question whether the blessing remains valid. Thus, if you have not yet said the name of Hashem in the blessing, and said “Shah” between the word Baruch and Ata, or Atah and Hashem, then simply restart the blessing. If, however, you said “Shah” after you already said Hashem’s name in the blessing, then you should finish the blessing, and do its action and then try to rehear the blessing from someone else, or if you are by a meal of Hamotzi, to say the blessing of Shehakol on a piece of candy or sugar and have in mind all the food in the meal. This especially applies if you actually said the word Shah, or Shush, and did not suffice simply with a soundbite of “sh-sh”


One who speaks in middle of a short blessing, such as the blessing over food, is required to repeat the blessing due to that he has made a Hefsek. Now, the question is whether this applies even if one talked of a matter that relates to the meal, and if it applies in the case that one did not say an actual word but simply made a motion with his voice, as in the case above. So, the Poskim rule that although if one spoke between a blessing and its mitzvah that he does not have to repeat the blessing if his speech was related to the mitzvah, nonetheless, if one spoke in middle of the blessing prior to concluding it, then even if he spoke of matters that relate to the blessing or mitzvah, the blessing is invalid and must be repeated [with exception to if one answered Amen or Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo, in which case the matter is under doubt]. The reason for this is because by a short blessing all the words must be connected to each other, and sound like a single sentence. When one speaks in the middle, it invalidates the sentence irrelevant to what matter of speech was discussed. Likewise, it changes from the Nussach that the sages established and at times creates an interval between Hashem and Malchus, if he spoke in between those areas. Now, the question is regarding shushing someone up, and if saying the word “Shah” is considered a word and interval. Practically, while it perhaps may not be considered a word, it is certainly a form of communication and therefore initially should not be done during the blessing, and it is better for the person to be quiet until the noise stops rather than make the shush sound. If, however, this was already done then there is room for argument that it does not serve as an interval between the various words of the sentence, as people do not view it as an added word within the verse. On the other hand, one can argue that any extra soundbite that has a meaning in communication is considered an interval and therefore can possibly even Bedieved invalidate the blessing. One can also argue that there is a difference between simply grunting the sound of Shah, by saying “Shi” versus if one actually says the word “Shah”, or “shush.” Bottom line, I do not have a set conclusion on this question, and therefore it is extremely important to avoid in order so it does not enter into a Safek Bracha Levatala.

Sources: See regarding one who spoke in middle of a blessing: Admur 124:2 regarding Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo due to that it is making an interval between Shem Umalchus, and is changing from the Nussach of Chachamim; 167:9 and 432:6 regarding if spoke between blessing and Mitzvah; Chayeh Adam 5:13 regarding if spoke anywhere in the middle of a short blessing that he must repeat the blessing according to all, even if he spoke of matters relating to the meal, being that the beginning and end of the blessing do not connect different spoken between; Birchas Habayis 1:13; Ketzos Hashulchan 5:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 167:9; See regarding shushing someone with one’s mouth during Shemoneh Esrei and if it is considered an interval: Birkeiy Yosef 104:1 and Machazik Bracha 104:4 that it is forbidden to be done in Shemoneh Esrei, unless it is a time of great need; Shaareiy Teshuvah 104:4; Beir Moshe 3:12 that grunting and shushing is not an interval; Piskeiy Teshuvos 104:3; story in Rosh Hashanah 34b from where we see that one may grunt during Shemoneh Esrei

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