What is one to do if he is unsure whether he recited Birchas Hatorah?

* This article is an excerpt from the above book

What is one to do if he is unsure whether he recited Birchas Hatorah?[1]

On occasion, it happens that upon saying Birchas HaShachar in a rather accelerated manner or with our mind on other matters, we do not remember if we actually said Birchas Hatorah. This enters one into the question as to whether he is to recite Birchas Hatorah in order to remove himself from the doubt, or whether we apply here the general rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel, and hence one perhaps will end up going the entire day without having said the blessing, and have his Torah learning that he does that day not be covered by the blessing over Torah learning. The key to answering this question begins with analyzing whether Birchas Hatorah is a Biblical or Rabbinical obligation. We will then review alternatives available to escape the question and still have ones Torah learning be included in Birchas Hatorah even if in truth one skipped it and did not recite it.


  1. Background-Is Birchas Hatorah of Biblical or Rabbinical origin?[2]

The Gemara[3] asks: From where do we learn that Birchas Hatorah is Biblical? As the verse[4] states “Ki Sheim Hashem Ekra Havu Godel Lelokeinu /As I will call the name of Hashem, bring greatness to our G-d.” Many Poskim[5] learn from this Gemara that Birchas Hatorah is a Biblical command. Other Poskim[6], however, learn it is of Rabbinical origin and the above statement of the Gemara is merely to find support of the Rabbinical decree within scripture [i.e. Asmachta]. According to all, women are not Biblically obligated to recite Birchas Hatorah even according to those opinions who hold Birchas Hatorah is Biblical.[7]


  1. The law:[8]

Some Poskim[9] rule that in any case that one is in doubt as to whether he recited Birchas Hatorah, then one is to recite the blessings of Birchas Hatorah in order to escape the doubt.[10] Other Poskim[11], however, rule that in any case of doubt we follow the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel which is applicable to all blessings, and hence Birchas Hatorah is not to be recited. Practically one is not to repeat the blessing.[12] If one did not yet Daven he should have in mind to fulfill his obligation in Davening.[13] In such a case it is permitted for him to learn Torah prior to Davening.[14] Alternatively, one should hear the blessing from someone else.[15] Alternatively, one is to receive an Aliya to the Torah.[16] This law applies whether one is in doubt as to if he said any of the three blessings or only one of the three blessings; in either case he is not to repeat any blessing of which there is a doubt.[17] According to all, women are not to recite Birchas Hatorah if they are in doubt if they said it.[18]




One who is in doubt as to whether he recited Birchas Hatorah, is not to repeat the blessing, and is rather to either:

1.       Have in mind to fulfill his obligation within the blessing of Ahavas Olam and recital of Shema which is said in the morning prayer.

2.       Hear the blessing from an individual who has yet to say it, and have in mind to fulfill his obligation with his blessing.

3.       Receive an Aliya to the Torah.



[1] See Kaf Hachaim 47:2; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Birchas Hatorah Vol. 4 pp. 615-616

[2] See Beir Heiytiv 47:1; Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1; Kaf Hachaim 47:2; M”B 47:1

[3] Brachos 21a; The Gemara ibid deals with the Biblical source for the blessings of Birchas Hamazon and Birchas Hatorah, the only two blessings which we find to have Biblical origin. One of the Amoraim goes as far to compare the two blessings to each other to teach that just like Birchas Hatorah is said before the learning so too one must say a blessing prior to eating, and just like a blessing is said after eating, so too a blessing must be recited after learning Torah. The Gemara negates this conclusion stating one cannot compare the two obligations, although nonetheless one can see from this Gemara the comparison of Birchas Hatorah to that of Birchas Hamazon which is of Biblical status.

[4] Haazinu 32:3 “Ki Sheim Hashem Ekra Havu Godel Lelokeinu”

[5] Ramban Mitzvah 15 [lists it as one of the 613 Mitzvos]; Rashba Brachos 48b; Meiri 21a; Chinuch 430; Peri Chadash 47:1; Yad Aaron; Shaagas Aryeh 24; Mor Uketzia; Zekan Aaron 60; Admur 47:1, as understands Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 148 footnote 9

Opinion of Admur: The Rebbe learns that seemingly Admur in Shulchan Aruch also holds that it is Biblical, as Admur 47:1 records the Gemara that states the reason there was destruction in the world is because they did not recite Birchas Hatorah, and the Poskim rule that it is implied from this Gemara that the blessing is Biblical. [See Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 148 footnote 9]

How many of the three blessing is Biblical according to this opinion? Even according to the above opinion, once one has said one of the three blessings over Torah he has fulfilled his Biblical obligation. [Peri Chadash ibid; Shaagas Aryeh ibid]

[6] Yerushalmi Brachos 7:1; Tzlach Brachos ibid; Rambam, as explained in Shaagas Aryeh 24 and Maharap on Yerushalmi ibid and Pnei Moshe 1:1; Pnei Moshe 1:1 in opinion of Rambam, Tur, Rif and Rosh; Mamar Mordechai 47:1; Levush 47:1; Olas Tamid 47:9;  Poskim mentioned in Kaf Hachaim 47:2; All the Poskim listed in the next Q&A which do not permit the blessing to be repeated.

[7] Birkeiy Yosef 47:7 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1

[8] See Beir Heiytiv 47:1; Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1; Kaf Hachaim 47:2; M”B 47:1; This question is dependent on whether one views Birchas Hatorah as Biblical or Rabbinical.

[9] Peri Chadash 47:1; Shaagas Aryeh 25 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1; Derech Chaim 4:6

Which blessing is one to repeat? One is to repeat only the blessing of “Asher Bachar Banu”. [Shaagas Aryeh ibid; Derech Chaim ibid; M”B ibid] However the Peri Chadash ibid rules one is to say all three blessings, just as we rule regarding one who is in doubt if he recited Shema and Birchas Shema, that he is to repeat all the blessings, even the Rabbinical blessings.

[10] The reason: As according to these opinions Birchas Hatorah is Biblical and hence is repeated in a case of doubt, as rules Michaber in 209:3 regarding Birchas Hamazon.

[11] Mateh Yehuda 1; Machazik Bracha 47:1-2 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1; Kesher Gudal 5:25; Beis Oveid 22; Nesiv Hachaim 4:6; Ksav Sofer 20; Shulchan Hatahor 47:3; Tehila Ledavid 47:1; Birchas Habayis 34:15; Kisei Eliyahu 47:1; Yifei Laleiv 47:1

Ruling of Michaber: In 209:3 the Michaber rules that if one is in doubt if he recited one of the blessings, then he may not recite that blessing with exception to Birchas Hamazon being that it is a Biblical command. This implies that Birchas Hatorah is Rabbinical and is not to be said in a case of doubt. [Kaf Hachaim 47:2]

Ruling of Admur: See Admur 47:6 who rules in the case of dispute of whether one may say Birchas Hatorah if he already Davened, that one may not repeat the blessing. However see 47:7 that if one did not sleep at night he is to say the blessing even though there is doubt. See Likkutei Sichos 14 p. 148 footnote 9 that possibly according to Admur it is a Biblical obligation.

[12] M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 47:2

[13] Mamar Mordechai 47:1; M”B ibid; See Admur 47:6; Michaber 47:7-8; Tur 47:6; Brachos 11b; Kaf Hachaim 47:14-18; Piskeiy Teshuvos 47:10

[14] Minchas Shlomo 1:91-1; Halichos Shlomo 6:6

[15] Kaf Hachaim ibid; M”B ibid

[16] Aruch Hashulchan 47:6; See Michaber 139:9; M”A 139:12; Ketzos Hashulchan 5:9

[17] Kaf Hachaim ibid; If one knows for certain that he said one of the blessings and is in doubt regarding the other blessings, some write that according to all he has already fulfilled his Biblical obligation and is hence not to repeat the blessing. [See Shaagas Aryeh 25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 47:2]

[18] Birkeiy Yosef 47:7 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 47:1

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