Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Birchos HaShachar out of order

There are two major machlokos of Acharonim brought down in O.Ch. siman 46 regarding one who inverts the order of the birchos ha-shachar.

The first, brought down by the Mishnah Brurah (p.16), is regarding the brachos of she-lo asani aku"m, she-lo asani aved, and she-lo asani ishah. The Magen Avraham, N'siv Chayim, and Chayei Adam say that because the three brachos follow an upward procession, that an ishah is superior to an eved, who in turn is superior to an aku"m/goi (the M.B. uses both terms), if a person says she-lo asani eved or ishah prior to saying she-lo asani goi, he has already by implication given hoda'ah for not being made a goi, and therefore can no longer say this bracha. However, the Maharshal, Bach, P'ri M'gadim, Taz, and R' Akiva Eiger all argue, and say that one may still say the omitted bracha.

The second machlokes is found in se'if 5, in which the Mechaber, quoting the Siddur of R' Amram Gaon, says that if he said zokeif k'fufim prior to saying mattir asurim, he may not go back and say the latter bracha, and many acharonim, including the Taz and the P'ri M'gadim pasken this way (The Mishnah Brurah notes that some argue, but the Sha'ar HaTziyyun doesn't say who they are).

At first glance, the Taz and the P'ri M'gadim seem to contradict himself, as the two cases seem to be analogous, yet they paskens one way by the former and the other way by the latter. However, the Taz says that the difference between the two brachos is that, while zokeif k'fufim entirely includes matir asurim and eliminates any need for it, the same cannot be said for shelo asani ishah and the two brachos that precede it, as a woman has a gri'usa with respect to the other two categories in that she has no possibility whatsoever of ever being able to become a Jewish man, while a nochri has the option to and an eved, at the very least, has the possibility to, if his master frees him (it is because of this latter difference, by the way, that everyone agrees that a geir can say the bracha of eved (in addition to ishah), because despite his overall gri'usa, he still has the ma'alyusa of his choice to become a full Jew not being in the hands of someone else).



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