Halachically Speaking – Brachah on Trees

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Halachically[Written by Rabbi Moishe Lebovits – KOF-K Kosher Supervision]

Halachically Speaking Volume 5 now available at your local  seforim store or at israelbookshoppublications.com

The Gemorah in Berochos[1] states, “when the month of Nissin is upon us, one goes out to recite a beracha on a tree that is starting to bud.[2]” The Shita Mekubetzes says this beracha was instituted because it expresses Hashem’s continuous renewal of creation.[3] The Aruch Ha’shulcan[4] says that although some do not recite this beracha, a G-d fearing person should.

The Obligation

Both men and women are obligated in this beracha. This beracha is not considered a mitzvahs asei sh’zman gerama, since it is not dependent on the month of Nissin alone, but when the tree begins to bud, therefore, women are obligated in this beracha as well.[5] Some say that women do not have an obligation to actually go out and find a tree, but if they happen to pass one, a beracha should be recited.[6]

When Is The Beracha Recited

Many poskim maintain that the beracha may only be recited during the month of Nissin,[7] in fact many are careful to recite the beracha on Rosh Chodesh Nissin.[8] Others say that based on kabbalistic reasoning, the beracha should only be recited during the month of Nissin.[9] Nonetheless, most poksim maintain that it may be recited in the month of Iyar as well.[10] Some say if one sees the tree budding in Adar it is permissible to recite the beracha at that time.[11]  If one already recited the birchas ha’illanos in Nissin etc., and then traveled to a different part of the country at a time when the trees begin to bud, no beracha is recited.[12]

At Night

It is permissible to recite the beracha at night as long as one can see the budding on the tree.[13] However, if there is not enough street light then the beracha may not be recited. If one is traveling in a car, etc. and sees the budding through the car window,  a beracha may be recited.[14]

On Shabbos

Some poskim maintains that one is not allowed to recite this beracha on Shabbos.[15] Some say one might come to pull off a bud of the tree, [16] while others say that one might carry a siddur.[17] Nonetheless, virtually all of the poskim maintain that this beracha may be recited on Shabbos and the two previously mentioned concerns are not applicable.[18]

The Number Of Trees

Many poskim maintain that one should recite the beracha on two or more trees,[19] however, other poskim maintain that the beracha may be recited on one tree.[20] This seems to be the custom today, since we do not reside in neighborhoods where a lot of fruit-trees grow in one area.[21]

In A Field Or In The City

Based on a reading of the Rambam some poskim are of the opinion that initially one should recite the beracha in a field outside of the city.[22] However, if this is difficult, then the beracha may be recited in the city itself.[23] Today, the custom is to recite the beracha on a tree that is in the city, since we do not live in an area that has many trees, and there is no obligation to go to a farm.[24]

The Beracha

The Kaf Ha’chaim[25] quotes a leshem yichud to be recited before saying the beracha on the tree. Some pertinent halachos are; one does not have to hold the blossom in his hand,[26] the beracha should be recited loudly, [27] the beracha is Boruch Ata Hashem etc…. Some say bolamo daver,[28] while others do not say this.[29] There is no need for one to remove his glasses in order to recite the beracha when seeing the blossom.[30] The nusach is l’hunos[31] although the Gemorah[32] has a different nusach. If someone tells you that there is a tree located in a certain place, until you actually see it, no beracha is said.[33]

How Many People

Some poskim maintain that the beracha should be recited with a minyan of people,[34] however, the custom is that one may recite the beracha by himself.[35]

If one Did Not Recite The Beracha The First Time

Many poskim say if one passes a tree that is blossoming, and does not recite the beracha, he may recite it at a second sighting.[36] While other poskim argue with this, and maintain that if no beracha was recited the first time, then the opportunity to make a beracha the second time was lost.[37]

What Type Of Tree

The beracha may be recited only on a fruit tree. One may not recite the beracha on a tree that does not produce fruit.[38] If a person unknowingly recited a beracha on a non-bearing fruit tree, he does not have to recite another beracha on a fruit tree.[39] One may not recite a beracha on branches of a tree that may contain a blossom.[40]

Leaves/Fruits Of The Tree

One may not recite a beracha on a tree that only has leaves,[41] and one may not recite a beracha on a tree whose fruits are ripe.[42]

A Grafted Tree

A beracha may not be recited on a tree that has been grafted with another type of tree.[43] Grafting takes place on many trees, and one should note that none of the Birchas Ha’illanos trees is a problem because of grafting. Many people think that a nectarine is grafted in a non-permitted way; however, this is not the case, therefore, birchas ha’illanos may be recited on a nectarine tree.

On An Orlah Tree

Some say that a beracha may not be recited on a tree during its first three years, which is commonly known as orlah.[44] In Chutz L’uretz, where orlah is d’rabbanan, some say one may recite a beracha on an orlah tree.[45]

 


[1] 43b, see Gemorah Rosh Hashana 11a, Rosh Berochos 6:37, Karbon Nesanel 119, Rambam Hilchos Berochos 10:13, Tur 226, Shulchan Aruch 226:1. Refer to Eishel Avraham Butchatch who says that many do not recite this beracha because they do not know they are supposed to.

[2] No beracha is recited on plants Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 1, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 59.

[3] Page 31. Refer to Ritva, Pri Megadim 226:M.Z. 1, Aruch Ha’shulchan 1.

[4] 226:2.

[5] Har Tzvi O.C. 1:118, Yayin Hatov 1:45, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:5, Rivevos Ephraim 6:106, 6:458:2, Ohelecha Bamisecha 17:15, Asei Lechu Rav 6:page 328:17, Yalkut Yosef 5:page 345, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 10:footnote 4, Halichos Beisa 13:23:footnote 50, Sharei Ha’beracha footnote 62, Eluney D’Chai pages 84-85, Ohr L’tzyion 3:6:1, Haggadah Shel Pesach Horav Elyashiv Shlita page 9. Refer to Mishpatei Uziel 1:6, Minchas Yitzchok 10:16, Piskei Teshuvos 226:footnote 18. Women should be careful when reciting this beracha not to recite it in a place where there are men present if it might come to a breach of tznius. (Eluney D’Chai 11:1).

[6] Eluney D’Chai 11:1. Refer to ibid pages 84-88.

[7] Halachas Ketanos 2:28, Birchei Yosef 226:2, Yalkut Yosef 5:page 346, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 60, Doleh U’mashka page 131, Eluney D’Chai pages 29-32. This is the custom in Eretz Yisroel (Hilchos Chag B’Chag Pesach page 16).

[8] Ohr L’tzyion 3:6:footnote 1, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 60, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 224:26, see Yad Yitzchok 1:198:page 95.

[9] Birchei Yosef 226:2, Moreh B’etzbah page 53:198, Moed Lechul Chai 1:8, Hilchos Chag B’Chag Pesach page 16. The Kaf Ha’chaim 1, says this is the custom and if you do it after Nissin say it without the shem or malchus. Refer to Orchos Chaim Spinka 226:1, Ohr L’tzyion 3:6:2

[10] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Eishel Avraham Butchatch, Chai Adom 63:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:1, Sdei Chemed Berochos 2:1:page 263, Aruch Ha’shulchan 1, Lekutei Maharich page 266 (new), Shulchan Hatohar (Karmarna) 226:1, Yayin Hatov 45, Shearim Betzuyanim B’halacha 60:1, Betzel Hachuchma 6:36, Be’er Moshe 8:79, Yechaveh Da’as 1:1, Lehoros Noson 5:7, Rivevos Ephraim 5:73, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:3, Eluney D’Chai  pages 26-27, see Minchas Yitzchok 10:16, Yabea Omer 8:8:4.

[11] Be’er Heitiv 1, Machtzis Ha’shekel, Elya Rabbah 1, Mishnah Berurah 1, Kaf Ha’chaim 1, see Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:25:7.

[12] Ohelecha Bamisecha 17:4.

[13] Yayin Hatov 1:45, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:6, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 11:footnote 4, Eluney D’Chai 10:1:pages 80-81, see HarTzvi O.C. 1:118 who argues

[14] Eluney D’chai 13:1 page 100, see pages 102-105 in depth, Ohr L’tzyion 3:6:1, Chashukei Chemed Pesachim page 583. Refer to Lekutei Halachas 1:99, 1:274, Lev Chaim 3:15.

[15] Moed Lechol Chai 1:8:page 8, Kaf Ha’chaim 4, Shraga Hameir 6:127:1, Asei Lechu Rav 6:page 328:16, see Ohr L’tzyion 3:6:5:footnote 5.

[16] Moed Lechol Chai ibid, Kaf Ha’chaim ibid.

[17] Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:190.

[18] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Lev Chaim 2:44, Mishnas Yosef 61, Be’er Moshe 8:79, Betzel Hachuchma 6:32, Rivevos Ephraim 4:113:41, 5:73, 6:458:2, 7:119, 8:32, 8:75:2,  Yechaveh Da’as 1:2, Shraga Hameir 8:13:2, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla page 289:footnote 121, Veyalu Lo Yuvol 1:page 124:169, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:191, Yalkut Yosef 5:page 346, Vezos Ha’beracha page 157:3, Orchos Rabbeinu 3:page 224:26, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:20:5 footnote 12 in depth, Haggadah Shel Pesach Horav Elyashiv Shlita Page 9, see Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchoso 26:footnote 72, Eluney D’Chai pages 90-100 in depth. The Eluney D’Chai 12:1 says although it is permitted to recite the beracha on Shabbos the custom is not to do so. The Chashukei Chemed Pesachim page 582 says if you know the tree was planted on Shabbos no beracha is recited on that tree.

[19] Halachas Ketanos 2:28, Da’as Torah 226:1, Moed Lechol Chai 1:9, Moreh B’etzbah page 53:198, Kaf Ha’chaim 2, Orchos Chaim Spinka 226:1, Ketzos Ha’shulchan 66:badi 18, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 14, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:191, Chai Moshe 3:page 121, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 59, Natey Gavriel Pesach 1:6:11 (old), Yalkut Yosef 5:page 345:6, Haggadah Shel Pesach Horav Elyashiv Shlita page 9. H The custom in Yerushalyim is to recite the beracha on two trees (Rivevos Ephraim 8:77).

[20] Ketzos Ha’shulchan 66:badi 18, Betzel Hachuchma 6:36, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:7, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:191, Piskei Teshuvos 226:9, Chai Moshe ibid, Natei Gavriel ibid, Rivevos Ephraim 8:77. Some say one should initially try to find a place that has many trees (Eluney D’Chai 4:1).

[21] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Rivevos Ephraim 5:73 who quotes this being the custom of Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:191. Refer to Vezos Ha’beracha page 157:4.

[22] Rambam Hilchos Berochos 10:13, Shulchan Aruch 226:1, Moreh B’etzbah page 53:198, Kaf Ha’chaim 3, Orchos Chaim Spinka 226:1, Rav Poalim 3:9, Yalkut Yosef 5:page 345:3, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 12:footnote 5 in depth, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:191, see Rivevos Ephraim 6:222:1.

[23] Lev Chaim 2:45.

[24] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Betzel Hachuchma 6:36:9, Tzitz Eliezer 21:20:1-2, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 59, Piskei Teshuvos 226:footnote 7. The beracha may be recited on a goy’s tree as well it does not have to belong to a yid (Piskei Teshuvos 226:footnote 51). Some say if it will cause bittul torah one should recite the bracha in the city (Yalkut Yosef ibid, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 12:2). If there are not a lot of trees in the field outside the city then one may recite the beracha in the city even according to the poskim who maintain the beracha should be recited outside the city (Eluney D’Chai page 61:3).

[25] 226:8 he also say that one should give tzedaka prior to reciting the beracha in the honor of a deceased person (226:7).

[26] Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 61.

[27] Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 12:2.

[28] Refer to Eluney D’Chai page 103:7, Piskei Teshuvos 226:13. Many Siddurim say the word daver (Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 62).

[29] Minchas Yitzchok10:16 end of page 32.

[30] Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 29.

[31] Shulchan Aruch 226:1, Lekutei Maharich 3:page 266, Eluney D’Chai page 117:19 say this is the nusach in many Siddurim.

[32] Berochos 43b. Refer to Rambam, ibid, Tur ibid, Eluney D’Chai page 115:5.

[33] Shevet Ha’Levi 6:53:4.

[34] Moed Lechol Chai 1:6, Kaf Ha’chaim 226:7, Yechaveh Da’as 1:1, Eluney D’Chai page 38.

[35] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 24:6, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 62, this was the custom of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l quoted in Veyalu Lo Yuvol 1:page 124:169.

[36] Refer to Mordechai Berochos 148, Karbon Nesanel Berochos 6:119, Halachas Ketanos 2:28:page 24, Prisha 1, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 1, Machtzis Ha’shekel, Elya Rabbah 2, Chai Adom 63:2, Bais Hayotzer 13, Mamer Mordechai 226:1, Mishnah Berurah 4-5, Shar Ha’tzyion 1-2, Aruch Ha’shulchan 2, Be’er Moshe 2:10:page 58, Eluney D’Chai 2:2, Ohelecha Bamisecha 17:4, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 25:footnote 13, Betzel Hachuchma 5:27:3:page 36, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 23:31, Minchas Shlomo 1:page 437.

[37] Refer to Tur, Prisha 226:1, Shulchan Aruch 226:1, Machtzis Ha’shekel, Chai Adom 63:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:1, Ketzos Ha’shulchan 68:18, See Bach, Aruch Ha’shulchan 2, Mishpatei Uziel 1:6, Heishiv Moshe 8, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 68.

[38] Be’er Heitiv 1, Halachas Ketanos 2:28, Eishel Avraham Butchatch, Moed Lecho Chai 1:9, Chai Adom 63:2, Mishnah Berurah 2, Divrei Malkiel 3:2, Emes L’Yaakov 226, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:4, Ohelecha Bamisecha 17:2, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 13:3:footnote 8, see Ritva (Kook) footnote 532, Mor V’kitzia page 245,  Mishnas Yosef 60, Shraga Hameir 8:13:2, Lehoros Nosson 5:8. A tree that will have fruit in 70 years one may recite a beracha on (Lehoros Nosson 5:9). If tree is so high that you cannot see the bud then no beracha is recited (Eluney D’Chai 5:5).

[39] Shevet Ha’Levi 6:53:4.

[40] Lehoros Nosson 5:11, Tzitz Eliezer 12:20:2, Sharei Ha’beracha 21:footnote 59, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:page 10:footnote 2, see Da’as Torah 226:1. If one sick chas v’sholom and cannot recite the beracha on a tree one may bring him a branch to recite the beracha on if it is budding (Chashukei Chemed Pesachim pages 581-582).

[41] Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 1, Mishnah Berurah 2.

[42] Tur 226, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 1, Levush 1, Elya Rabbah 2, Chai Adom 63:2, Birchei Yosef 1, Mishnah Berurah 4, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:25:7, Veyalu Lo Yuvol 1:page 124:169, Ohr L’tyzion 3:6:6.

[43] Refer to Halachas Ketanos 60:page 10, 265:page 28, Lev Chaim 3:50, Hisoreros  Teshuva 1:105, Yaskil Avdi 7:12, 8:20:2, Minchas Yitzchak 3:25, Yabea Omer O.C. 5:19, 20, Shraga Hameir 5:52, Chashukei Chemed Pesachim pages 578-579, Chazzon Ovadia Pesach 1:pages 15-19 in depth, Eluney D’Chai 9:1:pages 76-79, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:192, 2:144, 3:76:5, Moadim V’zemanim 6:60:page 101, Igros Moshe O.C. 2:58, Be’er Sarim 4:50, Be’er Moshe 7:page 220, see Biur Halacha 225 “pri.”

[44] Refer to Kaf Ha’chaim 226:1, Tzitz Eliezer 15:15, see Yalkut Yosef 226:2, who argues.

[45] Horav Akiva Eiger 226:1, Da’as Torah 226:1, Be’er Moshe 3:43, see Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 23:30. Some are lenient in Eretz Yisroel where orlah is a d’oraisa Refer to Yaskil Avdi 7:12).