By: Rabbi Mordechai Mishanieh
1. Why do we recite birchot hashahar?
One is not allowed to derive any benefit from this world without first reciting a beracha over that particular form of benefit. The rabbis instituted the birchot hashahar (“morning blessings”) to be recited each morning over common phenomena from which we derive benefit every day.
2. How soon after awakening should one make birchot hashahar?
The berachot should be made right away since it is preferable not to speak after awakening in the morning until the recitation of these berachot.
3. In which order should one recite these berachot?
One should ensure to recite the berachot in the sequence printed in the siddur, as there is Kabbalistic significance tothis particular order.
4. What if one mistakenly skipped a blessing?
If a blessing was inadvertently skipped, one may still recite the beracha he missed. The exception to this rule is a case where one skipped the beracha of “matir assurim” and realized his mistake only after he recited the beracha of “zokef kefufim.”In such a case, he may no longer recite the beracha of “matir assurim,”because that berachah is included in the beracha of “zokef kefufim.” If one mistakenly recited the beracha of “shelo asani ishah”before the berachot of “shelo asani goy” or “shelo asani abed,” he may still recite the beracha he skipped.
5. What should one do if he did not recite birchot hashahar before shaharit?
If one began to pray shaharit and then realized that he had forgotten to recite birchot hashahar, he should recite them after Shaharit, with the exception of Elokay neshama and birchot haTorah, as the obligation to recite these berachot is fulfilled during the Shaharitservice. One who forgot to recite Elokay neshama or birchot haTorah, can no longer recite the beracha, unless he had not yet begun the beracha of Yosser Ohr, in which case heshould recite the missed beracha between Yishtabah and Yosser Ohr.
6. Until when may one recite birchot hashahar?
If one forgot to recite birchot Hashahar before shaharit, he should preferably recite them by the end of the fourth hour after sunrise. If he did not recite the berachot by that time, then he may still recite them, until sunset (Yalkut Yosef).
7. What is the earliest time one can recite birchot hashahar?
The earliest time for reciting birchot hashahar is hassot – halachic midnight. However, if one had not slept before hassot, then he may not recite birchot haTorah.If one plans to go to sleep after hassot, then he should wait until morning before reciting the berachot (Yalkut Yosef).
8. Does one recite birchot hashahar if he remained awake all night?
According to the accepted custom among Sepharadim, one who remained awake throughout the night may recite birchot hashahar after hassot, except for birchot haTorah, which should be recited only after alot hashahar (approximately 72 minutes before sunrise)
9. Is it permissible to recite pesukim or prayers before reciting birchot haTorah?
It is permissible to recite pesukim or prayers before reciting birchot haTorah, but the accepted custom is to refrain from doing so. However, one may answer to kaddish or the 13 middot (such as during selihot) before reciting the berachot.
10. If one takes a nap during the day, must he repeat birchot hashahar?
One who takes a nap during the day does not repeat any of the birchot hashahar, including birchot haTorah. If, however, the nap extends into the night, then according to some authorities he must repeat birchot haTorah . Therefore, it is recommended in such a case to pray arbit and have in mind to fulfill the obligation of birchot haTorah through the recitation of the beracha of Ahavat Olam. One should then fulfill the beracha by ensuring to learn some words of Torah immediately after arbit.