More Discussions for this daf
1. Beracha before Duchon 2. Rebbi Elazar 3. Birchas Kohanim

Eliyahu Tatel asked:

soteh, daf 39 A - R' Elazar ben Shamua said he never Duchan without a beracha beforehand. I think, RADAL or Keren Orah explains that in htat time the minhag was not to say a beracha "Asher Kidishanu" befroehand because the Rabanim were not mesaken a beracha on a beracha. Is there anyone who speaks more on this subject? For example, why is there no beracha on the Mitzva of Bircahas Hamazon?

I would appreciate any sources you may have found on this subject.

Gemarah is also in Megila 27 B.

Thank you,

Eliyahu Tatel, New Jersey, USA

The Kollel replies:

See Me'iri here, who says that the Berachah for Birkas Kohanim is not Me'akev but "is a Hidur Mitzvah," and that Rebbi Elazar ben Shamu'a was crediting himself for being careful with this Hidur. See also Bi'ur ha'Gra to OC 128:13.

The Me'iri in Megilah, however, explains that Rebbi Elazar ben Shamu'a was not referring to the Berachah for the Mitzvah, but to the prayers of "Yehi Ratzon" and "Ribon ha'Olamim." By being careful to recite these prayers every time he recited Birkas Kohanim, "he showed his intense love and affection for the people."

It is the Radal who says that in earlier generations it was not the practice to recite the blessing for Birkas Kohanim. The reason given is because Birkas Kohanim is itself a Berachah, and thus they reasoned that it is not appropriate to make a Berachah for making a Berachah, just like no Berachah was instituted for the Berachah of Birkas ha'Mazon and for Kidush (according to those who say it is mid'Oraisa), nor before any Birkas Shevach or Birkas Hoda'ah.

The Turei Even in Megilah there adds that perhaps it was Rebbi Elazar ben Shamu'a himself who instituted the blessing of Birkas Kohanim, and until his time they did not recite a Berachah for that Mitzvah, as we find that there are many Mitzvos for which we do not recite Berachos.

The Netziv, in Emek She'eilah (125), argues with the Turei Even, saying that it is certainly an obligation to make a Berachah on every Mitzvah. Although there are some Mitzvos for which no Berachah was instituted, the Rishonim give specific reasons for those Mitzvos, and none of those reasons apply to Birkas Kohanim. Nonetheless, he brings a support for the Turei Even from the words of the Ba'al ha'Me'or (end of Rosh Hashanah, DH u'Mah she'Nahagu). The Netziv says that where a Mitzvah comes in the context of other Berachos (such as Keri'as Shema during Shacharis and Ma'ariv), the Rabanan did not establish a separate Berachah for the Mitzvah. (This is why we do not say "Asher Kideshanu... Al Ker'ias Shema," nor "Al Birkas ha'Mazon," when performing those Mitzvos). Accordingly, since Birkas Kohanim comes right after the Berachah of "ha'Tov Shimcha u'Lecha Na'eh l'Hodos," it did not need its own Berachah. See there where he explains the Gemara at length, according to both the Ba'al ha'Me'or and the Ramban at the end of Rosh Hashanah.

Y, Shaw

The Kollel adds:

Some explain that he meant, he always made the Berachah before raising his arms in order to perform Birkas Kohanim, and not after his hands were already raised.

D. Zupnik ha'Kohen