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Bais HaVaad on the Parshas Ha’azinu: BirchasHaTorah: A Scriptural Benediction or Oral Tradition


Highlights of a shiur by Rav Yehoshua Grunwald

כי שם ה’ אקרא הבו גדל לאלקנו

When I call the name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d.

(Devarim 32:3)

According to the Ramban, this pasuk is the source of the mitzva of birkas haTorah.

The Rambam, though, doesn’t reckon birkas haTorah among the taryag mitzvos. Why not?

One approach is that of the Aruch Hashulchan, that the Rambam’s view is that birkas haTorah is a component of the mitzva of talmud Torah.

The Ramban, for his part, specifically rejects this possibility. He argues that just as bringing bikurim and reading mikra bikurim are separately counted among the taryag, so are talmud Torah and birkas haTorah.


Moshe Rabbeinu has been teaching Torah to Klal Yisrael for forty years. Why is birkas haTorah mentioned now for the first time?

The Netziv offers a fascinating answer.

Chazal tell us that Moshe’s nevua was delivered in real time: Shechina medaberes mitoch grono shel Moshe. Other nevi’im first received their nevua and later, asynchronously, delivered it to the people. But in the unique case of Moshe’s nevua, receipt and delivery were simultaneous, because Hashem spoke directly to the people through Moshe’s throat.

Moshe’s Torah teaching, says the Netziv, was never subject to birkas haTorah, because it was miraculous, and no bracha is recited upon the product of a miracle. (He maintains that for this reason, no bracha was made when eating the man.)

But this time was different. Moshe wrote down Shiras Ha’azinu and read it aloud to the people. All natural, no neis. For the first time in all the years of Moshe’s public talmud Torah, birkas haTorah was required.


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