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A Question Filled With Heart

The Beis Yoseph says that we don't make a bracha on bitul chametz because nullifying the chametz is done in ones heart which does not mandate a bracha.

However the Gra rules that one makes a bracha on learning Torah in ones "heart" [i.e. thinking Torah without uttering words] because that too is part of the mitzva. But I thought that we don't make a bracha on thoughts of the heart?!

Also, we make a bracha on seperating Teruma even though that too can be done in ones heart alone.

Nu Yidden. Help a Jew in the Old City with a Halachic conundrum.

How does the Gra get around the concept of Dvarim Shabalev Eino Dvarim?

Its a machlokes - simple answer I know.

There is a difference between the two. In the case of ביטול, the mere thought of the word ביטול could legally constitute the actual ביטול; hence, reciting the blessing “על ביטול חמץ” would, in effect, discharge one from his obligation of ביטול. Indeed, this is the reason why some authorities say we do not make a blessing over ברכת המזון, which can also be said בלב, as the blessing over ברכת המזון could itself be construed as a rather crude form of ברכת המזון. Accordingly, in these cases, the בלב component, ipso facto, prevents the ability to say a blessing עובר לעשיתן. This is not so with תלמוד תורה: thinking the word “תורה” isn’t a sufficient form of לימוד. Accordingly, just saying the words נותן התורה or any of the other ברכי תורה would not discharge one’s obligation. As such, a blessing could be made עובר לעשיתן, even though the עשיה is בלב.

Alternatively, in general, the rule is indeed דברים שבלב אינו דברים and therefore, since ביטול is done בלב, a ברכה is not required; however, תלמוד תורה could be considered an exception to this rule, as the תורה itself says:

והיו הדברים האלה, אשר אנוכי מצווך היום--על-לבבך

Not only can תלמוד תורה be done בלב but the פסוק actually refers to this mental endeavor as דברים. Since דברי תורה שבלב דברים הם , a ברכה can be recited.

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Alternatively, consider the three cases presented: ביטול on the one hand and תלמוד תורה and תרומה on the other. The difference is that ביטול can only be done בלב while תלמוד תורה and תרומה can be done both בלב and through an actual מעשה. Since the rabbis were in the habit of not making distinctions so the masses wouldn’t mess up, it is possible that since ביטול is always בלב there is no ברכה; but, with תלמוד תורה and תרומה where either בלב or a מעשה would suffice, the לא פלוג consideration was applied and a ברכה was instituted. (And should you be thinking but ספק ברכות להקל – well, תלמוד תורה and תרומה are דאורייתא so they’d be לחומרא anyway).

a. one does not make a bracha on mitzvot between people
like charity

b. one does not make a bracha on a mitzva that has no action
but calculations e.g. setting up the months in the old days,
a woman calculating her period

c. one does not make a bracha when doing the mitzva depends
on someone else e.g. charity, honoring ones parents, marriage
returning a lost article

d. No blessing is said when the mitzva is a result of a sin
e.g. returning a stolen article, returning interest on a loan
divorce (no sin is involved but is not desirable), payment of damages,
sending away the mother bird

e. no blessing is recited when the gift really doesnt belong to the
person, e.g. giving teruma to a Cohen does not require a bracha
(only the separation does) since the terumah portion never really
belonged to the person but rather to the priest

f. no bracha on actions that are destructive, e.g. a bet din giving

kolIsha: "b. one does not make a bracha on a mitzva that has no action
but calculations e.g. setting up the months in the old days,
a woman calculating her period

What about sefirat haomer?

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  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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