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Thought for the Day: Brachos On Things You Could Have Seen Last Month, But Didn't

One is not allowed to benefit from the world without making a bracha.  One the pleasures of this world is experiencing feelings of awe.  Ipso facto, we have various brachos on seeing certain natural phenomena.  For example, on seeing the ocean (and some include the Mediterranean Sea), the bracha is (after following the standard recipe): sh'asah hayam hagadol.  Upon seeing a particularly high mountain, or a river whose course has never been changed, or (according to all opinions) the Mediterranean Sea, the bracha is: osei ma'asei b'reishis.  Humans being what they are, feelings of awe quickly subside, and so these brachos are only recited if it has been more than 30 days since the previous exposure to said phenomenon.

What is one lives near the sea/river/mountain and just hasn't seen it for a while (more than 30 days)?  The Halichos Shlomo says that one does not say the bracha again in that situation.  His s'vara is sort of a halichik catch 22: If you've seen in within 30 days, then of course you don't make another bracha.  If it's been more than 30 days then, since you could have gotten over to see it, apparently you are not sufficiently in awe of the sea/river/mountain to make the bracha.  Not being content with a simple s'vara (glatt though it may be), the Halichos Shlomo also bases his p'sak on an analogous p'sak of the Sha'arei T'shuva (O.Ch. 561 sk 2, bsheim shailos u'tshuvos radbaz; as brought in perek 23, d'var halacha 44) regarding tearing k'riya upon seeing the Kosel haMa'arivi.  Namely, that if one lives near the Kosel haMa'arivi but just hasn't seen in within 30 days, then he should not tear k'riya when he sees it again.  As usual, I am only reporting what the Sha'arei T'shuva said; if you are in this situation then you need to consult a rav (obviously).

The p'sak of the Sha'arei T'shuva is given more life by a of ma'aseh brought in the footnotes.  The Sha'arei T'shuva was approached by an individual in Yerushalayim who hadn't seen the Kosel haMa'arivi who hadn't seen it in over 30 days and wanted to know if he should tear k'riya (this is before the Sha'arei T'shuva was published; he was being asked as a rav).  The Sha'arei T'shuva told him one who asked the question (derech tochachah) that he should tear k'riya on the fact that he hadn't felt the loss of the Beis haMikdash deeply enough to visit the Kosel haMa'arivi (and therefore, since we don't do that, he shouldn't tear k'riya on going now).  Once he left, however, the Sha'arei T'shuva told his talmidim (who had witnessed this) that such a person was not worthy to being tearing k'riya at all!

B'ezras HaShem, the Beis haMikdash will be rebuilt soon and in our lifetime so these question will be nothing more than for historical interest.


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