Shulchan Aruch Chapter 5:  The intention for the blessings: 1 paragraph


Note: The Rama is in brackests [ ]


  1. When one says a blessing, he should have in mind the meaning of the words.  When one says the name (of G-d), he should have in mind the meaning of what he is saying[1].  When one menchans the Lordship of G-d, he should have in mind that he is the master of everything.  When it is written yud-kay-vav-kay, he should have in mind that G-d is, was, and will be[2].  When one says אלקים, he should have in mind that he can do anything and is the master of all strength.



Chapter 6:  The laws for the blessing Ashar Yatzar and Elokai N’shama : (4 paragraphs)


1.  When one goes out from the restroom, he should recite the blessing of Ashar Yatzar (אשׁר יצר)...who formed man with wisdom... since the creation of man was done with magnificent insight.  The Mechaber and the Rama go into extensive detail explaining the blessing, which I am omitting.  


2.  There are those who have the custom to wait until they enter Synagague (Shule) to say the blessing of אל נטילת ידים in order to say it togeather with the other blessings.  This is not the custom of the Sephardim.  [None the less, one should not say the blessings twice.  One who says the blessings at home should not say them in Shule and one who says them in Shule should not say them at home.  One who learns Torah before he goes to Shule or one who prays before (going to Shule), he should say the blessings in his home and should not say them in Shule.  Even in such a cituation, there are those who have the custom to say them in Shule with the other blessings and to not recite them at home.]


3.  The blessing of אלקי נשׁמה does not begin with a blessing[3] since it is a blessing of thanks.  And (as a general rule,) blessings of thanks do not begin with a blessing as we find by the blessing over rain (ברכת גשׁמים). 


4.      There are those who have the following custom: An individual recites one of the morning blessings and the (congregation) answers after him “Amen”.  Then someone else says the same blessing and they answer “Amen”.  With this arrangement, the people who previously answered “Amen” are doing it again.  One should not protest over this and tell these individuals that they were already יוצאי (covered) with the first Amen they answered, since the מברך (the one making the blessing) did not have in mind to be יוצאי them.  And even if the מברך had in mind to be יוצאי them, they specifically have in mind to not be יוצאי with his blessing. 



Translated by Jay Dinovitser


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[1] M.B. writes that it is imperative to completely understand what one is saying.  See Yeshayah 29:13 where G-d relates how he was angry at Israel “Since this peopl eapproach with their mouth and with their lips honoring me but their heart is far away from me.”

[2] G-d was always in existence even before creation.  G-d is currently the one and only G-d who is master over all.  G-d will be the Lord always, even after the existence of this world.

[3] Unlike the blessing of אשׁר יצר which begins and ends with a blessing, אלקי נשׁמה only concludes with a blessing