Interrupting Between the Berachos and Learning Torah
When is Sleep a Hefesk
Are Birchos Hatorah Required Every Day?
Interrupting between the berachos and learning Torah
According to the Mechaber it is ideal, but not essential, to study Torah immediately following Birchos HaTorah. Most poskim, however, do require studying immediately without interruption like the berachos on mitzvos and enjoyments, where it is forbidden to interrupt between the beracha and the activity. One should not respond to Kadish and Kedusha between the berachos and learning. There is an ancient custom to recite the pesukim of birchos kohanim as Torah study and the Ashkenazim also recite the Mishna of Eilu Devarim Shein Lahem Shiuir and the Gemara passage Eilu Devarim Sheadom Ochel.
(סעיף ט וס"ק יט-כא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 23)
When is sleep a hefsek
Napping, whether by day or by night, is not considered an interruption and new birchos haTorah are not required. Sleeping by night is an interruption and new berachos are required. Even a short sleep at the beginning of the night with the intention to rise and continue learning requires new berachos. There is a machlokes as to whether someone who slept by day must repeat the berachos. While the custom is not to repeat the berachos it is proper to have in mind to fulfill the obligation of Birchos HaTorah when reciting the beracha of Ahavas Olam during ma’ariv. The poskim discuss the definition of ‘sleep’ and ‘nap’ in the context of Birchos HaTorah. All agree that resting one’s head on his arm while seated is considered napping and sleeping in a bed for thirty minutes while wearing pajamas is considered sleep.
According to some poskim,Birchos HaTorah, like the other Birchos Hashachar, are required daily and even someone who did not sleep at night must recite new berachos in the morning. According to other poskim, the berachos are not a daily requirement, rather it is nighttime sleep that constitutes a hefesek and necessitates the new berachos. Someone who did not sleep at night does not need to recite the berachos in the morning, but should listen to the berachos from someone else. According to some poskim, if the person had slept during the previous day he may recite the berachos even if he was awake all night. Other poskim hold that such a person may not recite the berachos himself.
(ס"ק כח; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 30)
The poskim discuss whether thinking Torah thoughts is like speaking them out. Dependent on this discussion is the question of whether it is permissible to listen to a Torah discussion before reciting Birchos HaTorah.
Someone who realized in middle of pesukei dzimra that he forgot to recite birchos haTorah should recite them there. If he already began the berachos of Shema he should bear in mind to fulfill the obligation while reciting Ahavah Rabbah (Ahavas Olam). He should learn some Torah immediately after Shemoneh Esrei to help the beracha take effect.
The beracha of Ahavas Olam recited during ma’ariv can also count as birchos haTorah if needed.
Reciting Birchos Hashachar in middle of the night
When does someone who rises in middle of the night to study recite Birchos HaTorah?