Sunday, 4 August 2013

Beracha on Lightning and Thunder

There is a machlokes among the rishonim as to what berachos should be recited when seeing lightning and hearing thunder. According to Raavad (Berachos 10:14) one says both she’kocho ugvuraso malei olam and oseh ma’ase bereishis while Tosafos (Berachos 59a) holds that one says one or the other.
The Mishna Berura (227:5) writes that the minhag is to recite she’kocho ugvuraso malei olam when hearing thunder and oseh ma’ase bereishis when seeing lightning (which better demonstrates Hashem’s might). Some people don’t recite a beracha after lightning until they hear thunder, too, though this practice is wrong, as the beracha must be recited toch kedei dibbur (within a couple of seconds). If one sees and hears them together, one only says one beracha, preferably oseh ma’ase bereishis.
While ashkenazim say the full beracha with Hashem’s name, some sefardim follow the Kaf Hachaim (OC 227:1) who writes that one should say the beracha without Hashem’s name. Other sefardim follow the Yechave Daas (2:27) and say the full beracha
R’ Eliezer Waldenberg wrote to R’ Tzvi Pesach Frank (Tzitz Eliezer 12:21) that one recites the beracha even if they only saw a lightning flash, and not the actual bolt.

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