Sunday, 21 June 2015

Seeing the Sea

Question: I am going to visit Israel. Do I say a beracha upon seeing the Mediterranean Sea and Dead Sea?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 228:1) writes that upon seeing the ocean one recites the beracha, ..oseh maaseh bereishis. When one sees the Mediterranean, one should recite ..oseh hayam hagadol instead.
The Mishna Berura (228:2) however, writes that many acharonim disagree and write that one only says oseh hayam hagadol upon seeing the Atlantic Ocean.
To fulfil both views, one could say ..oseh maaseh bereishis  and then add the words sheasah es hayam hagadol (Minchas Yitzchak 1:110; Halichos Shlomo 23:29).
While R’ Benzion Abba Shaul (Ohr Letzion 2:14:40n) writes that one should say ..oseh maaseh bereishis upon seeing the Dead Sea, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 23:n43) and R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 9:47) held that one doesn’t recite a beracha as it was not created during the Six Days of Creation (Rashi, Bereishis 14:3).
R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:76:1) writes that if one is driving past the sea, one should ideally stop and get out of the car so that one can stand up properly to recite the beracha.

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