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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 20:37:03 -0500 Subject: Beracoth: Between Man and Man Lisa Halpern (Vol 25 #14) raises the specific question of whether there are Blessings on Mitzvoth between man and man. Rabbi Hirsch answers this on the verse (Deut, Ki tasay) "Make a fence around roofs to prevent fallers from falling..." where he gives his theory of "...for which mitzvoth are beracoth said and for which mitzvoth are ...beracoth not said..." (This is a beautiful little explanation, which is not quoted often enough). According to Rav Hirsch, some mizvoth are done to SYMBOLICALLY REMIND me of something else: e.g. I put on Tzitzith IN ORDER TO REMEMBER GODS OTHER COMMANDMENTS (See Nu end of Shlach). Similarly, I take the Lulav to SYMOBLICALLY remind me of whatever the lulav is suppose to remind me (according to most commentators, it is suppose to symoblically affirm the unity of all forms of Jews..the hard worker, the pleasant person, the tramp, and the highly distinguished respected person). On the other hand, some mitzvoth are done SOLELY FOR THEMSELVES. e.g I give charity not to remind me of some other mitzvah but simply to give charity. Similarly I respect my parents in order to respect them. Rav Hirsch says that when I do a mitzvah to remind me of something else I first say a Beracha (to emphasize the fact that God gave it to me to remind me of something else). On the other hand if I do a mitzvah for its own purpose then I do not say a Berachah. The only possible exception to this rule is as Rav Hirsch notes, the law of Maakeh. However, last year, Rabbi Shalom Kaminetsky gave a shiur on Maakeh after which it was clear that the fence can be perceived symbolically (thus making it consistent with Rav Hirsch's explanations--it would require to much detail to repeat Rav Kaminetsky's shiur) Anyway: To answer Lisa's question: All man to man commandments do NOT require a blessing except for Maakeh which does (and Maakeh is between man and man since I put the fence up to protect others from falling ) Russell Jay Hendel, ph.d. asa rhendel @ mcs drexel. edu