Halachot of Berachot
Questions and Answers
Prerequisites Before the Beracha
- In front of Erva
- One may not recite a beracha in front of Erva (nakedness). Erva is defined for males as private parts once 9 years of age and older. For females, 3 years and older, as anything elbow and up; knee and up; neck and down; as well as hair for a married woman. This applies to Jews and non-Jews alike, to strangers and family members alike.
- In such cases, one must turn his head and whole body in order to make the beracha. If, however, one is concerned that turning will either cause embarrassment or offence – he may inconspicuously glance down or close eyes briefly.
- Be’deEved the beracha in front of Erva counts and a second one isn’t necessary.
- Wearing Clothes
- One must be wearing appropriate clothing to recite a beracha. This includes covering of the private parts as well as a separation between one’s heart and the Erva by use of a belt, pants, or underwear.
- Men must have a head covering while saying a beracha. One’s own hands cannot count as a covering, but someone else’s hands on his head could count. Additionally one could use his arm (past the palm) or shirt as a covering.
- The 4 amot (7 feet) area around a person must be free of actual wastes (like dirty diapers), unless the waste material is enclosed and then it is permitted as long as there is no odor.
- For odors - one must be seven feet away from where the odor stops (not just seven feet away from the source of the odor)
- Other Prerequisites
- Can’t be any food in one’s mouth during beracha (but Be’deEved Yotzei)
- If hands are dirty, or scratched hair, or touched body which is normally covered then need to wash hands. If cant, then rub on hard surface.
- If you have to go to bathroom, than can’t say a beracha (but Be’deEved Yotzei)
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