Shabbat Parashat Terumah| 5766
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Question: During laining, the ba’al koreh showed the oleh (the one who had the aliyah) the wrong place and noticed during the oleh’s beracha. The ba’al koreh rolled the Torah to the right place as the oleh continued his beracha. Did the oleh have to make a new beracha?
Answer: This question is important because a quick decision is needed, and sometimes the rav is not present. It is hard to choose among opinions, and there are distinctions over which poskim differ. We will try to explain the basic approaches and present an approach to implementation.
The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 140) relates the following incident. On Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the shaliach tzibbur opened up the sefer Torah for Chanuka reading before that for Rosh Chodesh and was corrected after the oleh’s beracha. The Avudraham brought those who said that he should have made another beracha because of the time delay as they rolled the sefer to the correct place and because in the parallel case, of one who made a beracha on a food but ended up eating a different one, he makes a new beracha. He brings others who argue on both assumptions and say that the beracha applies to all texts that are in the sefer Torah before him and, therefore, making a new one is improper. The Beit Yosef concludes that since regarding berachot on foods (206:6), we require a new beracha on the food he had not intended to eat even though it had been in front of him, so too here he makes a new beracha. In the Shulchan Aruch (140:3) he brings both opinions but favors the one to make another beracha (without repeating the introduction of “Barchu…” (Mishna Berura 140:3)). Nevertheless, recent Sephardic poskim (see Kaf Hachayim 140:15; Yalkut Yosef 140:4) conclude that in a case of a doubt whether or not to recite a beracha, one refrains from reciting it even if the Shulchan Aruch rules that one should.
Ashkenazic poskim generally require the new beracha in this case, but several distinctions make application of this rule uncommon. Most classical poskim decided that the matter depends on the oleh’sintention during the beracha. Since most people do not think too deeply about the matter, poskim have to fill in gaps.If the oleh becomes aware of the mistake before the ending of the beracha, he does not need a new beracha (Biur Halacha, ad loc.). (Rolling the Torah without him realizing would not help). The Mishna Berura (ibid.: 9) rules that all texts that were open when the oleh was shown the place are covered by the beracha. (The Shaarei Ephrayim 4:17 requires that the texts be in the same column). Thus, the most common mistakes that require a new beracha are in the first aliyah, in cases where the wrong Torah was taken out, the Torah was rolled improperly, or the place was moved during the last hagba (let the ba’al koreh, gabbai, and kohen beware).
The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 140:4) raises a further limitation on the basic ruling. Noting that the case discussed by the Rishonim involvedpeoplewho thought that they were supposed to lain the Chanuka reading first, he says that if the oleh knewwhatthe right reading is but was inadvertently shown the wrong column, then he does not make another beracha. Although the classical poskim and the Mishna Berura apparently reject the Pri Megadim, and accepted practice appears to follow the Mishna Berura, the Pri Megadim makes a lot of halachic sense. The Radvaz (I, 248) goes further, saying that the beracha primarily relates to the mitzva of public Torah reading, with the specific text being secondary. Of great importance is that leading, recent poskim, including R. Moshe Feinstein (OC I, 36; see Piskei Teshuvot 140:3) accept the Pri Megadim and that we try to avoid questionable berachot.
We suggest the following (if the rav is not present). If you recall that the shul’s practice is like the Mishna Berura, have the oleh make a new beracha, unless he is Sephardic, he refuses, or you expect him to be upset to repeat the beracha. If the practice is not known, do not instruct the oleh to make a questionable beracha, given important poskim’s opposition.
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