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The general practice is to make a bracha on the sky illuminating from lightning without actually seeing the bolt.

Does anyone know a source for this? Is this the most appropriate practice?

Also, can one make a bracha on a room illuminated from lightning from behind a curtain?

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Related: My friends an I once made a Brocho on "lightning" from a camera flash... – yydl Jun 23 '10 at 23:56
Why would y'all do that? It is not lightning. How can you call the result of man-made technology "maasei v'reishis"? – Yahu Jun 24 '10 at 4:44
I am not sure if your kidding, but I imagine he meant to illustrate the question by pointing out he made a mistake. – SimchasTorah Jun 24 '10 at 13:33
Yeah. As YS said, we were in a bus, it was raining, and then someone took a picture. We thought it was actually lightning and made a Brocho... Then when in happened again, we identified the actual source. – yydl Jun 24 '10 at 18:32
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sefer Piskei Teshuvos (227:3, footnote 13) brings a few sources that one does not need to see the actual bolt.

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Shkoyach! For those w/o access, they are medayek from the lashon of "al habarakim" and it doesn't say "haroeh barak" like it does by all the other berachos. – YDK Jun 24 '10 at 15:28
This answer could be much more valuable if the following are edited in: Link to identification of P"T, link to the cited responsum, English translation or summary of the reasoning in the cited responsum. – Isaac Moses Jun 26 '13 at 19:31

The Sefer Avnei Yashfei 4:36:3 was asked concerning a case where someone is in his house and sees the light from the lightning through his window, can he make a bracha or not?

He first brings the Rambam Berachos 10:14 which does not mention seeing the lighting rather just making a bracha on lighting.However,he writes that since that halacha is talking about many other things which dont require seeing it wasnt mentioned but who says one doesnt need to see lighting.

He then brings the Rivevos Ephraim 4:54:19(last Paragraph) (He mentions the shittah of the Tzitz Eliezer and the Shaarei Halacha in the tshuvah)who holds that seeing the light is enough ,his logic is that since we never see the actual lightning just the light it produces then any light is good enough to make the bracha.The Avnei Yashfei said that this is not a good proof according to his understanding.

He holds halacha lmaaseh that one should not make a bracha on non direct lightning,he also holds its a safek bracha lehakel. However,he writes that Rav Wosner and Rav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul hold that one does make such a bracha without the actual lightning bolt. The Tzitz Eliezer 12:21 also paskens this way. He then brings Rav Eliyashiv who held that one only makes the bracha on seeing the actual lightning,and this is how the Avnei Yashfei goes.

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