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If one is reasonably sure that he is about to die al kiddush Hashem does he make a blessing before fulfilling this mitzvah? What would the nusach (text) of this blessing be?

Note: I realize that even with a sharp sword at your throat you are never supposed to despair of God's salvation, but practically speaking if it is not apparently imminent should one not also prepare for another eventuality?

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The Shema is traditional in situations like that. –  Ariel Nov 30 '12 at 9:57
    
I've seen several traditions including repeating "Ani Yehudi" and imagining the name of God (HAVAYA) in incredibly large letters which is supposed to assure a person to feel no pain. cf. Sefer Amarcol –  not-allowed to change my name Nov 30 '12 at 10:12
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I think your last sentence provides your answer. If you're not allowed to despair, then you cannot make a Berachah. You are not able to assume it will happen, and it might be a Berachah LeVatalah. Having said that, I've heard @DoubleAA's answer before. And I'm glad to see @Taub's answer addressing the BL"V issue. –  Seth J Dec 3 '12 at 2:47
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This issue is discussed practically in Shut MiMa'amakim 2:4. (Shut MiMa'amakim (lit. "from the depths", cf Psalms 130:1) are the responsa of Rabbi Ephraim Oshri written between 1941 and 1945 in the Kovno Ghetto.) He writes that on the cold, rainy day of the Great Action when all the Jews were being rounded up for inspection, a Jew named Eliyahu הי"ד from Warsaw approached him and asked him what the proper nussach of the blessing on Kiddush Hashem is so that not only could he say it when his time came, but he could fulfill one last mitzva in this world by telling the others with him what the proper halacha is.

In the responsum, Rav Oshry quotes a few different versions of the blessing, and concludes by telling Eliyahu to follow the version of the Shela (Shaar Otiot Alef, which is quoted by Pitchei Teshuva YD 156:7) which is:

ברוך אתה יקוק אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לקדש שמו ברבים

Eliyahu practiced the blessing and went off to go teach it to others. Later on he returned to Rav Oshry and reported that Rav Elchonon Wasserman before he was killed by the Nazis a few months prior told his son Naftali that the Chafetz Chayim had told him to use the same version of the blessing given by the Shela above.

May we never need to recite it again.

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amen, great answer. –  not-allowed to change my name Nov 30 '12 at 10:28
    
This is also Rabbi Yissochar Frand's conclusion on his tape on the subject. (Though I thought it was "lekadesh es shemo barabim"? Paging a grammarian in aisle 1)... –  Shalom Nov 30 '12 at 16:09
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In English, by the way: "Blessed are you G-d, our L-rd, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with His commandments and commandeded us to sanctify His Name in public." (The blessing was written in that form, even if in a particular case the setting may be private.) –  Shalom Nov 30 '12 at 16:10
    
@Shalom I also thought grammatically that "et" should be there, but in the teshuva he doesn't have it. I have yet to check the Shela inside. EDIT: I have now checked the Shela and he also doesn't have "et". Odd. –  Double AA Nov 30 '12 at 16:11
    
@DoubleAA re "Odd": not so odd. We (most of us) also say "shomer amo Yisrael laad" and "ohev amo Yisrael" and the like in b'rachos. –  msh210 Dec 2 '12 at 21:01
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The Shlah says there is a Beracha and who, in fact, gives a lashon for this Bracha and discusses how this fits with the Rishonim who discuss when to and not to make a beracha, who suggest that any blessing (bein adam l'chaveiro, typically) that relies on two people one does not make a beracha due to fear that the act will not be completed. . For no matter if one actually ends up dying they were 'moser' themselves to Gd at that moment and therefore it is not a blessing in vain.

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