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There are at least two views on the placement of the blessings on Torah study in the morning prayer. German rite places it right before the verses about the laver, and they don't really consider Torah study the recitation verses in a prayer setting. However, most Ashkenazim put these blessings right after the blessing on washing the hands, and they're strict on not reciting such verses without the blessing.

My question would be, whether there were any sources discussing the necessity of saying these blessings before selichot, when we say a large amount of such verses from the Tanakh, including the Torah.

  • I think something needs clarity. Isn't Birkat Hatorah obligatory only after alot hashachar? If so, then I know of many minyanim that begin selcihot before that time, so why would this concern occur, anyway? – DanF Sep 25 at 21:43
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  • @JoelK Thanks. Answers the question. Seems that you need to make the bracha based on when you arise from sleep, regardless of how early that is. Unless, misunderstand what is said, there. – DanF Sep 26 at 14:17
  • @DanF there are several different minhagim concerning the Birkhat HaTorah- some hold it should only be said as part of Birkhat HaShachar, some hold that should be said whenever one wakes up after a night's sleep, some hold after ANY sleep over half an hour in duration, and finally, some hold after any sleep over three hours in duration – Josh K Sep 26 at 23:22
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Rema Orach Chaim 46:9 notes that the custom he observed was to recite birchot hatorah only after selichot.

However Mishnah Berurah 46:27 points out that the prevalent custom today is not to recite any verses before birchot hatorah, therefore one should recite birchot hatorah before selichot.

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There are indeed different customs regarding whether or not it is necessary / proper to recite Birkhat Hatorah prior to selichot. This clear and concise Halacha Yomit on the subject brings the major minhagim and their sources:

1) Maharshal writes that in Germany the custom was to rely on the opinion of Maharil who ruled that one need not recite the blessings of the Torah before reciting verses from the Torah in a manner of prayer and supplication- i.e. differentiating between "actual" Torah study and reciting pesukim as prayer as we do in Selichot.

2) As pertains to Ashkenazim, the Rama writes in response to the Shulchan Aruch's ruling that one should take into account the opinion that Birkhat Hatorah must be recited before Selichot, that this is not the accepted custom.

3) Rav Ovadia Yosef writes concerning Sephardim (in his Chazon Ovadia- Yamim Nora’im, page 5 and Yabia Omer Volume 9, Chapter 108) that although it seems Maran’s ruling in Shulchan Aruch to recite the blessings of the Torah before reciting verses is merely a “correct” thing to do but according to the letter of the law, Maran did not rule explicitly that one must recite the blessings of the Torah first, nevertheless, since a responsa of the Rambam (Pe’er Ha’Dor, Chapter 104) where he writes that the blessings of the Torah must be recited first was discovered after the passing of Maran, the blessings of the Torah should certainly be recited before Selichot, especially when reciting “Ashrei” at the beginning of the Selichot.

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