This biography of Rabbi Zalman Volozhin, brother of famed Rabbi Chaim, reports that at the age of one year old he was trained by his mother to recite a blessing before suckling her milk.

Is such an idea represented elsewhere in Jewish history?

  • 1
    I can't imagine this ever happening (I guess, except, in that biography you quoted?). From a practical perspective, I don't think there would ever be a 'Chiyuv' to say a Bracha, as the uper age limit for nursing is 5 years old (see Chayei Adam 66:13) (with most probably stopping to nurse long before then), and the main Chiyuv of Chinuch only just about starts then. And that's besides the fact that, based on a handful of random parenting sites I just perused, kids are only just starting to talk in the 1-2 yr old range. Oct 29, 2019 at 18:59
  • I heard a similar report about a chasidiseh Rebbe, though I don't remember who. To judge the story tellers favorably, I would guess that these things did happen, just not at age one; maybe if they were still nursing at age four or five (see ketubos 60a).
    – Mordechai
    Oct 29, 2019 at 19:27
  • 1
    Sure, my two-year-old niece can make a couple of Berachos, but she has no idea what she’s saying. I find it hard to believe that this is actually a psak Halacha, to lechatchilah instruct kids to make Berachos without understanding what they’re saying on any level.
    – DonielF
    Oct 29, 2019 at 20:58
  • This all depends upon the child. The obligation to teach a child Torah (which includes making blessings) begins as soon as the child begins speaking. The obligation is upon the father. See the following from Hilchot Talmud Torah, chapter 1, seif 1: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=16009&st=&pgnum=67 Oct 29, 2019 at 21:12
  • @Don THIS is definitely not a psak Halacha
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Oct 29, 2019 at 21:16


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