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The Shulchan Aruch in 47/1 says

One who thinks about words of Torah does not need to say the blessings [of the Torah]. Similarly, one may pasken without giving the reason

The Mishna Berurah explains why one may pasken

for the reason for the halacha - which is the most important part - is just being thought about [and not verbalized]

The Mishna Berurah brings the Gra who says

this is no better than reading - for which one does have to say the blessings of the Torah, and even in thinking, one has to first say the blessings of the Torah

My question is not about the propriety of whether one can think in Torah before saying the blessings of the Torah. The posek I use says it is permitted, and one does not need to be strict like the Gra, especially if one wakes up in the middle of the night and has a Torah thought - one does not need to banish it. However my chavrusa's posek does pasken like the Gra, and I have heard that Rav Chaim Kanievsky will only think of names of Tanaim and Amoraim in such a situation.

My chavrusa claims that the reason that his posek paskens like the Gra is because of a "rule" in learning Mishna Berurah, that when the Mishna Berurah quotes the Gra as he does above (matter-of-factly and not as a dissenting opinion) then he is actually paskening like him.

I am interested in finding out more about such a rule.

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  • See the end of the introduction to the MB where it sounds a bit like that. Would want a better source, though.
    – Mordechai
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:03
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    ושמו שער הציון בו... ובמקום שראיתי דעות בין שני אחרונים גופא באיזה דבר לא הייתי עצל בדבר מלחפש... ובפרט בביאור הגר"א ז"ל שהוא אורן של ישראל ויתד שהכל תלוי בו וכדי להכריע הדבר
    – Mordechai
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:13
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    The Mishna Berurah rarely paskins like anyone. He quotes all the opinions he thinks are relevant and lets rabbis decide for their askers depending on the circumstances. It's a book for learning. (The seeming premise of this question, that one should try to paskin 'like the mishna berurah' and we therefore need to determine his 'official psak', is misguided and at best an anachronistic category-error.)
    – Double AA
    Mar 8, 2020 at 1:47
  • @Mordechai Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/38107
    – Fred
    Mar 8, 2020 at 8:00
  • @DoubleAA You are spot on with the premise of my question! Is the approach you describe in relating to the Mishna Berurah fairly universally held?
    – gordon613
    Mar 8, 2020 at 20:52

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