Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 47:3) as well as Yalkut Yosef (47:14) write that before one writes down words of Torah, he must recite Birkot HaTorah (because people that write sometimes voice their writings).

However, what about typing on a computer? Does that constitute writing? Would it require Birkot HaTorah?

As always CYLOR


I would assume it all depends to what extent people "mouth" the words as they type. It would be fascinating if there are any user studies of this. My sense is that good-old-fashioned people would vocalize mouth words while writing longhand far, far more often than when people type or text electronically today.

  • 3
    Why do you assume it has to do with whether people mouth words as they write/type? Is that given somewhere as the reason one must say the b'rachos before writing?
    – msh210
    Feb 10 '12 at 15:44
  • 2
    @msh210, see the end of the first paragraph of the question.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 10 '12 at 16:41
  • Similar logic is found regarding the halachic status of signing a sworn statement -- often people mouth the words while writing/reading.
    – Shalom
    Feb 10 '12 at 17:47
  • What is the definition of "voice?" Does it mean to actually speak outloud as in typical conversation? Does it mean whispering? Does it mean sub-vocalizing? Does it mean mouthing the words without voicing or sub-vocalizing? Clarification on this would be helpful.
    – Shemmy
    Jun 8 '12 at 11:19
  • 1
    @shalom, you put your opinion in the answer section when it more properly belongs in the comment section. The answer section is supposed to be for answers with sources, not assumptions.
    – Shemmy
    Jun 8 '12 at 11:21

Regarding typing on Chol Moed, Halachapedia quotes

Rav Ovadia Yosef (Sh”t Yabia Omer 8:48(5)) writes that typing on a computer is considered non-professional writing and would permit typing up divrei torah one might forget or sending greetings for a holiday need. Similarly, Igrot Moshe EH 4:73(4) implies that typing on a computer isn’t considered a melacha.

Both seem to assume typing is a form of writing - just not a professional form of writing which would be assur on Chol Moed.

Moreover, in discussing texting on Shabbos, the OU writes:

Rabbi Shmuel Wosner (Shevet HaLevi 6:37), writing in 1983, ruled that creating letters on a computer screen is Biblically prohibited. The screen will not dissolve or rot and is therefore the equivalent of parchment. The letters also will remain on the screen permanently, unless someone actively erases them.

Although the OU brings many poskim who are lenient regarding not considering typing to be the equivalent of outright writing min haTorah, it seems typing would potentially be considered a form of writing - and thereby also require making Birchas HaTorah according to those who do so before writing.

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