Upon whom today would you make the bracha - Baruch Attah Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam She’chalak Mei’chochmaso Li’rei’av, that He bestowed of His wisdom to those who fear Him (Gemara Brachos 58a)?

I'm looking for either:

A) An outline of what that person must know or (better)

B) a list of people currently living.

  • 13
    I make it whenever Alex comes in to Chat.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 17:35
  • 1
    the comments at this related question might be applicable here as well.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 17:35
  • 2
    @DoubleAA I was intentionally trying to avoid the 'who is a gadol' topic as I think that is totally subjective. But this is a halachic requirement.
    – user1520
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 17:57
  • 4
    Every time I look in the mirror Commented May 25, 2012 at 18:04
  • 1
    @DoubleAA: chochmaso is arguable, but I am definitely far from being able to be called yerei'av.
    – Alex
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 21:19

4 Answers 4


According to the Yeshiva World News, a few weeks ago HaRav Haim Kanievsky Shelit"a said this Beracha when he went to visist HaRav Elyashiv ZS"L.

At about 36:00 minutes in this video someone blessed the blessing over Hacham Ovadia Shelit"a entering and everyone answered Amen. If you look intently Hacham Yitzhak Shelit"a nodded when he heard the Beracha and might have even answered Amen.

A big Talmid Hacham, who is famous in Torah knowledge and fear of God, and makes decisions and rulings for the nation of Israel, one should bless "Shehalak" over them.

דין תלמיד חכם נוהג גם בזמן הזה לרוב הענינים, ולכן גם בזמן הזה הרואה תלמיד חכם גדול, המופלג בתורה וביראת ה' ומורה הוראות בישראל, יש לברך עליו בשם ומלכות ''שחלק מחכמתו ליראיו''.

Yalkut Yosef, Yoreh Deah 242:1


It is said in the name of R Eliashiv that the two people on whom one makes a blessing upon seeing a talmid hakham are R Moshe Feinstein and R Yakov Kanievski (the Steipler Gaon). This gives an idea of the caliber required for this blessing in the eyes of R Eliashiv.

Source: Eli Turkel, The nature and limitations of rabbinic authority, in Tradition 27:4, note 31


R' Eliezer Melamed, in an essay about this blessing and a related one for scientists on the Beit-El Yeshiva website, formulates the standard thus:

תלמיד חכם שיראתו קודמת לחכמתו, ונודע שהוא חכם מופלג על ידי שיעוריו וחידושיו הגאוניים, או על ידי הספרים שחיבר, או פסקי הלכות שהכריע

A Torah scholar whose awe [of Heaven] precedes his scholarship, who is known as extremely wise due to his genius lectures and novellae, due to the books that he's authored, or due to Halachic decisions that he has determined

My translation.

That's still a pretty amorphous standard. If one isn't sure if a particular scholar qualifies, R' Melamed says, in the entry in the online version of his Peninei Halacha series that covers this blessing (15:18), to say the blessing, omitting "are You... King of the Universe" ("בלא שם ומלכות"). (He cites Tzitz Eliezer 14:37 as saying that due to such doubt, one should only say this blessing nowadays without that part, but says that most authorities and the state of the practice is not so. It seems to me that he's adopting the Tzitz Eliezer's opinion for cases when there is a doubt.)


According to Rav Moshe Heinemann shlit"a and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel shlit"a, one makes the bracha of SheChalak when seeing Rav Aharon Feldman shlit"a, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore.

  • Is this written somewhere? Did you hear it from him directly?
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 20:12

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