Why do you make the Bracha Mishaneh Habriyos on seeing a monkey?

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    And here I thought the question was going to be, "Why do some people rattle off berachos so fast that it sounds like a monkey chattering?" :)
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 15:29
  • Hello, Ishyehudi, and welcome to mi.yodeya! Thanks for your interesting and esoteric question in the realm of hilchos b'rachos.
    – WAF
    Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 19:37
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/29334
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 4:56

2 Answers 2


The Mileches Shlomo on Kilayim (8:6) says the gemara in Sanhedrin says that the Dor HaMabul (generation of the flood) turned into monkeys and that is one of the reasons we make the bracha Mishaneh Habriyos translated- who changes the creations-on monkeys.

  • I love this answer! Could you give me a page reference?
    – Yahu
    Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 20:49
  • On Mishnah 8:6. It's cited on p. 24 of Man and Beast by R' Natan Slifkin along with related sources. books.google.com/…
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 21, 2010 at 3:31
  • is the beracha just in remembrance of the miracle or that all monkeys were once humans?
    – ray
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 5:46
  • also, the gemora in sanhedrin 109 says the dor haflaga turned to monkeys not the door hamabul. is this an error in the mileches shlomo or is he basing it on something other than the gemora on sanhedrin
    – ray
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 8:12

The straightforward answer is that (at least in Talmudic times, to someone who had never seen them before), elephants and monkeys just struck people as so amazingly different, that a religious person's reaction would be:

Blessed are you God, King of the World, who makes such variety in creations!

Note that these are two of the most-intelligent animals on the earth's surface. (Let's leave dolphins out of this.) Rambam (Hilchos Eruvin 6:22) even writes about a trained monkey or elephant delivering a package. I always wondered whether the intelligence factor had something to do with their notability (and hence the bracha).

  • YS, "daas" is "consciousness", the type possessed by a healthy adult human. Monkeys don't have that, but they're still more intelligent than most other animals, such as, let's say goats. Rambam was choosing the animals most-likely to be used as delivery vehicles, because they're smart, trainable, and walk on the ground.
    – Shalom
    Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 20:13
  • It goes to follow from the straightforward answer that if one lives in one of those places that monkeys are as common as squirrels are in much of the U.S. (or skunks are in Chicago!) then he would not make the Bracha!
    – Yahu
    Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 20:53

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