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Why do we not make a Bracha (e.g. every morning) on the mitzvah of honoring one's parents?

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    Why would we make a bracha?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Oct 10, 2010 at 22:37
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    @Issac Well don't we make Brochos on all Mitzvos (lulav, torah, tzitzis, tefillin). Certain mitzvos are excluded, but they have reasons. So I wanted to know what the reason for this one is
    – yydl
    Commented Oct 10, 2010 at 23:11
  • @yydl Perhaps you should add your motivation to the question (including sourcing its premises if possible).
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 3:16
  • I think מהר״ץ חיות May have something written up about this. And his question may extend to all sorts of mitzvot which have no brachah
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 10:44
  • 2 informal reasons I've heard recently, the first I believe here on MY somewhere, and the second via Rabbi Friedman. 1) We don't say a beracha on this because we can never be sure we are doing it properly, there's always more we can do to be a better son/daughter. 2) We don't say a beracha on a lot of interpersonal mitzvot because the mitzva is incomplete if the recipient thinks you have an ulterior motive. A parent wants to know you honour them in your heart, and saying a beracha might give the impression that it's nothing to do with them, you are just trying to chap a mitzva
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 9:05

5 Answers 5

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The Rashb"a writes in his Tshuvos Volume I: siman 18 that kibud av vaim is like tzdakkah and charity is dependent on the receiver because maybe he will refuse to accept, and he (the giver) won't be able to perform the mitzvah. When the action of the mitzvah is not completely dependent on the giver then there is no bracha (from Sefer Pisgamei Oraisa which talks about many mitzvos without brachas and the reasons why).

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  • While I can't argue with Rashb"a it only seems to be a Tirutz and not a real reason. One is obligated to Morah also and it does not depend on Mochel or not.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 12:46
  • @AlBerko SA seems to imply that one can give up Morah as well, since he repeatedly talks about Mechilah in the context of standing up for them - by a parent (YD 240), by a Rebbe (242), by a Talmid Chacham, Av Beis Din, and Nasi (244).
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 13:58
  • @DonielF THat's right, but this is only an "Onus", if the father Mochel you can still stand up and do the Mitzvah. Same with other Mitzvos that one says a Brocho and has an Ones. This does not invalidate the Brocho, as מחשבה טובה הקב"ה מצרפה למעשה.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 14:21
  • @AlBerko I think you confuse אונס לכתחילה with אונס בדיעבד - it’s one thing when you say the beracha and then an oness happens; it’s another thing when an oness happens even before you make the beracha.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 15:24
  • @DonielF The biggest problem with this Mitzvah, as I asked a lot of questions about, is that nobody really know what it is. The Gemmorah is very scarce and there are no details. To remind you that it's the 5th Diber which means [עיקר המצווה] it's BA"L Makom so you always perform BAL"M, no matter if the father Mochel or not. BTW whose idea it is that if father is Mochel one does not perform the Mitzvah?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 18:10
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I think with most mitzvos between man and fellow man (bein adam lachaveiro) there's no bracha; I believe it has to do with "how do we know you're doing it for the sake of the mitzva?"

But with regards to the question of why no bracha over saying the Passover Hagadah, they point out that to say "okay G-d you commanded me to show gratitude so now I'm doing it" doesn't sound right. So imagine it:

"Chaim, can you please bring the groceries?"

"Um, wait a minute Mom. Thank you Hashem, you COMMANDED me to honor my parents ... Okay Mom yes I'll bring in the groceries."

The thought process should be a bit more natural!

Also, it's further complicated (as it is with many acts to fellow man) by the fact that a given action may or may not be kibud av v'em. You can feed your father the finest aged steak and degrade him ("just eat the food and be quiet, old man!"); or you could have him hard at work at the millstone and still be honoring him ("if not for the millwork they would have drafted you, I'm so sorry dad.")

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  • "Um, wait a minute Mom. Thank you Hashem, you COMMANDED me to honor my parents ... Okay Mom yes I'll bring in the groceries." - I took care of by saying once a day. But in the rest of it, you have good points
    – yydl
    Commented Oct 10, 2010 at 23:40
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    source????????? Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 15:57
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It is an ongoing mitzva that one is required to do at all times; therefore, you don't make a bracha. (Source - אור זרוע, ברכת המוציא, ק״מ. See also שדי חמד אסיפת דינים מערכת ברכות אות ט״ז)

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    Why should ongoing obligation warrant a lack of bracha if you only fulfill the obligation occasionally?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 0:43
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    Benzion, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for posting this answer! You could make it much more valuable by editing in your source for this reasoning as well as something that addresses @DoubleAA's comment, above. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 3:14
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    We do say a bracha on learning Torah, which is also an ongoing mitzva. But maybe Torah is the exception, since its bracha is min haTorah.
    – Ypnypn
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 17:44
  • @Ypnypn - Good question! Three answers: Firstly, the exact classification of Birchas Hatorah is subject to enormous debate; there is a substantial opinion in Rishonim/Achronim that it is not a Birchas Hamitzvos. Secondly, as you say, it is D'Oiraysa, so it wouldn't be a good analogy. Thirdly, it may not be a constant mitzvah; it may be a daily mitzvah. There is an opinion that one is required to learn a minimum amount per day; this is different to Kibbud Av, where time plays no role at all.
    – chortkov2
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 17:17
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The answer for this question is the same as for all the other questions of this type: because it is not "asher kidshanu" – there is nothing Jew-specific about it. Jews and non-Jews do it alike, and therefore it is not a distinctively Jewish mitzvah.

Also no beracha for Tzedakah and Geirushin for the same exact reasons. As quoted regarding Tzedakah:

Rabbi Elazar of Worms (c. 1176-1238), writes in his Sefer HaRokeach (ch. 366) that the Sages did not ordain a blessing before any mitzvah like tzedakah, which is based on logic and common sense and is therefore performed by non-Jews as well. The reason for this rule is because the entire purpose of our doing mitzvos is to sanctify ourselves and to help us lead more elevated and spiritual lives than those around us - as we say in the standard form of blessing before performing a mitzvah: Who has sanctified us with His commandments. However, when performing a mitzvah that is also performed by non-Jews, as in the case of tzedakah, our sanctification as Jews is not readily evident and thus no blessing is recited.

Why don't we say a blessing before giving charity?

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  • We do say אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של שבת even though it's just the regular light you'd light in your house.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 3:25
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We do not make a Bracha on Kibud Av Vaim as by each person the Kibud manifests itself differently.

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    Why should different manifestations warrant a lack of bracha?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 0:42

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