When a miracle occurs to someone he makes a Bracha, HaGomel after Kriyas HaTorah. What does a lady do if a miracle occured to her? Does she say the Bracha or does she not? If she does then when does she say it and how?

4 Answers 4


The Artscroll Women's Siddur quotes opinions both ways (especially in the case of a married woman benching gomel after childbirth). It then concludes "the practice is for a woman not to bench gomel" -- this may be the case in some right-leaning communities, though I've heard many a critic feel Artscroll didn't do the subject justice.

In many, many Jewish communities, a woman puts together an informal group of ten men and says it then -- it could be at a house, in the side room of shul during kiddush, or the like. Her first shabbos back in shul, or the bris, may be good opportunities for this.

I've also heard that in fact, the custom of old-time Jerusalemites is for the woman to do it during Shabbos morning prayers, out-loud during a pause between people in the Torah reading, from the Ezras Nashim (women's section). Obviously, check with your gabbai before trying this one!

  • Someone told me that there are some Poiskim that hold that a lady should get together a Minyan of ladies with at least one man. Ever heard of that? Oct 17, 2010 at 2:11
  • That is mentioned in the mishna berura O.C. 219:3-hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14164&st=&pgnum=255. A few acharonim are referenced that I didn't look up. magen avraham quotes keneses hagedolah who says at least in front of one man or "women". I don't know the reason for the man in either of the above.
    – YDK
    Oct 17, 2010 at 4:19

At least as early as the 1600s, it appears to have been customary in some congregations for a woman not to make the blessing of Hagomel upon being saved from danger. The Knesess Hagedolah (Hagahos Beis Yosef 219) observes this unexplained custom, and admonishes those who don't say the blessing. His only possible explanation is the lack of modesty by reciting in front of 10 men, and he disregards this. His final ruling is that she should make the blessing in front of ten - and at the very least, in front of one man or some women.

תמה אני על מנהג העולם שנהגו שאין הנשים מברכות ברכת הגומל. ויראה לי דמנהג בטעות הוא דכיון דברכת הודאה היא זו מי פטר לנשים מברכה זו. ואי משום שצריך לאודויי באנפי עשרה ותרי מינייהו רבנן ואין כבודה של אשה לעמוד בפני האנשים דכל כבודה בת מלך פנימה, אין טענה זו היא מספקת לפטרה מברכה שנתחייבה בה. ועוד שהרי אפשר לאשה לעמוד בבית הכנסת של נשים ולברך ברכת הגומל וישמעו האנשים בבית הכנסת שלהם. ועוד דלא נאמר שצריך לאודויי באנפי עשרה אלא לכתחלה אבל בדיעבד אפילו שלא באנפי עשרה יצא וכמו שהוא דעת רבינו בעל הטורים אף על פי שאין כן דעת הרב יונה ורבינו בית יוסף ז"ל ובאשה שאינה יכולה לברך בפני האנשים לכתחלה תברך שלא בפני עשרה. ולכן נראה שראוי שתברך האשה ברכת הגומל באנפי עשרה ולפחות בפני איש אחד או נשים, ואם בירכה בינה לבין עצמה יצאת. וכמדומה לי ששמעתי מקצת חכמי אשכנזים, שבאשכנז האשה מברכת הגומל כמו האיש, וכן נכון לעשות.

This ruling is echoed by poskim through the following generations in various forms - the Ben Ish Hai (Parshas Ekev 5) rules for women to say it in front of 10 men (in absence of the minyan, shem umalchus should be omitted); Aruch Hashulchan (OC 219) writes that there is no difference between men and women regarding this beracha; R' Moshe Feinstien (Igros Moshe OC V5:14) obligates women without a minyan.

However, the custom for women not to recite the blessing is explained by other poskim. Magen Avraham (219) attempts to defend the minhag by suggesting that the beracha may be considered reshus (optional) - a position discarded by the Pri Megadim. Aruch Hashulchan suggests that the mistake arose from the custom to say Hagomel during Krias Hatorah, which women do not participate in.

Elya Rabba (219:5,12) rules that the husband should make the blessing on his wife's behalf, although in general one cannot make the blessing to discharge another's obligation. His rationale is that misfortunes that befall a woman come as retribution for the husband's sins:

'ולענ"ד טעם המנהג כמו בקטן, וכדאיתא בזוהר פרשת אמור ובש"ס בכמה דוכתא (עי' שבת לב:) דעיקר עונש אשה בחטא בעלה כמו קטן, לכן נ"ל דיותר טוב דבעל יאמר לה ברוך אתה אמ"ה אשר גמלך וכו' והיא תענה אמן ואף שהעלתי לעיל דאוהביו וקרוביו לא יברכו מ"מ בזה יש לסמוך על הפוסקים דמברכין דאשתו כגופו

A creative explanation is given by R' Moshe Shternbuch (Teshuvos VHanhagos V1 195). The Rosh (Berachos 9:3) writes that the blessing of Hagomel is instituted in place of Korban Todah. The Rogatchover Gaon (Rambam Berachos Perek 10:8) infers from Rashi (Menachos 64b) that a woman saved from danger would bring kinim - a bird offering - rather than the customary Todah (see Rashi Zevachim 7). He explains that the thanksgiving in the Korban Todah was primarily during semichah (see Rambam Maaseh Karbanos Perek 3) and women are not obligated in semichah, they would not bring the Korban Todah. R' Shternbuch suggests that therefore they were not included in the beracha that was instituted in place of the Korban Todah.

Mishneh Berurah (219:3) cites the custom not to make the blessing, but follows with the יש אומרים to say it without a minyan. The Chazon Ish (Orchos Rabbeinu p.91 and quoted by R' Shternbuch) ruled that women shouldn't say it, and R' Shlomo Zalman Aurebach (Minchas Shlomo) observed that even in places where a yoledes would make the blessing, they would not do so for other dangers, and explains that the concerns are primarily because of tznius.

  • 1600s is also approximately when we first find records of woman not even praying and skipping all sorts of other (mostly liturgical) mitzvot that they would clearly seem to be obligated in. Despite the valiant effort of some of the poskim of those generations to melamed zechut, it's pretty obvious this was due to lack of woman's education at the time, a problem which thankfully has been largely remedied.
    – Double AA
    Feb 7, 2023 at 2:18

The minhag that I have seen (today, in fact), and which is mentioned in the acharonim in O.C. 219 as well ("some people"), is that the husband makes the bracha at krias hatorah and says shegamalech (or shegamal l'ishti if she's not there). That way, the bracha is done with a kahal (and maybe even 2 rabbanim).

  • 2
    And what does a lady do if she is unmarried? Oct 17, 2010 at 2:17
  • Anyone who has simcha for her safety can make the bracha for her (e.g. her father), though I haven't seen it personally.
    – YDK
    Oct 17, 2010 at 2:36

According to the Igros Moshe Chelek 8 - Orach Chaim 5 - Siman 14, a lady should make the Bracha in front of at least one other person (male or female) -- preferably her husband if she is married -- as rules of Minyan do not apply to women. (The beginning of this Teshuva was the last one Reb Moshe Zatzal ever wrote; it was completed orally.)

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