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According to the Gemara (Brachos 11b), once one has made the blessing of Ahava Raba before saying Shema, than he no longer has to make birkas hatorah in order to learn Torah afterwords. The Shulchan Aruch codifies this as the halakha, provided that one learn Torah immediately afterwords (see O.C 47:7), and this is agreed upon by almost all of the commentators, including the Mishnah Berurah there.

Based on this, why should we say the Birkas HaTorah at the very beginning of davening at all, isn't it not needed - a bracha (or two) she'einah tzericha (see Tosfos Menachos 36a s.v. Sach)? Wouldn't we rather minimize the amount of brachos said, even if this beracha is necessary (see Tosfos there)?

(I understand that there's a need if one holds that pesukei dezimrah cannot be said before making a bracha on the Torah because it includes pesukim, but the Rama (46:9) doesn't hold that way.)

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    What if you want to learn before praying? – Double AA Jul 8 '14 at 15:11
  • Parallel opposite judaism.stackexchange.com/q/18371/759 – Double AA Jul 8 '14 at 15:13
  • How do you know it is necessary? Maybe if you are late to shul or something you should skip it. – Double AA Jul 8 '14 at 15:14
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    @DoubleAA yeah, you probably should. But once it isn't necessary, it should be prohibited, because it's a bracha sheinah tzericha. I thought that unnecessary brachos are not allowed to be said – הנער הזה Jul 8 '14 at 15:27
  • It's only unnecessary if you choose not to say those Pesukim and such after them. By forcing yourself to learn some Torah aren't you generating an obligation? If I eat an apple even if not hungry I still say a bracha. – Double AA Jul 8 '14 at 15:28
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Please look at the Shulchan Aruch, Siman 50 (and Mishna Brura there) where there is a discussion about the Parshiot Tamid, Mishna Eizehu Mekoman and the Braita of R' Yishmael. These three components were originally instituted (and still are) for one's daily learning. Therefore Ahavat Olam/Rabba would not work since it is recited much later in the Morning prayers.

  • I know. Why can't we just skip the bracha though, and say all of those paragraphs after davening? – הנער הזה Jul 8 '14 at 15:47
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    Because it was all set up by Chazal as a preparation for davening, not to mention how each section is related to each of the 4 worlds (from the Ariza"l's writing/Kabbala). – user4751 Jul 8 '14 at 15:52
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    If it's mainly meant as a preparation for davening (which seems to be how we pasken, as most people say these passages even on Tisha Be'Av) then perhaps there is no need for Birkas Hatorah? And it wasn't established by 'chazal' (meaning pre-geonim) to be said before davening, and kabbalah seems to me like a bad reason to make an otherwise unnecessary bracha – הנער הזה Jul 8 '14 at 15:57
  • "then perhaps there is no need for Birkas Hatorah?" This might touch on the argument of whether Birkas HaTorah is a Birkat Mitzvah or Birkat Shevach. – user4751 Jul 8 '14 at 16:05
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    Well, my question (see above) was according to the Rama that we don't make birkas hatorah on pesukim said for davening – הנער הזה Jul 8 '14 at 16:07

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