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This answer states that there is an opinion to recite a bracha upon experiencing winds that shatter stones and mountains such as a hurricane or tornado.

The answer seems to address that you experience these winds. I can see that occuring during a hurricane, as you may be locked up in your home "riding" the hurricane which lasts most of the day.

Chances are you would not directly "ride out" a tornado, itself, unless you had no choice. If you saw a tornado from a distance, but you are not directly experiencing its winds, would you or could you recite any type of bracha?

Fact: based on a deleted comment - If you have watched "Storm Chasers" or any similar U.S. cable TV program, you would see people watching a tornado from a distance of anywhere from 20 - 30 miles to as little as about 1-2 miles. A tornado's wind field is extremely narrow; pretty much limited to the width of the tornado itself. (FYI windspeed in the center of a tornado is calm, just as it is in the eye of a hurricane.) Thus, you can't assume that it's very windy where you may be watching the tornado.

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The source of this Halacha is the Mishna (Brachot 9:2) that does not differentiate between comets, earthquakes, lightning, thunder and winds.

It's obvious that you only saw the comets and lightning and heard the thunder. You can't touch them.

It also doesn't say you have to climb the mountains, swim in the ocean or enter the desert. there too it just says "on them" - implying that you saw any one of them.

עַל הַזִּיקִין, וְעַל הַזְּוָעוֹת, וְעַל הַבְּרָקִים, וְעַל הָרְעָמִים, וְעַל הָרוּחוֹת, אוֹמֵר בָּרוּךְ שֶׁכֹּחוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם. עַל הֶהָרִים, וְעַל הַגְּבָעוֹת, וְעַל הַיַּמִּים, וְעַל הַנְּהָרוֹת, וְעַל הַמִּדְבָּרוֹת, אוֹמֵר בָּרוּךְ עוֹשֵׂה מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית.‏

It would thus seem that seeing or hearing or feeling these phenomena is sufficient.

Rashi on this Mishna in Gemara Brachot 54a also implies that the Bracha is about seeing them:

מלא עולם. לפי שאלו נראין או נשמעין למרחוק

I.e. The Bracha is שֶׁכֹּחוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם since these are visible - or can be heard - from far away.

From Rashi it seems clear that seeing them from afar is sufficient.


All the Poskim use similar wording to the Mishna, lumping winds and comets together:

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 227):

על הזיקים והוא כמין כוכב היורה כחץ באורך השמים ממקום למקום ונמשך אורו כשבט ועל רעדת הארץ ועל הברקים ועל הרעמים ועל רוחות שנשבו בזעף על כל אחד מאלו אומר...‏

He does not say you need to feel the wind.

The Rambam in Hilch. Brachot Ch. 10 has a slightly different order, but also does not mention that you have to actually feel the wind:

עַל הָרוּחוֹת שֶׁנָּשְׁבוּ בְּזַעַף וְעַל הַבְּרָקִים וְעַל הָרְעָמִים וְעַל קוֹל הַהֲבָרָה שֶׁתִּשָּׁמַע בָּאָרֶץ כְּמוֹ רֵיחַיִם גְּדוֹלִים וְעַל הָאוּר שֶׁבַּאֲוִיר שֶׁיֵּרָאוּ כְּאִלּוּ הֵם כּוֹכָבִים נוֹפְלִים וְרָצִים מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם אוֹ כְּמוֹ כּוֹכָבִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם זָנָב עַל כָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ מְבָרֵךְ ...‏

None of the commentaries mention anything about actually experiencing the phenomenon you are about to make a Bracha on; seeing them seems to be sufficient.

They do discuss how strong the wind has to be, some going as far as to say it's a wind that breaks rocks and mountains (Rabeinu Yona, Brachot 42b, "Al"); clearly they do not expect you to experience the wind; you're obviously a fair distance away.

(BTW: It would seem that not only is it sufficient to see the strong wind from a safe distance, but - since they are lumped together - even seeing earthquakes would be sufficient; even of the ground you're standing on didn't shake [perceivably], if you can see buildings or mountains in the distance shaking, you'd make the Bracha.)

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The sources that are being discussed do not actually mention feeling (or seeing, for that matter) the wind. They just says "on the wind..."

I saw a sefer called עין ישראל cited in a likkut sefer (I don't recognize the sefer, though) in which he explains that the point of these blessings are because one is awed by these experiences. Therefore, the measure of how/when you make the blessing is dependent on in what circumstances a person is normally awed by such a thing, such as how often it is seen. R' Melamed says that different sights have different measures of the proximity from which you must see them for the same reason - each has its own point at which it is an inspiring experience.

It seems that the blessing has been generally understood to be applied based on how the situation in which it awes or inspires the person. Therefore, I would apply the above discussion to tornadoes as follows: one doesn't need to feel the tornado to be inspired - just seeing the phenomenon which is tearing up everything in its path is pretty powerful. Thus a blessing could be recited on seeing it.

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