I know you bentch Gomel when you are involved in a dangerous instance- e.g. overseas travel, illness, etc.

However, is there a similar-yet-different bracha that you make for avoiding a disaster? Here's an example:

Last month, a train crashed into the Hoboken terminal. I go through Hoboken every day on my commute, and would have been there at the time of the crash. Many people were hurt and one died.

However, I was in California that day, obviously out of my routine, so I missed the whole thing.

So while I wasn't in a dangerous situation, it was a place I'd normally be in. I avoided the disaster, rather than survived it.

Is there a bracha for such a situation?

  • 1
    Belittling or not, I see that you've gained new appreciation for how difficult it is to categorize such things. Halakha needs rules for when things apply, and "involved in a dangerous instance" just isn't going to cut it here. We can continue with more cases and try and find every possible distinction between them, but I think you get the point. – Double AA Nov 8 '16 at 22:45
  • possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/40902/759 – Double AA Nov 8 '16 at 22:50
  • See ravaviner.com/2015_05_01_archive.html. – mevaqesh Nov 9 '16 at 0:05
  • Modim by Shemoneh Esrei? – TrustMeI'mARabbi Nov 9 '16 at 1:19

You don't need to say Hagomel.

Your case is not included in the four who have to thank in Gemara Berachot 54b, which are paradigms linked for Birkat Hagomel:

Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: There are four [classes of people] who have to offer thanksgiving: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traversed the wilderness, one who has recovered from an illness, and a prisoner who has been set free.

The above is really congruent with your observation but I think that your case is included in the below halachot on Rambam, Ahava, Berachot, end of chapter 10:

If one departs in peace, he should say: I thank You, God, my Lord, for allowing me to depart in peace. As You have allowed me to depart in peace, lead me [on my way] in peace, direct my steps in peace, support me in peace, and save me from the hands of the enemies and lurking foes on the way.

The general rule is: A person should always cry out [to God] over future possibilities, asking for mercy. He should thank [God] for what has transpired in the past, thanking Him and praising Him according to his capacity.

Whoever praises and thanks God abundantly and continuously is worthy to be praised.

The significance of to be far from a disaster is only an enlightenment of last sentence above. Through this we understand how great is the need to thank HaShem when all is OK. Some Rishonim said that routine life is made by nisim nistarim. Through avoiding a disaster recently, you can realize this and say this prayer with a great feeling every time that it is necessary .

I have seen the link of @mevaqesh, in name of Rav Soloveitshick and rav Bick. At first glance the examples cited have a great similarity with the four items listed in Gemara:, a danger was identified at some time, generating fear. In this, poskim linked them to the four paradigms. In the case of the OP this characteristic is absent. To extrapolate needs strong arguments.

The Mizmor Yoshev Beseter Elyon (91) talk about the avoided problems.

For he shall save you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you find refuge; his truth shall be your shield and buckler.You shall not be afraid of the terror by night; nor of the arrow that flies by day; Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.

  • At first glance the examples cited have a great similarity with the four items listed in Gemara:, an danger seems present at some time, generating fear. But who says that this is the determinant? – mevaqesh Nov 9 '16 at 22:37
  • @mevaqesh I think that this is determinant because you can interpret each case from the four in a deterministic point of view as the case of the rav Soloveitshik. The only danger was retroactively a subjective feeling, danger which did not lead to disaster is deterministic saying only a feeling. But in the OP this is not the case. I have not Ruach Hakadosh and perhaps I am wrong but my svara is not bad. Aderaba This is a good svara but not more. This is sufficient for halacha lo lemaasse. The contrary is also a svara, but less strong in my point of view. – kouty Nov 10 '16 at 2:58

This is similar to the case Rav Heinemann of the Star-K gives for not benching gomel: If you hung your laundered pants out to dry on the clothesline and it flew away hitting the ground hundreds of feet below, you don't bench gomel because if you were in those pants at that moment who knows what would have happened. Same would apply where you're not BH part of the disaster, just could've been there.

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