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I attach a picture which contains a prayer that I was sent to say for success in exams. Apart from it having very little to do with exams, I thought this would a be a bracha levatala assuming you ending it by actually saying the tetragrammaton and not just Hashem. Someone reported to me that a local Rabbi wasn't so sure that it is a bracha levatala. It seems as though you are saying God's name in vain here as you have no obligation to say this bracha.

Is there any reason why, when you just say this text alone, it wouldn't be a BL?

Supposedly a prayer for success in exams

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    You may want to clarify that this prayer would be said as a stand-alone prayer. I assume that's what you mean? If it were part of the Shome'ah Tefillah bracha of the Amidah, where, I gather, one may include any personal prayer, and the ending, is Shome'ah tefillah, anyway, this wouldn't be a problem.
    – DanF
    May 5, 2017 at 13:56
  • Why would it be a berakha l'vatala? What is a berakha l'vatalah?
    – mevaqesh
    May 7, 2017 at 2:05
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    In the first siman of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, it says: "יֵשׁ לִמְחוֹת בְּיַד הָאוֹמְרִים תְּחִנּוֹת שֶׁבַּמַּעֲמָדוֹת שֶׁמְּסַיְּמִים, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָּה, אֶלָּא יֵשׁ לוֹמַר, בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָּה, בְּלֹא שֵׁם".
    – Josh
    Jun 6, 2017 at 16:40

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It is forbidden to say a beracha when there is no halachic obligation to do so (see Shulchan Arach OC Siman 215 seif 4). This is true even for a beracha that was formulated by chazal, all the more so for a made up beracha.

I would suggest saying this as a tefila and omitting the "Baruch Ata Hashem Shomeah Tefila"

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The Wikipedia article defines a brocho levatolo as follows (edited):

בהלכה, בְּרָכָה לְבַטָּלָה היא ברכה הנאמרת כאשר אין חיוב לומר אותה. הביטוי המקורי ל"ברכה לבטלה" הוא ברכה שאינה צריכה לפי ההלכה אסור לברך ברכה לבטלה. מקור האיסור הוא בתלמוד הבבלי, בו נאמר: "כל המברך ברכה שאינה צריכה - עובר משום לא תשא" (הכוונה היא לפסוק: "לֹא תִשָּׂא אֶת שֵׁם ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ לַשָּׁוְא", ומכאן שהאיסור נובע מכך שהאדם אומר את שם ה' ללא צורך, ויש בכך משום פגיעה בכבוד ה

I understand that the prohibition is to utter Hashem's name when there is no need.

(This is because the origin of the prohibition is from a blessing that is not needed ברכה שאינה צריכה. I could also consider the use of the word חיוב which we normally translate as “obligation” could be applied to this case since we are obligated to love our neighbour as ourselves.)

Therefore it seems that it is allowed to use Hashem's name to pray for someone else's success. No brocho levatolo is involved.

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  • Interesting how you and @LeAfrusha took exactly the same Halacha and derived opposite inferences from it.
    – DonielF
    May 8, 2017 at 1:16

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