In which practically applicable situation(s) (if ever) nowadays would one make the Beracha of מציב גבול אלמנה?

I'm looking for a Halachic definition of which places would qualify, when the Beracha would be made, if it would be said with "Shem Umalchus" etc.

The source of this Beracha is in Berachos 58b:

ת"ר הרואה בתי ישראל בישובן אומר ברוך מציב גבול אלמנה

It is discussed at length by Tur/Beis Yosef, Shulchan Aruch, and many Nosei Keilim in OC 224:10.

  • What are you in doubt about? If you go see built up Jewish towns and haven't seen them in 30 days you say the blessing. This doesn't seem complicated. "when the beracha would be made" when you see it. "if it would be said with 'Shem Umalchus'" yes, like all blessings. – Double AA Jan 25 '18 at 17:10
  • As you prob. already know there is a disagreement between rishonim if it is said on (re)settled Jewish towns or on a new synagogue in the town (cf. Rif to cites gem. and Taz & MGA §224; MB ibid. says to say without shem u'malchut). I don't know the exact parameters of its application but a later authority such as R. Yehuda Aszod (Ya'aleh Yehuda YD §277) upheld this opinion in his time. – Oliver Jan 25 '18 at 17:21
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    @DoubleAA What is a "built-up Jewish town"? (what is considered "built-up", what is considered "Jewish", and what is considered a "town") Does this apply to Israel only, or Chutz Laaretz too? Do they have to be rebuilt from an earlier time? How big would they have to be? What would one have to see in order to make the Beracha? Would it be made with Shem Umalchus in all situations? Etc. Etc. – רבות מחשבות Jan 25 '18 at 17:26
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    @DoubleAA, Jewish towns? The source cited in the question says nothing about towns. – msh210 Jan 25 '18 at 17:33
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    @msh210 Nor about the houses of Kohanim... – Double AA Jan 25 '18 at 17:35


While I don't claim to know the ins and outs of the sugya, the below seems clear.

Kindly describe the mistakes so I can know what exactly they are.

Essentially, the issue is that the Beit Yosef understands Rashi to say it's only recitable BaZeman HaBayit and in Eretz Yisrael, while the Rif limits it to Batei Kenessiot.

If you're looking for contemporary Poskim, Rav Chaim David HaLevi (Mekor Chaim 95:8, Aseh Lecha Rav vol 4 Siman 5 at the end) does not allow one to recite the Berach with Shem uMalchut (although he really feels it's fine). Similarly, Rav David Yosef (Halacha Berurah 224:21) recommends one say it bli shem umalchut upon seeing fine homes and synagogues, either in Eretz Yisrael or Chutz LaAretz, as a Chumra for Rashi's shitah that it's only BaZeman HaBayit. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Ma'amar Mordechai vol. 3 Kedushat HaAretz Siman 3) seems to hold that way, as well. However, Piskei Teshuvot (224:9) concedes that one who does recite the Beracha on glamorous Batei Kenesiot and Batei Midrashot in Eretz Yisrael isn't out of line. See Mishneh Halachot 10:75.

LeMaaseh, HaRav Hershel Schachter recited the Beracha when visiting Yeshivat Elon Moreh a couple years ago. I haven't heard him speak about the sugya yet.

The aforementioned Rav Meir Bareli himself wrote an article in HaMaayan (Tishri 5771, 51-1, page 39) on this very topic. See R' Melamed's article and Peninei Halacha, as well as R' Yehuda Amichai's article for more.

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  • Wow, excellent collection and summary! Thank you so much! – רבות מחשבות Jan 29 '18 at 5:02
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    BeSimchah Rabbah. Thank you for the motivation to learn late at night after a wedding. – MDjava Jan 29 '18 at 5:03
  • It's not actually true that Rashi holds it's only Bezman Habayit. – Double AA Jan 29 '18 at 12:24
  • @רבות this isn't that great a summary at all. Just a few names on one side (and some external sources). You should consider waiting for something better to accept. – Double AA Jan 29 '18 at 12:34
  • @DoubleAA, that's what these Acharonim write the maskana of the Beit Yosef to be. Only Rav Chaim David HaLevi thinks Rashi really meant whenever there is Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael – MDjava May 5 '19 at 22:21

When the Churva was rebuilt, a friend of mine asked R' Elyashiv if he should make a matziv gvul almana with shem u'malchus, and he said not to because since there wasn't a kollel there it was unclear if it would become a tourist site/museum, or function as a shul. However, nowadays there is a kollel there, and while this is not enough for me to make a bracha without being able to ask him again, you definitely see that there was such a tzad.

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