Standing for the blessing of the Torah

By Rabbi Chaim Chazzan


May one sit whilst reciting birkas hatorah?


The general rule is that brochos on mitzvos (in contrast to brochos on food for example) must be recited whilst standing[1]. Chazal[2] derive this from a play on the words in the pesukim regarding sefiras ho’omer[3]: “mehocheil chermesh bakomo” – which literarily means: count the omer from when the sickle begins felling the standing grain. The word “bakomo” is understood to mean “while standing”.  There is a further gezeira shava to all other mitzvos where the word “lochem” is used.  However Chazal use the inclusive expression “all brochos on mitzvos need to be recited whilst standing”. This leads to a discussion to determine exactly which brochos on mitzvos the Chazal had in mind.

Many achronim[4] are of the opinion that the brocha on mitzvos which may be performed whilst sitting may also be recited whilst sitting. Based on this many poskim[5] permit sitting during birkas hatorah, since Torah may be (and indeed usually is) studied whilst sitting.

It appears[6], however, from the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch[7] that the brocha for mitzvos that are performed whilst sitting should be recited whilst standing. Hence[8] it would follow that birkas hatorah must be recited whilst standing.

Other poskim[9] state that according to Kabbala one should stand for birkas hatorah, whilst others[10] say the reason to stand is since one ought[11] to reenact in one’s mind the experience at Har Sinai whilst reciting birkas hatorah, we therefore stand as we stood then to receive the Torah.

In summary: the common practice is to stand, some say that it is merely a custom but not mandatory, however it would seem that according to the Alter Rebbe it is obligatory.


Reprinted with permission from  Lmaan Yishmeu – a project of Mercaz Anash. To see more articles visit

[1] ב”י או”ח ריש סי’ ח’ מאורחות חיים בשם הירושלמי, הו”ד בשו”ע אדה”ז שם ס”ג.

[2] הובא בראשונים בשם חז”ל אף שאינו מופיע בתלמודים שלנו, ראה המצויין בפסקי תשובות סי’ ח הע’ 30

[3] דברים טז

[4] אלי’ רבה סי’ ח ס”ק ב, פני יהושע מגילה כא ע”א, מור וקציעה סי’ ח, חכמת שלמה להגרש”ק שם.

[5] כן מפורש בשו”ת רמ”ע מפאנו סי’ קב לענין ברכת התורה, ערוה”ש סי’ מז סעי’ ז, שו”ת יחוה דעת ח”ה סי’ ד, באר משה ח”ה סי’ יז תשובות והנהגות ח”ב סי’ לז ועוד.

[6] כ”כ בחקרי הלכות ח”ט יא, ב. וכן נראה דעת המג”א סי’ ח ס”ק ב’, ופמ”ג בא”א שם, וכ”ד העמודי אש סי’ ב אות לו הו”ד ביחו”ד שם

[7] שם

[8] כן נלענ”ד ע”פ דברי חקרי הלכות הנ”ל, וכ”כ ביחו”ד שם בדעת המג”א

[9] שו”ת ישכיל עבדי (ח”ח חאו”ח סי’ ג), שו”ת ציץ אליעזר חט”ז סי’ ב

[10] שו”ת מראה כהן הו”ד בפסקי תשובות סי’ מז, ד

[11] טור סי’ מז.

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