Daily Blessings: Before Performing Mitzvot

Daily Blessings: Before Performing Mitzvot Print E-mail
All transliterations, commentary, and audio recordings are copyright © 1997, 1998, 2002, 2009 by Jordan Lee Wagner. All rights reserved.

 

Affixing a Mezzuzah

Before completing the installation of a mezzuzah:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
lik-bo-a  m’zu-zah.
  Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
to affix a mezzuzah.

If some architectural consideration, or the room’s function, places the requirement for a mezzuzah in doubt, affix the mezzuzah but do not recite the blessing.  For more information, see the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 51.

Fencing a Hazard

Before completing the installation of a railing around one’s own roof or other hazard:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
la-a-sot  ma-a-keh.
Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
to make a "parapet".

Separating Challah

Before separating challah:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
l’haf-rish  cha-lah  min  ha-i-sah.
Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
to separate challah from the dough.

The special bread that we enjoy on the Sabbath is called challah rather than lechem to remind us to perform this mitzvah when baking.  If the quantity of dough makes the requirement to separate challah doubtful, separate but do not recite the blessing.   For more information, see the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 35.)

Immersing Utensils

Before immersing a utensil (or utensils) in a mikvah:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
al  t’vi-lat  kei-li(m).
Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
concerning the immersion of vessel(s).

If uncertainty concerning composition of materials or prior ownership make the requirement to immerse doubtful, immerse the vessels but do not recite the blessing.  For more information, see the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 37.)

Separating Tithes

The fruits, vegetables, and grains grown within the biblically designated boundaries of The Land of Israel must have a portion set aside as tithes (divinely-mandated taxes in kind) before they can be eaten.

Before separating the various tithes from Israeli produce, recite this blessing:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
l’haf-rish  t’ru-mot  u-ma-s’rot.
Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
to separate terumot and tithes.

Separate a bit more than one percent of the produce, and then recite the following four declarations in English (or whatever language you understand):

Whatever [I’ve set aside that] is in excess of one percent of everything here, is hereby declared to be terumah (i.e., the priestly tithe) and is [hereby declared to be] the northernmost portion [of what has been set aside].

The one percent [of everything here] that is the remaining amount set aside here, along with nine equal amounts that are the uppermost portion of the [rest of the] produce, are declared to be the first tithe (i.e., the levitical tithe).

The one percent that I have [already set aside and have just] made [part of] the first tithe, is hereby declared to be the terumah portion of the first tithe.

Nine more equal amounts that are the lowermost part of [the rest of] the produce are declared to be the second tithe — but if this produce must have the tithe of the poor separated from it, let [these nine percent] be the tithe of the poor.

If it is likely that the location of the source of produce was within Eretz Yisraeil, but doubtful whether or not tithes were already taken, the tithes should be separated but without reciting the blessing, but the four English declarations should still be made.

Then recite the following blessing for the second tithe:

Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai
E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam,
a-sher  ki-d’sha-nu  b’mitz-vo-tav,
v’tsi-va-nu
lif-dot  ma-a-seir  shei-ni.
Blessed are You, HaShem,
our God, King of the Universe,
who makes us holy through His commandments,
and commanded us
to redeem the second tithe.

If it is doubtful whether or not the second tithe was already redeemed, the tithe should be redeemed but do not recite the blessing.  The English declaration below should still be recited.
The second tithe — both it and its extra fifth — is hereby redeemed by one perutah out of the coin that I have set aside for the redemption of the second tithe.
The bit of food that was originally set aside is not eaten nor thrown away, but left somewhere to decompose naturally.  If this is inconvenient it may be buried.
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