We are beginning siman 3. On oceans and mountains which are renowned for their height, one makes the bracha of oseh maaseh bereishis. Examples of such mountains include the Rocky Mountains,the Alps, and the Himalayas.
The Mishnah which teaches us about this bracha also lists rivers as an example of a natural wonder upon which this bracha is made. The Chayei Adam, and many other poskim, do not mention rivers at all. The Shulchan Aruch explains that oseh maaseh bereishis is recited on an item which reminds a person of the original maaseh bereishis due to its having remained in the same exact place as Hashem originally put it when the world was created. Since rivers tend to shift due to the current eroding the riverbanks, they are not in the same places they were at the time of maaseh bereishis, so we do not make the bracha. Therefore, even a place such as Niagara Falls does not receive a bracha, as there is no source to make a bracha on a waterfall, and we no longer make the bracha on a river.
However, one may the bracha without Hashem’s name if they wish.
This bracha is not limited to oceans. It applies to seas and certain lakes as well. The Black Sea is one of the seas mentioned in halacha as an example of a sea upon which this bracha is made, so certainly one can make the bracha on any of the Great Lakes, which are bigger than the Black Sea.
- The bracha of oseh maaseh bereishis is made on oceans, seas, large lakes and mountains renowned for their height.
- We no longer make the bracha on a river. However, one may make the bracha without Hashem’s name.