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1216 – Birchos Hodaah – (Klal 63 Siman 4) – Zocher Habris 5 – Rainbows

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1216 - Birchos Hodaah - (Klal 63 Siman 4) - Zocher Habris 5 - Rainbows
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 We are beginning siman 4. The Chayei Adam writes that when one sees a rainbow, they recite the bracha of zocher habris ve’ne’eman bivriso vekayam bema’amaro. 

The Shulchan Aruch writes that one only makes the bracha on a rainbow which appears after rain in the clouds. If one sees a rainbow in a waterfall or the like due to mist, they do not recite the bracha. 

This bracha is not limited to every 30 days, but can be said on every new storm (i.e., provided that the clouds parted in between sightings).

The Biur Halacha points out that the Hebrew word for rainbow, keshes, refers to the bow of a bow and arrow. Therefore, he suggests that maybe one can only make the bracha when the rainbow is full, where there is a bow shape to it. Due to the safeik, we only recite the bracha on a full rainbow. One does not have to see the entire rainbow to make the bracha, but just has to be sure it is a full rainbow.

The Chayei Adam writes that it is assur to stare at a rainbow for an extended period of time. Rather, one should look at the rainbow in order to make the bracha and then turn away. In the Zohar, the rainbow is described as being part of the k’vod Hashem, so a person can look but should not stare. 

The Chayei Adam brings that a person should not share with others that there is a rainbow, both when the rainbow is out and after it has gone away. He explains that seeing a rainbow is an indication that the generation should be destroyed, but that Hashem is not destroying us due to the bris He made with Noach. Chazal teach us that motzi dibbah hu kesil, one who shares negative information is a fool. Although we are no longer makpid on this chazal in regards to sharing information about a levaya, one should follow the Chayei Adam regarding a rainbow. 

If one is asked whether there is a rainbow outside, they can respond indirectly, by saying something such as “I never said there is not a rainbow” from which the other person can infer the answer.  

Summary

  • The bracha recited on a rainbow is zocher habris ve’ne’eman bivriso vekayam bema’amaro.
  • The bracha is only made on a rainbow seen in the clouds, not on a rainbow created due to mist.
  • The bracha is not limited to every 30 days, but can be made after every storm, provided the clouds parted in between.
  • Due to a safeik, one should only make the bracha on a full rainbow.
  • One should not stare at the rainbow for an extended period of time, but should turn away after making the bracha. Similarly, one should not share with others that there is or was a rainbow.
    • If one is asked directly whether there is a rainbow outside, they should respond in an indirect manner from which the person can infer the answer

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