Question:

I have recently discovered that my father is more interested in Yiddishkeit than I realized. Recently I offered to learn the parsha with him and other Torah subjects and he agreed. So far it is enhancing our visits together and I hope it is giving him chizuk. It occurred to me that perhaps I should say Birkas Hatorah for my father. Can and should I say it for him to be motzie him in the same manner one would make kiddush for another bar chiuva even though he was already yotzei kiddush himself? Should I say it in Hebrew or English so he will understand the bracha? On the topic, I have been uncomfortable about asking my father to put on a yarmulka when we learn. Is that something that I should make a big deal about? I don’t want him to feel patronized. A few weeks ago he asked me how to make a bracha on some food. I didn’t want to say, “You have to put on a yarmulka first,” and just prompted him. I wasn’t really sure how to handle the situation. I thought it was nice that he wanted to make a bracha. I will try to mention it, in particular if we are going to say Birkas Hatorah, but I want to know if I can still learn with him if he doesn’t wear a yarmulka. If he wouldn’t want to wear a yarmulka, it would not be l’hachis.

Answer:

You can still learn with him even if he does not wear a yarmulke, and we hope with the passage of time he himself will start wearing one. I think it would be more beneficial to start sayiny Birkas Hatorah in English so that your father understands what you are saying. After he has become well acquainted with the brocho you can switch to Hebrew.

Sources:

Shabbos 156b & Mishnah Berurah 11. O:CH 62:2 Mishnah Berurah 3 Biur Halacha ד”ה יכול

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