How come we don’t say a bracha on giving tzedaka, doing kibud av va’am, and moving to isreal when they are all mitzvas?

Answer:

There are many mitzvos that we don’t make a berachah over, and authorities suggest different reasons for this. Please see sources below.

Sources:

The Rashba suggests (vol. 1, no. 18 and 254) that the reason why we do not recite a blessing prior to many mitzvos is because these are dependent on the wants and needs of a third party. On account of their dependency on another person, who is able to “uproot” the mitzvah at will (for example, by the parent foregoing his honor, or by his refusing to accept the requested drink, or by a poor person refusing to accept charity), no blessing is recited over them.

The Rashba thus provides us with a key distinction for understanding why we do not recite a blessing prior to many mitzvos, such as giving charity, honoring parents, visiting the sick, mishloach manos on Purim, and other similar mitzvos.

It is interesting to note that with regard to the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem, the Pischei Teshuvah (Yoreh De’ah 157:6) quotes that a blessing should be recited upon giving up one’s life for the sake of sanctifying the Name: “who sanctified us with His mitzvos, and commanded us to sanctify His Name in public.” Although the mitzvah depends on a third party (the murderer), a blessing can be recited because once a person decides to give his life away, he fulfills the mitzvah even if he is ultimately saved from death.

Yet, there are many mitzvos that do not fit the explanation of the Rashba, and which we nonetheless do not recite a blessing over. These include writing a sefer torah, recounting the tale of our redemption from Egypt, being joyous on festivals, eating three meals on Shabbos, hag’alas keilim, among several others. Poskim suggest a variety of reasons for each of them, the mitzvah of settling the land of Israel being on such mitzvah.

Today, one reason for not reciting a blessing is that there is a dispute among rishonim concerning whether the full mitzvah applies or not. Another reason for not reciting a berachah is that the settling of the land might not work out (experience shows that this sometimes happens), so that making a berachah would not be suitable.

Best wishes.

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