Is there a reason for the mother of a Bar Mitzvah to ask someone to recite sheptorani (the father is not Jewish)? Some hold that the grandfather may say sheptorani when the Bar Mitzvah’s father has passed away, but in my humble opinion the mother has no obligation at all to recite this blessing. Thank you for the answer.

Answer:

The mother can say the berachah herself, at home. This is not an obligation, but there is reason for her to say the berachah.

Sources:

There are two opinions concerning why a father says the berachah of baruch sheptarani.

The Levush (225:2) writes that the reason is because a son is punished for the misdeeds of the father (and this adds to the father’s crime), whereas after bar mitzvah a son no longer suffers the sins of his father. The Magen Avraham (225:5), however, explains that a father is punished for the misdeeds of his son until the age of bar mitzvah, when a son becomes responsible for his own actions.

Many authorities have pointed out that a Midrash supports the Magen Avraham’s position (see Midrash Bereishis Rabba 63:10; Yefei Torah p. 376; Lev Mevin, Ishus 24:11; Eliyahu Zuta 225:3; among others).

The Peri Megadim (225:1) writes that according to the Magen Avraham, a woman does not recite baruch sheptarani, because women are not obligated in the chinuch of their children (as we find in the Magen Avraham 343:1 concerning ensuring that a child does not transgress), and are therefore not punished for their children’s misdeeds.

He adds that even according to the Levush, the berachah does not apply to women, because children are not punished on account of their mother – though there are some Talmudic sources that suggest that this is not the case.

However, a number of poskim who write that women are obligated in the chinuch of their children, as we find in the Chikekei Lev (19), and in the Sefer Chasidim (566).

Moreover, it is possible that even if a woman is not obligated in the chinuch of her children, this is true only while their father is alive. After a father’s death, it is possible that a woman becomes obligated in the chinuch of her children, because the children are in her custody. This idea will also apply to a mother of a child born from a non-Jewish father.

Yet, it is also possible that the berachah of baruch sheptarani was only enacted to be recited in shul at the time of being called up to the Torah, and therefore a woman, who is not called up to the Torah, does not recite it (Iggros Moshe, Orach Chaim 5, no. 14).

It therefore appears that it is proper for a woman to recite the berachah at home, without mentioning the name of Hashem.

Concerning the question of a grandfather, some write that he should recite the berachah because of his obligation to teach his grandchildren Torah (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 245:3). See Maharsham 8:33; Betzel Ha-Chochman 5:3; Rivevos Efraim 1:157, sec. 2.

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