|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 6
Tosefta 201[If] ten [people] were doing ten [different] Mitzvot (commandments) [while being together, then] each [person] says a Beracha (blessing) [on each Mitzvah (commandment)] for himself.2 [If] all of them were doing one Mitzvah [together, then] one [person] says [one] Beracha [on that Mitzvah] for everyone.3 One [person] that was doing ten [different] Mitzvot says a [separate] Beracha on each [Mitzvah].4 One [person] that was doing one Mitzvah the whole day [without interruption] only says one Beracha [on it, in the beginning]. [However, if] he was stopping [in the middle of the performance of the Mitzvah] and then doing it [again] he says a [new] Beracha on each [new performance of that Mitzvah].5
מסכת ברכות פרק ו
עשרה שהיו עושין עשר מצות, כל אחד ואחד מברך לעצמו. היו עושין כולן מצוה אחת, אחד מברך לכולן. יחיד שהיה עושה עשר מצות מברך על כל אחת ואחת. היה עושה מצוה אחת כל היום אינו מברך אלא פעם אחת. היה מפסיק ועושה מפסיק ועושה מברך על כל אחת ואחת.
- The Tosefta states a new law regarding Berachot. It is not related to any Mishna.
- Meaning that these ten people were sitting in the same room, but each one of them was involved in performing a different Mitzvah. For example, one person was putting on Tefillin, the second person was putting on Tzitzit, the third person was slaughtering a chicken, etc… Then it is considered that each person is involved in his own private Mitzvah and he has nothing to do with the other people present in the room, and therefore each one of them says a Beracha on his own Miztvah to himself.
- For example, if ten people were sitting together at the table and water was brought to them to wash hands before eating bread. One person should say the Beracha of Al Netilat Yadayim for washing hands before eating for everyone, since all of them are involved in the same Mitzvah of washing hands. The reason that one person should say the Beracha for everyone is the same as when many people sit down to eat together and one person says the Beracha over the food for everyone, as was mentioned earlier in Tosefta Berachot 4:8. We have a principal called Berav Am Hadrat Melech (The King (i.e. God) is glorified among the multitude of people). It gives greater honor to God when many people do a Mitzvah together as one. See Talmud Bavli Berachot 53a.
- At first this statement of the Tosefta may seem obvious. Since a person is doing many different Mitzvot then he should say a separate Beracha on each Mitzvah since they have nothing to do with each other. However, the Tosefta has a very important point to make. It specifically excludes the opinion of the Tanna Kama in a Beraita quoted in Talmud Bavli (Sukkah 46a) who says that if a person was about to perfom many different Mitzvot he should say one Beracha on all of them. The Beracha according to that opinion would be Baruch Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Al Hamitzvot – Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us regarding the Mitzvot (commandments). This Tosefta goes like the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah also quoted in that Beraita who says that the person would have to say a separate Beracha on each Mitzvah. The Gemara explains that the reason for Rebbi Yehudah’s opinion is based on the verse in Tehillim (68:20).
- For example, if the person would put on Tefillin in the morning and not take it off the whole day then he would only say the Beracha once before he puts it on in the morning. However if he decided to take a break from wearing it and took it off for a significant period of time then when he puts it back on again that same day he would have to say another Beracha. I have specifically used the example of Tefillin, because there is an argument in Talmud Bavli (Sukkah 46a) between Rebbi and the Rabbanan if a person would take off Tefillin in the middle of the day and then put it back after a significant break if he needs to say a new Beracha on it or not. This Tosefta follows the opinion of Rebbi who says that he would need to say a new Beracha after every interruption. The reason for Rabbanan’s opinion is not really clear.