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QUESTION

Washington, D.C.

Regarding Birkat HaGomeil, the Shulchan Arukh (OC 219:6) suggests you can still say the berakhah after three days have passed. Arukh HaShulchan seems to suggest that someone can say the berakhah after three days as long as they haven’t forgotten the incident. A congregant heard me give over this halakha and asked if he could make the berakhah 50 years later! He still remembers the event clearly as it was very traumatic. Is this an appropriate interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch and Arukh HaShulchan or is it taking things too far? Thank you.

ANSWER

The simple language of the Shulchan Arukh is indeed that there is no time limit. Arukh HaShulchan’s limit should not be an issue here, since he does remember the incident. Although debated, there is a general consensus of the poskim, or at least a significant number of them, that there is no time limit. See Piskei Teshuvot OC 219:6 who permits it, and sights, among others, Siddur Yavetz, Chida, Sedei Chemed, and Arukh HaShulchan, assuming he still remembers and feels the experience