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Hilchos Tefillin 46 (page 150)
מסעיף ט עד תחילת סימן מז

Is it Permissible to Recite Ma Tovu Before Birchos Hashachar?
Reciting Shema in L'olam
Reciting Shema Ahead of the Minyan

Is it permissible to recite Ma Tovu before Birchos Hashachar?
Every morning Birchos haTorah are recited to cover the day's Torah studies. It is forbidden to study Torah prior to reciting these berachos. According to the Mechaber, it is forbidden to recite pesukim as part of tefilos before Birchos HaTorah. According to the Rama and others, it is technically permissible to recite pesukim as part of tefilos but customary not to. Accordingly, Birchos haTorah should be recited prior to reciting selichos, Ma Tovu and other pesukim said in the morning.
( סעיף ט, ס"ק כז-כח, ושעה"צ ס"ק כד; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 34)
 Reciting Shema in L'olam
The pasuk of Shema Yisrael (and in some siddurim the entire first parsha) was incorporated into L'olam for those times when it is necessary to fulfill the mitzva of Shema at that juncture in davening (see below). According to the Gra, the complete pasuk is said only when attempting to fulfill the mitzva during L'olam. Otherwise, only half the pasuk ( Shema Yisrael or Hashem E-lokenu, Hashem Echad) is said. The poskim discuss whether the passage should conclude with a beracha.
( סעיף ט, ס"ק לא, וביה"ל ד"ה כי)
Reciting Shema ahead of the minyan
According to the Mechaber and Rama, if a minyan will conclude the berachos and Shemoneh Esrei before the time of Shemoneh Esrei, but will miss, or possibly miss, reciting Shema before its correct time, an individual should include the entire Shema (all three parshios) when reciting L'olam. He may then daven along with the minyan. It is possible that some poskim disagree. If the minyan will miss reciting the berachos and Shemoneh Esrei before the correct time, all poskim agree that an individual should recite the entire davening on time without the minyan.
( סעיף ט, ס"ק לא-לב, וביה"ל ד"ה כי וד"ה ויוצא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 43, עם הרחבת המקור)

  • There is an opinion that women should recite the morning berachos in the feminine form, and that is the Sefardi custom. The Ashkenazi custom is that women recite these berachos in the masculine form.
  • A ger tzedek does not recite the beracha "...Who did not make me a goy." There is discussion as to whether it is appropriate for him to recite a blessing "...Who made me a ger" or whether this phrasing is inappropriate since he chose to become a ger on his own volition.
  • According to the Mechaber, Birchos Hashachar are to thank Hashem for every individual's blessings. As such, a blind man cannot recite pokeiach ivrim ("...Who opens the eyes of the blind") since he is blind. According to the Rama, these berachos speak of the general blessings in the world, and an individual who does not benefit from a particular blessing himself can still recite the beracha over it.

  • Are Birchos HaTorah required mid'oraisa or mid'rabonon?

  • Which types of study are forbidden prior to Birchos HaTorah?

  • What is the beracha upon concluding sleep?