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I understand that the Vilna Gaon did not approve of singing the zemiroh “Tzur Mishelo” on Shabbos because it could be valid as Grace after Meals.

But on Shabbos, Grace after Meals is not valid without including “Retzai”; there is no mention of "Retzai" there, so why did he not approve?

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Do you know for certain that the Vilna Gaon felt that Retzai was needed? –  avi Jan 14 '12 at 20:07
    
No, good point. But the halocho for us is that we have to repeat bensching if we leave it out (except the third meal). I assumed the Gr"a would agree. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Jan 14 '12 at 21:27
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I heard this in the name of the Brisker Rav. Can anyone find an actual source for this chumra? –  Double AA Jan 15 '12 at 0:36
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The bigger question is it doesn't have "shem and malchut" (God's name and a reference to His Kingship) which are the definitional minimum for a blessing. See Shulchan Aruch OC 214 –  Double AA Jan 15 '12 at 0:40
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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/13476. –  msh210 Jan 20 '12 at 16:10
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1 Answer

Per Kovetz Bais Aharon V'Yisroel in an article written by Rabbi Aizik Ausband he writes that according to those that Mitzvos do not need Kavana, when you are singing Tzur MiShelo you are in essence Bentching - therefore it is best not to say it. He also mentions that The Gra also wrote not to say it and it is not printed in his Siddur.

In the next paragraph it seems that Tzur MiShelo was sung at Shalosh Seudos (the 3rd meal) and since at times people are not really hungry then, Birchas HaMazon is only MiDrabanan.

http://www.berachot.org/Q+A/q6.html

Regarding the 3rd meal on Shabbat (Seudat Sheleshit or Shalosh Sheudos), since there are opinions that one doesn’t need to eat bread at that meal – one would not repeat the bentching if he forgot the addition. And, in regard to Yom Tov, this is certainly true – since everyone holds one doesn’t need to eat a third bread meal on Yom Tov.

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Shouldn't this be a comment to Double AA's comment? –  Shmuel Brin Jan 15 '12 at 3:04
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I think this answers the question. –  Gershon Gold Jan 15 '12 at 3:06
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He asks that Tzur Mishelo lacks Retzei, thereby invalidating benching. Where does Kavana come in? –  Shmuel Brin Jan 15 '12 at 3:08
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I don't see how this answers the question about Retzei. –  avi Jan 15 '12 at 7:31
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