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Brachos 28b Shmuel Hakattan coined the Bracha of V'Lamalshinim.

Brachos 10a mentions a story where Rabbi Meir was being bothered by people and prayed for their demise. His wife Bruria tells him do not pray for them to die, pray that they should repent. He followed his wifes advise and they repented.

Why do we pray in V'Lamalshinim that these people should have no hope (Al Tehi Tsikva), they should be lost (K'Rega Tovaid), they should be cut off quickly (Mehaira Yikoraisu), etc. Why do we not Daven for them to repent?

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Quite a Doichek, but maybe Lamalshinim is referring to Goyim. –  Hacham Gabriel Jun 14 '13 at 18:31

5 Answers 5

Even Shlomo Parshas Ekev discusses this question. He proposes that there is a difference where someone does the sin due to his desires, where then you should pray for him to repent. However when someone someone who is a "Min" with bad thoughts, such a person will not repent and only cause others to sin, and therefore we pray for their demise.

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what about the gemara, in Brachos 7, with Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, the min (rather than Tzeduki), and the rooster? –  josh waxman Aug 31 '12 at 15:55
I am not sure what you are attempting to point out. If anything it makes my question stronger as we see that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi was unable to curse the Tzeduki and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that he sees that they do not want him to curse this Tzeduki from Shamayim. –  Gershon Gold Aug 31 '12 at 16:43
this is an example of a "Min". so according to the conclusion of the gemara, where they don't want a curse for "Minim", how could one pray for their demise. (Tzeduki, by the way, was a late insertion by censors who did not like the term Min, which could include Christians. There weren't Tzedukim in the time of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi.) –  josh waxman Aug 31 '12 at 18:26

The Maharal in Be'er HaGolah Be'er Shevi'i actually understands the account and concept of Beruria to be the basis for the prayer of V'Lamalshinim (see here in the R' Hartman edition, p. 419-421).

Therefore, the Maharal explains, each clause of the beracha is directed towards the nature of the evildoer, but not towards the evildoer himself:

״ולמשומדים אל תהא תקוה", שלא יהיה תקוה להם שיהיו עוד המשומדים במציאות, רק יסורו מן העולם. ורצו לומר שלא יהיו עוד אנשים כאלו בעולם, רק יחזרו מן מעשיהם

"Let there be no hope for the meshumadim" - that they should not have any hope of there being meshumadim in existence, but they should depart from the world. Which means to say that there should not be any people like that in the world, just that they should turn away from their actions.

״וכל המינים כרגע יאבדו״, שלא תהיה דעת מינות בעולם, ואז יהיו נאבדים המינים מן העולם

"And all the heretics should be lost in a moment" - that there should not be any more mindset of heresy, and then the heretics will be lost from the world.

ואילו היה מתפלל ׳וכל המינים כרגע ימותו׳, היה משמע כי מתפלל על מפלתן. אבל לא אמר רק ״וכל המינים כרגע יאבדו״, היינו כי לא תהיה עוד דעת מינות בעולם

Were it that we prayed "all the heretics should die" it would imply that we pray for their downfall. But we just say "they should be lost," meaning that there should not be any more heresy in the world.

The Maharal continues line by line through the rest of the beracha with this approach.

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Seems pshat to me: teshuva was requested in an earlier bracha; those who have not repented by then, to them "al tehi sikvah"!

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This is good. Rabbi Yisroel Miller from Pittsburgh used to say something like this. When approached by a conservative who asked 'do you have me in mind when you say Vilamalshinim?' He answered 'Yes, But first I have you in mind when saying Hashiveinu'. –  user6591 Jun 17 at 18:34

The Anaf Yosef commentary to the Ein Yaakov Berachos 10b asks this question and answers that there is a distinction between those who are evil through their own choice without struggling against circumstance, about whom we daven for their demise, and then there are those who became evil through difficult life circumstances, as the Gemara says that poverty drives people to sin. Those people we daven that Hashem should help them to repent.

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הרמב"ם בהלכות תפילה פרק ב - הלכה א מסביר
בימי רבן גמליאל רבו האפיקורסין בישראל
האפיקורסין היו מצרין את ישראל ומסיתין את ישראל לשוב מאחורי הקוש ברוך הוא
כיוון שראה רבן גמליאל שהמלחמה נגד האפוקריסין היא חשובה מכל צורכי בני אדם עמד הוא ובית דינו והתקין ברכה אחת שתהיה בה בקשה לאבד את האפוקריסין
הוא קבע בקשה זו בתפילה, כדי שתהיה ערוכה בפי כול

Raban Gamliel introduced this braha in order to ask help from G-od in the battle against the "apokrisin" explains HaRambam (halahot Tefila Perek Beth halaha aleph)

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This does not answer the question. Why did he not introduce this Bracha with a request for them to repent? –  Gershon Gold Aug 31 '12 at 15:26
this is the answer of The Rambam, Apokirisin were Jews living the religious life. They concluded that the threat was to great for the Jewish people and asked from god to "stop" them –  danie7L T Aug 31 '12 at 15:31
@danie7LT But God could "stop" them by killing them, or by causing them to repent. Why did Rabban Gamliel pick the former method? –  Double AA Aug 31 '12 at 15:45
rabban gamliel was an earlier generation than r. meir. so he wouldn't have heard bruriah's homiletic interpretation of that pasuk –  josh waxman Aug 31 '12 at 15:58
@joshwaxman so why didn't R' Meir answer his wife with the precedent of Rabban Gamliel? –  Shmuel Brin Aug 31 '12 at 17:00

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