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Before we begin the Shemoneh Esreh each morning, we say the blessing, "Blessed are You, Hashem, Who redeemed Israel (Ga'al Yisrael)." Then within the Shemoneh Esrei itself, in the "Re'eh va'ahneynu" section, we conclude "Blessed are You Hashem, Redeemer of Israel (Go'el Yisrael)." Aside from the use of the past tense and the present tense, there doesn't seem to be much difference in the blessing. Moreover, as I understand it, our tradition is to not to say anything between the blessing of Ga'al Yisrael and the Shemoneh Esrei so that we don't make a break in the connected concepts of redemption and prayer. O.C. 66:7. What is the substantive difference between these two blessings, if any?

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I don't see the bracha of ga'al as asking for anything -- it is a recognition of past events. In the zchut of our recognizing that, we can move forward to (eventually) ask for a continuation of such salvation in the bakashot. –  Danno Feb 19 '13 at 19:04
See Pesachim 117b –  Double AA Feb 19 '13 at 19:13
Also note that Goel might be the present tense verb, not a noun. –  Double AA Feb 19 '13 at 19:25
@Dan I don't think that's true. See the gemara I referenced above. –  Double AA Feb 20 '13 at 6:42
Ga-al Yisrael is past tense and we are thanking G-d for redeeming us from Egypt. Go-el Yisrael is the present and we are asking to be redeemed now. –  CashCow Apr 14 at 13:57

2 Answers 2

One major difference, according to some commentaries (Rashi to Megillah 17b, Ein Yaakov), is that the beracha of גאל ישראל is referring to national redemption, whereas the beracha of גואל ישראל is referring to individual redemption from personal suffering.

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Rashi there doesn't address the bracha of גאל ישראל (though I suppose you can say it's obvious what it's about?). IAE does this have to do with the grammar of the closing phrase, or are you just commenting on the blessings in general? –  Double AA Apr 14 at 14:54
@DoubleAA I was not trying to do anything fancy, just answering the question of what the difference between the two blessings is. גאל ישראל tells you what it is about, in the text leading up to the blessings, which are all about the redemption from Egypt. I don't know why Rashi would need to restate what is already said. –  yEz Apr 14 at 18:05

The first, recited before Sh'mona Esrei, is a b'racha of praise and testimony. We are blessing Hashem for having redeemed us from Egypt. Ga-al Yisrael is in the past tense and means "who redeemed Israel".

The b'racha in Sh'mona Esrei is a request to be redeemed now. Go-el Yisrael means either "Who redeems Israel" or "Redeemer of Israel".

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