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The language we currently use in the amidah for בִּרְכַּת הַמִּינִים is different from that found in the earliest siddurim. The gemarah (Berachot 40b) teaches us that "If one alters the formula laid down by the Sages in benedictions, he has not performed his obligation". I realize that in the past using the original text of בִּרְכַּת הַמִּינִים may have posed a danger to life, however for many or perhaps all people today that is no longer the case. I would like to know why we do not revert to the original text of בִּרְכַּת הַמִּינִים.

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Who says those siddurim are original? – Double AA Sep 9 '13 at 17:58
This question can be generalized to many instances where multiple nuscha'os exist and/or differing early nuscha'os have been found. Incidentally, see these six nuscha'os of the blessing. – Fred Sep 9 '13 at 20:19
@Fred i disagree, first of all this is a blessing as opposed to other places with differing nuschot which may only be praise. second, according to some authorities the amidah prayer is deoraita. third the language was specifically canonized by the anshei k'neses ha'gedola. – please remove my account Sep 9 '13 at 20:24
@user3120 Perhaps I should have been more explicit, but that's why I said "many instances", not all instances. There are other instances with differing nuscha'os in the amida and other b'rachos. – Fred Sep 9 '13 at 20:27
@user3120 Not everyone agrees to your third point. And Fred is right: there are many variations in the wording of just about all the blessings of shemoneh esrei. – Double AA Sep 9 '13 at 20:54

Indeed, the text of the blessing changed. See here:

”Velamalshinim”= We should have in mind the historical significance of the prayer. Originally the word “velamalshinim” read “velaminim,” but the Christain censors, who were originally “targeted” by the Bracha, actually changed. It’s important to realize that our prayer has historical significance. (Artscroll Mesorah)

However, your question is based on assumptions that may be challenged, such that the following may form a response (or at least a challenge to bolster your assumptions more strongly than you have):

1) There is perhaps a difference between an individual deciding to change the text of the blessing himself, where it is not a blessing, and where the community, under the leadership of great rabbis of the generation, have changed the text of the blessing.

2) The gemara itself you mention has the context of blessings on foods. It needs proving that this extends to the blessings of Shmoneh Esrei.

3) Further, while the statement you cite (which is one side in a machlokes) has a letter ב, corresponding to עין משפט נר מצוה, such that it is brought down lehalacha, Rif seems to omit it, and Rambam (hilchot berachot 1:5) only says that he is erring, but does not say that it is not a blessing. He says about something else that it is not a blessing:

וְכָל הַמְּשַׁנֶּה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ שֶׁטָּבְעוּ חֲכָמִים בַּבְּרָכוֹת, אֵינוּ אֵלָא טוֹעֶה. וְכָל בְּרָכָה שְׁאֵין בָּהּ הַזְכָּרַת הַשֵּׁם וּמַלְכוּת, אֵינָהּ בְּרָכָה אֵלָא אִם כֵּן הָיְתָה סְמוּכָה לַחֲבִרְתָּהּ

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I think you're just shifting the burden of proof. 1)Can you cite a source which says the community is allowed to change the text of a blessing in the amidah? Even with great Rabbis would they not have to be greater in number and stature than the Men of the Great Assembly? 2)True that is the context but there is no qualifying statement that would make me assume it only applies to food blessings. Can you prove it does? 3) I'm comfortable limiting the question to those who follow the shulchan aruch – please remove my account Sep 10 '13 at 13:47
@user3120 perhaps then you should include relevant citations to the shulchan aruch in your question – Double AA Sep 10 '13 at 16:16
@user3120 in terms of (3), that is great! in that case, note that the עין משפט נר מצוה only cites the Rambam and Semag for this. However, it is NOT brought down in Tur or Shulchan Aruch, which means they they do not maintain that it is halacha. Your question has been answered. – josh waxman Sep 11 '13 at 11:20
in terms of the rest, indeed I am shifting the burden of proof. i tend to do that a lot here. if you are questioning existing halachic practice based on your own interpretation of a gemara, then it is up to you establish your interpretation as correct, for your question to start. – josh waxman Sep 11 '13 at 11:25
the question is not based on my interpretation of the gemarah, that is merely supportive text. my question is simply why do we not revert to the earlier version of the tefillah if our reason for having changed no longer applies. You have not answered that question merely by stating that it has in fact changed. – please remove my account Sep 11 '13 at 13:16

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