Why are there yom tov additions to the first b'racha before sh'mone esre in the morning and to the third, but never to the second?

(In maariv, by contrast, every birchas k'rias sh'ma has yom tov additions.)

3 Answers 3


I certainly don't know "why," but the flow of many piyyutim goes Yotzer-Ofan-Zulat.

But not all! See, for example, the piyyutim for Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach, where the flow is Yotzer-Ofan-Meorah-Ahavah-Zulat-Geulah. (These piyyutim are in the Rinnat Yisrael machzor, for example, but the ArtScroll machzor doesn't have the Meorah or Ahavah, with a note in the commentary to the effect that the composition is missing lines.)

There are also piyyutim for special shabbatot that include an Ahavah, such as Shlach, Va'etchanan, and Eikev (describing the mitzvot of shma, tfillin, and tzitzit) or the shabbatot between Pesach and Shavuot (about the relationship between G-d and Israel). I have a siddur at home with these piyyutim, which is why I'm aware of them. Unfortunately, I don't know how to find links online to them.

  • +1. Thank you! While it doesn't completely answer my question — I am still curious why yom tov never has an ahava — your answer does weaken it quite a bit, by assuring me that ahavos do, in fact, exist, contrary to what I had thought.
    – msh210
    Oct 11, 2011 at 14:26
  • There are no Ahavos for any days of Yom Tov. Sep 11, 2014 at 17:42

In Seder Avodas Yisrael by the ריביא''ד (R' Seligman Baer) זכר צדיק לברכה, there is a big Yotzros Section. For a quite a lot of the days with Yotzros, it includes a piyut in the third Brachah (Ahavah), examples include the six Shabbosos after Pesach, the Shabbos after Shavuos, Shabbos VaYeira, Shlach-Lecha, Chukas, Nachamu and Eikeiv.

  • I must add that there are two versions of this Yotzros section, the Ashkenaz and the Polin (for those of you who don't know what I mean by that, Ashkenaz is south of the River Elbe and Polin is north until Lita). The version I was reffering to is the Polini. In the Ashkenazi version, there are still Ahavos but not in the same Shabbosos. I'm not sure which Shabbosos except that there is an Ahavoh that os recited on both the Shabbos before Shavuos and the Shabbos before Tisha B'Av. Sep 11, 2014 at 17:41
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/77586
    – msh210
    Nov 15, 2016 at 20:30

Not really an answer, but perhaps once it was seen that the first bracha is flexible enough to change once a week (it has weekday and Shabbat versions), later liturgists had license to make other additions to it. (I assume that HaKol Yoducha and Kel Adon predate the other "yotzros", is that correct? Are the former attributed to the Men of the Great Assembly?)

  • Re your questions: I don't know. (My guess, too, is that they're older, but it's just a guess.) What about the third b'racha, though? It doesn't change for Shabas.
    – msh210
    Oct 11, 2011 at 2:56
  • FWIW the Romani Jews (Italian) have Shabbat additions to the night time yotzer=maariv aravim, which is somewhat parallel to the changes you discuss.
    – Double AA
    Oct 14, 2012 at 3:57

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