In the Birkat Haminim following the Nusach Sfard, the prayer is to exterminate, humiliate and submit the Apikorsim.

תעקר ותשבר ומגר ותכלם ותשפילם ותכניעם

My question is the order of the requests. After extermination, why is it a need to humiliate and submit?

  • To further deter people? sefaria.org.il/Berakhot.19a.10?lang=bi Jan 5, 2020 at 14:23
  • 1
    Found this explanation about it in Nusach Arizal, in the instructions of the Tehilas Hashem Siddur, where the wording is slightly different but maybe the concept could be helpful: In the paragraph beginning ולמלשינים one should pause slightly between the words ותמגר (“crush”) and ותכניע (“subdue”), thus reflecting the following inner distinction: תעקר ותשבר ותמגר refer to the three kelipos that must be eradicated entirely, whereas ותכניע refers to kelipas nogah that must be subjugated, but can be sifted and refined.
    – user16403
    Jul 11, 2023 at 22:05

3 Answers 3


A similar question is asked with regard to Shema:

Berachot 61a

תניא רבי אליעזר אומר אם נאמר בכל נפשך למה נאמר בכל מאדך ואם נאמר בכל מאדך למה נאמר בכל נפשך אלא אם יש לך אדם שגופו חביב עליו מממונו לכך נאמר בכל נפשך ואם יש לך אדם שממונו חביב עליו מגופו לכך נאמר בכל מאדך

It has been taught: R. Eliezer says: If it says ‘with all thy soul’, why should it also say, ‘with all thy might’, and if it says ‘with all thy might’, why should it also say ‘with all thy soul’? Should there be a man who values his life more than his money, for him it says; ‘with all thy soul’; and should there be a man who values his money more than his life, for him it says, ‘with all thy might’ .

(Soncino translation)

Perhaps we can say something similar here. Some people may value life over pride, while others may value pride over life.

  • Good Idea thanks. Interesting parallelism.
    – kouty
    Jan 5, 2020 at 16:11

In a first attempt I was thinking that techallem is from the radical Klima כלימה as in Ahava rabba lo nikalem .לא ניכלם And here in Birkat Haminim it is not plural asתמגר ותשבר aren't. Techallem is to make shame. An example of this radical is in Bamidbar 12.14. but it's probably not right because of the comment of @ba.

But now I just have read the Abudarham about this Beracha, which was lacking in previous editions, probably because of census. In the new editions, based on a manuscript. He says that Kaleh, this is his Girsa, without Mem, is exterminate. He said that the end is Teshaber Vesachnia because it's similar to the Chatima, shover Oyvim Umachnia Zedim, and the part before the Chatima needs to be similar to the Chatima.

After learning the Maharal on the Agadot of Pereq Cheleq 95b, I thought of a new explanation. He explains why Sancheriv survived the massacre of his army. It was to be able to humiliate him and not simply eliminate him. Thus could be realized the demonstration of the falsity of his step. I roughly sum it up in one sentence. This alters the accuracy of my statement. But that is enough to give an explanation for the formulation of the Beracha. Not only do we ask God to annihilate heretics, but we ask that he also cause them to be ridiculed. To make fun of them is a refinement in the way of making them disappear. The order is crescent.

  • Then it would have to say תכלים or תכלימם in הפעיל
    – b a
    Feb 28, 2020 at 13:00
  • It's not as תדבר?...
    – kouty
    Feb 28, 2020 at 13:10
  • תשבר, תמגר, תעקר?
    – kouty
    Feb 28, 2020 at 13:12
  • The root כלמ never appears as פיעל; you have to use הפעיל for the sense of "to shame." The examples you quote are in נפעל and mean "to be shamed"
    – b a
    Feb 28, 2020 at 13:24
  • I will search later. Thanks so much for the knowledge. Now I cannot
    – kouty
    Feb 28, 2020 at 15:42

They are ordered according to the process of their correction or tikkun. Looking at the complete blessing will help to understand.

וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה וְכָל הָרִשְׁעָה כְּרֶגַע תֺּאבֵד וְכָל־אֹיְ֒בֶֽיךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵֽתוּ, וְהַזֵּדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וּתְכַלֵם וְתַשְׁפִּילֵם וְתַכְנִיעֵם בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽינוּ: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה שׁוֹבֵר אֹיְ֒בִים וּמַכְנִֽיעַ זֵדִים:

The opening words are addressing those Jews who inform on their fellow Jews to the authorities of an oppressive, non-Jewish government. This type of government and those who make it up (וְכָל־אֹיְ֒בֶֽיךָ) we pray to become extinct, meaning that they and their potential future descendants end. They are enemies of G-d and His Kingdom.

We then address the next category of individuals who are called Rebels (הַזֵּדִים). Rebels can come from two general sources. Those who truly reject and oppose G-d, like for example Nimrod and his followers, and those who for a variety of reasons have been seduced. Those in the second category may be salvageable. There may be a possibility of rehabilitation for them.

And this illustrates the order of their tikkun.

The first group are connected politically and economically, powerful and exert their domination throughout society. For them we say the words:

תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וּתְכַלֵם

Which mean: to uproot from power (they remain intact but separated from the source of their power), to shatter like one would split a log into kindling in order to ignite and burn it up (they are no longer intact), to overthrow or to diminish which means reducing their influence and their connection to the levers of power and finally to extinguish them and their influence entirely.

The remaining two terms in the blessing are:

תַשְׁפִּילֵם וְתַכְנִיעֵם

They relate to those who have been seduced and may be salvageable and rehabilitated. Their seduction was possible because of character defects and their rehabilitation comes after first being removed from power. Only then can they potentially be rehabilitated by being humbled. The source of their seduction originates from pride. The final term is to subdue and again refers to the possible source of their seduction, overindulgence of their desires.

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