Being that Baruch She'amar fell from the sky (as said in the Baeir Heiteiv Orach Chaim 51:1), how is it that the Rambam (seder tefilos kal hashna) has a different version than what we have in our siddur: did multiple versions fall from the sky?

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    ummm... Did Shimon HaPekuli write different versions of Shemone Esrei? Did the Anshei Kenesset haGedolah write different versions of brachot for food? Did God write different versions of the word Daka in the Torah?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 19:35
  • @DoubleAA i am not certain where your heading with that Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 21:34
  • @user1445 I'm suggesting all those questions have the same answer as yours.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 21:40
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/14840/759
    – Double AA
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


All prayers were composed by someone, at some point, yet for many of them we have multiple versions. Generally it's because the original version is not known and people have different traditions as to what it was; sometimes it's because the original version is not known and people make different emendations in favor of what they think it must have been. I don't know which of those is true of "Baruch sheamar" (perhaps both are), but I don't see that its having fallen from the sky makes it any less subject to later changes than any other prayer.

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    There's always the alternative that there was no set original nussach, only a theme (consider the first bracha of bentching: did Moshe write Kaamur Poteach Et...?). The sky story implies that this did have some original nussach.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 19:40
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    @DoubleAA: According to Artscroll's Birchat Hamazon sefer (published late 70s early 80s - I think) some versions don't have that line, for that reason. Alternatively, Artscroll quotes an opinion that even though Moshe wrote it, it was set it stone by the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah, who added that line.
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 20:45
  • @Menachem I agree that one line isn't a proof, and there is plenty more to say each way (and different brachot can have different histories), but I think the concept is not too faulty a priori that the OP was wrong for clarifying that there was an original text.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 21:01
  • @DoubleAA If there was no set version, only a theme, then the fact that the various extant versions are so similar is quite astounding. I think that similarity points to divergence rather than convergence.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 21:03
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    @msh210 See judaism.stackexchange.com/a/14672
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 7:18

Baruch SheAmar was not instituted by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah, but rather by the Geonim. And it was composed by human beings, rather than falling from the sky.

The source for it falling from the sky and being instituted by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah is the Or Zaruah, Rabbi Yitzchak ben Moshe of Vienna, in 1260.

Saadia Gaon instituted that Baruch sheAmar be recited on Shabbos, but in France, the custom developed to recite this prayer daily.

The Pri Chadash wonders at how the Geonim could institute a new tefillah. Thus,

In any case, the blessing "Baruch She'amar" is not mentioned explicitly in the Talmud. The author of the Pri Chadash wonders about this. "I do not understand: How could the Geonim add a new blessing after the Talmud was finished and sealed?" [Orach Chaim 51].

Yet others point to early sources for it. Thus,

Others disagree with Pri Chadash and they have shown that early sources exist for the blessing Baruch She'amar. The Mordechai implies that it is a decree made by the Anshei Knesset Hagedola (end of the tractate of Pesachim). The blessing also appears in "Shiltei Hagiborim" in the name of the Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachot Chapter 5). Avudraham also quotes the Yerushalmi, although this does not appear in our version of the Talmud. The TAZ writes in the name of Tola'at Yaacov, who quotes Or Zarua, that "this praise for G-d was established by the Anshei Knesset Hagedola based on a note that fell from heaven."

I've heard that sometimes 'Yerushalmi' is used to refer to midrash. But regardless, just because the Or Zarua says it fell from heaven and was established by the Anshei Knesset Hagedola does not make it absolutely so.

And at the least, Rambam (who predates Or Zarua) did necessarily hear this (later) Or Zarua. If this was not the universally accepted theory, then people would feel free to modify it.

In terms of בפי vs. בפה, see my post in which I show that there is a regular change because "fi" had negative connotations in French. And then kabbalists likely came and bolstered this change with kabbalistic ideas. But the original is the grammatical one, בפי.

  • Do you know where you heard that Yerushalmi is code for Midrash? I find that there are just way too many times that rishonim quote non-existent Yerushalmis for it to simply be girsa issues.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 14:08
  • i think i saw it/heard it in the context of a non-existent Yerushalmi (which IMHO could not exist) about talking between Yishtabach and Yotzer Or. parsha.blogspot.com/2006/08/… I don't recall offhand who said it, but I'll try to look... Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 22:49
  • I got halfway though your as usual excellent article, but it seems all the inline Hebrew words are gone! I can't follow what's going on. Very disappointing :(
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 4:48
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    @mevaqesh hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20685&pgnum=177
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 4:32
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    hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49595&st=&pgnum=33 Tashbetz Katan 220 about saying Pi Hashem instead of Fi Hashem so as not to be "Mecharef uMegadef"
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 15:49

Here is a link to a discussion about the various versions of Baruch Sh'amar.

In brief, this link discusses why and how some versions use the word בפי ('in the mouth of...') and some (most, actually) use the word בפה ('in the mouth,' with no grammatical connection to whose mouth it is) even though this represents a later change and is ungrammatical. It seems to be based on a kabbalistic interpretation having to do with gematria. The switch to בפה makes the word add up to same gematria as the number of words in Baruch Sh'amar, which is 87 and equal to פז, paz, refined gold, which, in turn, is symbolic of Hashem's glory.

This discussion also addresses the topic of why the text was allowed to be changed even though it "fell from the sky." Of course, many poskim feel that the text was actually instituted by the Anshei Kenneset ha-Gedolah. The discussion in the link recounts the entire history of these opinions.

As for the differences between the order of the initial praises regarding Divine Speech and Creation, I couldn't find a source for this but I would imagine it has to do with interpretations of the process of Ma'aseh B'reishit. Nusach Ashkenaz begins the process with praising the act of Creation itself, while Nusach S'fard begins with praising the the fact that Hashem speaks and creates. It's a difference in emphasis of the elements of the process of creation.

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