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On Berachot daf 2a, the gemara says that we have two berachot before Shema and one after (in the morning) and two before, followed by two after (in the evening).

As far as I'm aware, there are three berachot before Shema in the morning:

  • Yotzer Or
  • Yotzer haMeorot
  • Habocher

On the other hand, in the siddur of R' Saadia Gaon, the former two berachot are combined in a single paragraph, unlike our modern siddurim.

How do the gemara and meforshim qualify this inconsistency?

  • 2
    Never put much stock in publishers' paragraph breaks. – Double AA Dec 25 '14 at 16:52
  • @DoubleAA, even if they're pretty universal? – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 25 '14 at 17:42
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt a publisher's break is even less authoritative than the chapter breaks in tanach – sabbahillel Dec 25 '14 at 19:11
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Yotzer Or and Yotzer Hameorot are actually part of the same long bracha. It has both an opening an closing bracha.

See Rambam, Hilchot Kriat Shma 1:5-7.

Halacha 5 says:

הקורא קריאת שמע מברך לפניה ולאחריה ביום מברך שתים לפניה ואחת לאחריה ובלילה מברך שתים לפניה ושתים לאחריה.

In the morning, there are 2 before Shma, and 1 after. For night, it's 2 and 2.

Halacha 6 begins:

ברכה ראשונה שלפניה ביום יוצר אור ובורא חשך וכו' וברכה שנייה אהבת עולם אהבתנו

The first begins yotzer or; the second ahavat olam (ahava raba for Ashkenazim).

Halacha 7 is the clincher:

ברכה ראשונה שלפניה בין ביום בין בלילה פותח בה בברוך וחותם בה בברוך

The first bracha starts with baruch and ends with baruch.

So we see, according to all, it's 2 brachot.

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