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I assume redemption, ingathering of the exiles, restoration of justice, restoration of Jerusalem, restoration of King David's dynasty, and restoration of the temple all are referring to what we colloquially refer to as the "coming of Mashaich." That is, I assume all redemption requests will be fulfilled at arrival of a new era, relatively all at once. (When it comes to personal requests, they get fulfilled very differently at very different times since their deliverance may not be related. For example, health can be granted very independently from livelihood (but not necessarily).)

Why are the Mashaich-related requests treated as separate if they are truly deeply interrelated? Wouldn't it be logical to have one request for one event?

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The Raavan (cited by Avudarham at the end of Shemoneh Esrei) writes that there are two groups of 6 blessings that make up the middle section (with sh'ma koleinu being a general summary not in either group), which parallel each other. Thus, atta chonein parallels t'ka b'shofar. (See inside for explanations of the parallelism). Thus, each element of the last 6 corresponds conceptually to an element of the first 6. Grouping them into one blob would lose this parallelism.

Similarly, Rabbeinu Bachya (Devarim 11:13) writes that the 18 berachos were modeled off of the 12 permutations of the four-letter name of Hashem (in which 2 letters are the same, yielding 12 unique permutations), with 3 at the beginning, 3 at the end, and 6 in the middle which are doubled as individual and public versions of the same idea (he excludes lamalshinim which was added later). So again we find a significance to the conceptual parallelism between the first 6 and last 6.

The Gemara in Megillah (17b) explains that these 6 blessings are a process, in which each leads to the next but they are not identical nor simutaneous and are not "one event." For example, ingathering and reunification of the exiles will lead to reinstatement of the courts and the judgement of the wicked, but the first must come before the second (perhaps in light of the Rambam hilchos Sanhedrin 4:11).

  • +1 for the Gemara. How does the Ravan deal with Lamalshinim (being added later)? (Do any of them address the variant whereby Velirushalyim and Et Tzemach were historically one blessing?) – Double AA Feb 18 '16 at 3:36
  • @DoubleAA He doesn't address it. I was somewhat bothered by that point, although the cited Gemara inserts lamalshinim into its textually-derived sequence of blessings (which I'm aware isn't actually being derived, but the point stands), so it isn't the Raavan's own innovation to include it in the logical sequenced formatting of Shemoneh Esrei. – Y     e     z Feb 18 '16 at 4:27
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While Yez is correct, I just want to add another idea I heard once.

It's very easy for individual Jews and the nation as a whole to forget about the redemption. They can easily find their place in their host country comfortable enough, and not appreciate the importance of the redemption at all. By giving the Redemption pride of place in the Shemoneh Esreh, it remains at the forefront of national consciousness, at least if people pray seriously.

Alternatively, if we were to compose our own prayers, we would definitely include a prayer for health and livelihood. Probably help from our enemies too, and a request for knowledge and perhaps forgiveness. Would we really bother to ask for the Redemption in each prayer? Chazal knew better, and insured that we would give the Redemption the respect it deserves.

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