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In the formulation of a bracha we use the words "melech ha'olam" which is translated as "king of the universe" (Koren and Artscroll). But "olam" is used through tanach as "forever" (or at least a long period of time). The understanding of Olam as "world" seems to develop later.

Could a bracha be understood to be referring to the eternal nature of God (as in Yirmiyahu 10:10 הוּא־אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים וּמֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם (which the Stone tanach has as "Eternal King") and Tehillim 10:16 יְקֹוָק מֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם וָעֶד אָבְדוּ גוֹיִם מֵאַרְצוֹ)? Some meforshim use a similar construction (for example -- :דגל מחנה אפרים ויקרא פרשת בהר כנ"ל ובזה הוא גורם גם כן הארת פני המלך עולם עליו

The distinction does not seem to be, textually, because the word used is "Ha'olam" and not "Olam" as the word "ha'olam" appears about 14 times in tanach. The first is Yirmiyah 28:8 which is translated by Judaica Press as "of old". Tehillim 41:14 reads in English " from all times past and to all times to come." Only in Daniel 12:7 is "ha'olam" translated as "the world." So there is no automatic status of geography invoked by the prefix.

Is there a reason that the common understanding of "Olam" in a bracha relates to place/universe and not time/eternity?

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    not sure but when we say Haolam we design an object. Olam may be perhaps as an atribute – kouty May 20 '16 at 14:13
  • Do you want the title question answered or the question in the final line? You want justification of common understanding, or clarification of what the correct understanding should be? – Y     e     z May 23 '16 at 3:12

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