For the past half-century, every blessing I have recited has begun with " baruch attah adonai elohany melech ha'olam". Why is this so? When was the phrase created? Was there some rationale behind it? Why is G-d described as a king (Melech)?

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    I can think of a number of prayers that don't begin with that phrase. – Double AA Jul 17 '16 at 1:48
  • In light of DoubleAA's comment, (which is more than just stating his opinion, even if it seems to be phrased that way), I think you should edit your question to narrow what type of blessings you mean. I assume you mean "birkot hanehenin" - blessings said before "enjoying" things, such as those made on foods. There, I think all of them start the way that you described. – DanF Jul 18 '16 at 15:19

I assume that you know that it is allowed to bless in any language and you ask for the meaning of each one of the criteria. You ask for blessing pattern. 1. for need to say Ata, 2. to say Name, 3. and to say Kingdom. In Gemara and poskim, we see that the precise words are not the point. We can find 3 rules in Talmud: (1) To change a blessing from the pattern elaborated by Chachamim makes it non valuable; (2) Rav said that one of the criterion is to remember the name of G-d. (3) Rabbi Yochanan said that one of the criterion is to remember the kingdom of G-d.

For criteria: Brachot 40b:

Pattern: ר' יוסי אומר כל המשנה ממטבע שטבעו חכמים בברכות לא יצא ידי חובתו

Name: והאמר רב כל ברכה שאין בה הזכרת השם אינה ברכה

Kingdom: ורבי יוחנן אמר כל ברכה שאין בה מלכות אינה ברכה

Abaye ruled as Rav.

Tosfot (paragraph starting by "Amar Abaye") said that Rif ruled as Rabbi Yochanan, (Taz 214 Sayif Katan 1, said, after reading poskim that Rabbi Yochanan adds to the rule of Rav: not Name only, but also kingdom would be said). Tosfot Brachot 54a needs the 2nd ant 3rd criteria both and quotes a Talmud Yerushalmi, and extend the rule to Brachot for thunder and similar events and situations cited in the 9st Chapter of Brachot (some Rishonim and Acharonim don't agree):

הרואה וכו' אומר ברוך שעשה נסים לאבותינו וכו'. פירש רבי' שמעיה דכל הני ברכות צריכות להזכרת שם ומלכות ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם וכן כתב רבינו שמשון מקוצי כי הר''י היה רגיל לברך על הברקים ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם שכחו וגבורתו מלא עולם וכן פר''י ומייתי ירושלמי דפירקין רבי זעירא כו' כל ברכה שאין בה וכו' :‏

Yerushalmi Brachot 62a (chapter 9 , halacha 1), Name + Kingdom + Ata:

רבי זעירא ורבי יהודא בשם רב כל ברכה שאין עמה מלכות אינה ברכה אמר רבי תנחומא אנא אמר טעמא (תהילים קמה) ארוממך אלהי המלך. רב אמר צריך לומר אתה ושמואל אמר אינו צריך לומר אתה.

The Halacha is ruled as above by Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 214: Name --> yes; Kingdom --> yes; Ata --> mentioned in Yerushalmi. The criteria are learned from verses: You can find the Drashot in Bavli and Yerushalmi Above cited, . The Abudarham adds citations from Midrash. The name is an attribute and the kingdom too. They must be mentalized, the scope is to be aware of G-d from our experience.

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