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The ninth blessing of the weekday Amida as recited between Pesach and the rainy season contains, in some traditions, the phrase:

ותן ברכה על פני האדמה
and give a blessing on the face of the earth

(text and translation from ArtScroll Nusach Ashkenaz Siddur, 2nd ed.)

What does it mean to give a "blessing" on the face of the earth? What is being put on the earth?

Someone suggested to me that it is a request for dew which falls in the summer in addition to the winter, though he wasn't sure why it wouldn't just explicitly say "ותן טל לברכה and give dew for a blessing".

Others suggested to me that it is a request for the produce that is in the earth to grow bountifully, though this isn't exactly giving some thing "on the face of the earth" (especially considering how that phrase is used quite literally in the rainy season version), most produce isn't really growing for much of the summer (but rather being harvested), and this seems to have been already covered by the earlier line "ברך [את] כל מיני תבואתה לטובה bless all types of [the year's] crops for good". And why "give a blessing" instead of the verb "bless" if not giving a specific object?

Do any commentators on the Siddur discuss this particular line and what it requests? How do they understand it? If the answer is one of the above suggestions, how do they deal with the issues mentioned above?

  • hebrewbooks.org/… – Gershon Gold Feb 20 '17 at 20:57
  • Perhaps the blessing for the earth is meant to be for the people who are on the face of the earth. Either that or a blessing that the heat of the summer does not kill the fruit so that the people can benefit from the produce. – DanF Feb 21 '17 at 14:48
  • See p. 2 of beureihatefila.com/files/2006_08_18_TefilaNewsletter.pdf. Avudraham comments that the entire blessing is an allusion to the 3 years involved with Shemittah where G-d says "I shall command my blessing to you, and the land shall produce for the 3 years." I.e., he implies that this blessing should last throughout 3 years of not even harvesting, even during the summer as well as what would be otherwise the planting season. – DanF Feb 21 '17 at 16:02
  • @DanF I'm not sure how that answers the question. And isn't he commenting on the opening phrase of the blessing? – Double AA Feb 21 '17 at 16:15
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    @Danno If you're focusing on פני you may want to look at other nuschaot that include the phrase ורוה פני תבל. The wording I'm asking about is clearly a leftover from the rain-phrase and the meaning there is already pretty clear. The question is more how did people understand this 'broken' phrase: did they try to keep it's meaning from the original context (dew?) or did they reinterpret the words for a new message? Either way is fine. Historically people likely asked for dew explicitly or cut the entire phrase 'vtein..adama'. This is a compromise solution & I'm curious how its been interpreted – Double AA Feb 22 '17 at 14:26

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