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In Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 117 Sif 3 it says that if someone said "v'sain tal u'matir l'vracha" in the bracha of Bircas Hashanim during the summer months then he must pray again (this is because rain in the summer is considered a curse.)

There in Sif 4 it says that if one didn't say it in the winter months (when it should be said and when rain is needed) then one must pray again.

What if someone during the summer months didn't say "v'sain bracha" (which for many nuschos (1) is said in place of v'sain tal u'matir" in the bracha of bircas hashanim during the summer.) Would they need to pray again?

My sofek is this...Perhaps they need to pray again because unlike brachos where the middle doesn't necessarily need to be exact (as long as the beginning and end of the bracha are correct) over here it's different since chazal established a special request and since they didn't say it, therefore they'd need to pray again. (In fact in the "Dirshu Mishnah Brurah" it's brought in the name of Rav Chaim Kanevsky that if someone forgot v'sain bracha they would need to pray again. I had a hard time believing this and someone who was on the "side" of Rav Chaim offered the above reasoning. In Dirshu nothing is brought down in regards to the reasoning. However I'm trying to find a "proof" for either this reasoning or the other side of the argument.)

The reason why they wouldn't need to pray again is because even though chazal required a special request in this bracha, that's only during the winter where we need rain and for the rest of the year we only ask for "bracha" which was really already said at the beginning of the bracha.

Is there a proof for this question either way?


(1) I realize that not everyone says "v'sain bracha". However having looked at many nuschos (including the famous "Nusach Eretz Yisrael") I see that in this bracha there is a special nusach for the summer months and special nusach for the winter months.

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    How could the specific phrase vetein berakha be an essential component of the blessings if most Jews don't ever say it?? – Double AA May 9 '17 at 22:24
  • I don't think so. You still haven't given any reason to think the specific request vetein berakha is important at all. (I happen to think it's actually just a mistaken Nusach entirely based on a misunderstanding, but that's besides the point) – Double AA May 9 '17 at 22:33
  • @DoubleAA I actually agree with you. Edited once again to reveal more to this story.... – Yehoshua May 9 '17 at 22:36
  • Ok you sourced it so I can't downvote. But r kanievsky is clearly wrong if he even ever said that – Double AA May 9 '17 at 22:48
  • @DoubleAA Of course he's wrong! And thank you for being brave enough to say it...I'm just trying to see if there is any truth to what is being said. – Yehoshua May 9 '17 at 22:49
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As a straight Halakhic argument, it's clear that "ותן ברכה" isn't needed from these two sources:

  1. Tur (OC 117) supports the usage of "ותן ברכה" with no reference to dew from the fact that the Bavli speaks of adding in a request for rain in the winter, which implies there is no expected special request in the summer. Clearly "ותן ברכה" is not a special necessary request.

  2. The summary of the 9th blessing of the Amida in the shortened Havinenu prayer is ודשננו בנאות ארצך and while the Bavli (Berakhot 29a) wonders about adding "ותן טל ומטר לברכה" in the winter, it never wonders about adding "ותן ברכה" in the summer. (This is especially noteworthy as the Yerushalmi does propose an addition about dew for the summertime.)

From a comparative Nusach perspective, it's also obvious that it's not needed since the majority of Jews don't say it. Sefardim and Yemenites all have a different version of the blessing which does not include anything resembling "ותן ברכה", though it does have a different request for dew. Italians to this day say "ותן טל לברכה" and such was also said in old Nusach Tzorfat and Provence. Bukharians have a line at the end "ותן ברכה והצלחה בכל מעשה ידינו" (cf. Ta'anit 8b and Devarim 28:12) but not "ותן ברכה" on the land. In fact, if you look at the oldest Babylonian Nusach (ie. one which doesn't request dew in the summer), that of Rav Saadya Gaon, you'll expect to find a precursor of the Ashkenazi practice mentioned in the Tur (not requesting dew by just saying "vetein berakha") but instead you'll see he simply skips the line entirely: ברך עלינו יי אלהינו את השנה הזאת לטובה בכל מיני תבואתה וברכה כשנים הטובות בא״י מברך השנים. Thus, it's basically impossible to say that "ותן ברכה" is an essential component of the blessing since nearly no one has it, and in the worst case you are essentially just saying the Nusach of Rav Saadya Gaon which ought be no worse than any other Nusach change Bedieved.

Finally we have to wonder, if "ותן ברכה" is really a specific essential request, then what at all is it a request for? Without compelling answers to that, the clear allusion to a description/request for precipitation (Kings 1:18:1 or Job 5:10), and the evidence from Rav Saadya Gaon, we have to consider the possibility that "ותן ברכה" isn't even an "original" phrase at all, but just somebody's way of adapting "ותן טל לברכה" to a rite that didn't request dew in the summer.

  • Another proof would be from Rav's version of the shortened Amida, like found in the Chayei Adam. But he doesn't address the summer issue explicitly there that I see. We'd have to check other people who bring a full Nusach. – Double AA May 10 '17 at 2:36
  • Where is the Yerushalmi exactly? – Yehoshua May 10 '17 at 9:13
  • @Yehoshua It's berakhot 4:3 on the mishna of mein shmoneh esrei, as should be expected – Double AA May 10 '17 at 13:43
  • Many chasidim have a version similar to the Sephardic one. – msh210 May 10 '17 at 16:29
  • @msh210 I've seen it listed as an alternate in some Nusach Sefard Siddurim but I've wondered who uses it. Do you have any info about which groups use that alternate? – Double AA May 10 '17 at 16:31

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