Rules Must Be Consistent

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Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik

by R. Aharon Ziegler

Rav Soloveitchik noted that the Gemara Brachot 49a articulates the rule that the phrase which ends any Bracha of Shmoneh Esrei just before its concluding formula must contain the same theme as does the concluding formula itself. For example, the Bracha of Bareich Aleinu in the weekday Shmoneh Esrei contains several requests but the final formulization is “U’vareich Shenateinu Ka’shanim HaTovot” (“And bless our year like the best years”), so the concluding Bracha is “Baruch Ata HaShem, Meh’vareich HaShanim” (“Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years”)

Following through with this pattern we encounter a problem within the Bracha of “ VeLirushalayim Ir’cha” . The Bracha states, “U’venei Otah B’karov B’yameinu Binyan Olam” (“May You rebuild it soon in our days as an eternal structure”), this is then followed by “Ve’chisei David Me’heira L’tocha Tachin” (“And may You Speedily establish the throne of David within it”). The concluding Bracha does NOT end with any reference of establishing the throne of David, but rather with “Blessed are You, HaShem, the Builder of Yerushalayim”

The Rav therefore, reversed the order of the final two phrases in the Bracha Ve’lirushalayim, (“And to Jerusalem”), saying “VeChisaei David Me’heira LeTocha Tachin”,( “And may You speedily establish the throne of David in it “), prior to saying “U’ Venei Otah BeKarov B’Yameinu Binyan Olam” –(“May You rebuild it soon in our days as an eternal structure”). Following this revised order enables us to adhere to the requirement of Gemara Brachot that the phrase that ends any Bracha should contain the same theme as does the concluding Bracha, which in this case is, “Blessed are You, HaShem the Builder of Jerusalem”. In this manner, the final phrase is “May You rebuild it soon in our days” and the concluding Bracha is , “Blessed are You, HaShem, the Builder of Yerushalayim” and it all conforms to the rules mentioned above.

About Aharon Ziegler

Rabbi Aharon Ziegler is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Agudath Achim of Boro Park and the Dean and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Agudath Achim. He is the author of six volumes of Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

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