Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Al Hanissim in Al HaMichya - The Brisker Rav's Answer

In this previous post we mentioned the question of why it is that we do not mention Chanukah or Purim in the berachah me'ein shalosh. We brought the answer of R' Soloveitchik and I mentioned that I heard there was a Brisker Rav on this as well. Although I still don't know where the Brisker Rav is found, someone called me up and told me the gist of the answer. Here it is:

In regular bentching if someone misses yaaleh v'yavo or retzei and finishes the berachah of bonei yerushalayim there are special berachos that he says as a make-up. The Brisker Rav held that when we mention Shabbos or Yom Tov in the berachah me'ein shalosh, the hazkarah is as a replacement for those berachos, and not as a replacement of the actual yaaleh v'yavo or retzei. One proof to this is that in the beracha me'ein shalosh we place the mentioning of Shabbos and Yom Tov at the end, after Bonei Yerushalayim. If the hazkarah was meant to replace retzei and yaaleh v'yavo, it should go beforehand. Another proof is from the lashon of the hazkarah. When mentioning yom tov in the berachah me'ein shalosh we mention simcha. This is mentioned in the "make-up" berachos, but not in the actual yaaleh v'yavo.

On Chanuka and Purim there are no "make-up" berachos, and therefore no mention of them in the beracha me'ein shalosh.

Why is it that we don't mention actual retzei and yaaleh v'yavo in the berachah me'ein shalosh? To answer this the Brisker Rav pointed to the beracha of havineinu (abridged shemoneh esrai mentioned in the gemara in berachos). In this abridged beracha we do not mention havdalah (if it is motzei shabbos). The idea is that in abridged berachos we don't like to add major hazkaros. For a more detailed reason see Rabbeinu Yonah on this issue of Havinenu. In any case, the Brisker Rav said the same would be with the beracha me'ein shalosh. It too is an abridged berachah like havinenu.

This is basically the answer as I heard it over. Again, I haven't yet seen it inside so I don't want to get too much into the details.

Update Dec. 26, 2007: I finally found the Brisker Rav inside - see here for details.