This small post analyzes the ninth bracha of Shmone Esre that Sephardim say during the winter. It seems to be way too long to be the original from times of Anshey Kneset Hagedola[1]. This is the longest middle bracha, and only in the winter. in general when analyzing Sephardic versus Ashkenzic Nusach we see theirs is usually longer. In some cases we can actually traces when they added something to their Sidur but in most cases we are confronted with just a longer Nusach and we don’t know which was the original? Was it something we forgot and lost or something they added?  I am almost certain in case of this Bracha they kept adding rather than us “losing” part of the Nusach. If two different Nusahaot existed for summer and winter in the times of Hazal we would know this[2] and also if this was the original Takana, we would be unlikely to lose it over time. But if they kept adding more bakashot to winter Nusach over time it could get consolidated and accepted in all Edot Hamizrach Sidurim. But why did only Sephardim add and only to the winter Nusach the bakashot for parnasa?


So I want to suggest the following: we all know the main bracha is about the good crop (that was the main parnasa on which everyone depended, primarily the grains to make bread) and its major part includes asking for rain during winter. In Europe where Ashkenazim lived we had enough rain anyway as Rema[3] mentions regarding the prayer thanking for rain. In addition in northern Europe they used to plan the grain in the spring and it grew in the summer[4]. So rain in the winter had nothing to do with the crop.


But in Edot Hamizrach lands it made a lot of sense that asking for rain in the winter was the primary issue on which all future parnasa depended. So they kept adding to the original Nusach but for winter only, that’s why the summer Nusach remained pretty short (shorter than even Ashkenazic Nusach) and the winter Nusach has more than twice as many words as the regular Nusach Ashkenaz or Hassidic “Sephard”.


[1] By the way, there was an article in Hakira that shows that originally the blessings Anshey Kneset Hagdola made were very short, once phrase each, and the rest depended on the individual praying.

[2] Tur uses this argument והכי משמע לישנא דגמרא שאלה בברכת השנים אלמא אין משנין אותה אלא ששואלין בה מטר

[3] ומה שאין אנו נוהגים בזמן הזה בברכת הגשמים משום דמדינות אלו תדירים בגשמים ואינן נעצרין כל כך

[4] That’s why everything was Hodesh once that grain grew, see Aruch Hashulchan, Yore Deah 293.