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Q&A

Why is מוציא לחם more of a problem than מתיר אסורים or מלביש ערמים?

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The Gemara (Berachot 38a) cites a dispute whether the blessing on bread is המוציא or מוציא. The issue is that the blessing must reflect the past tense; while everyone agrees that מוציא is past tense, the parties dispute whether המוציא is past or present tense. The Gemara concludes that one should recite המוציא.

Tosfos ad. loc. raise the following question (my translation):

ואע"פ דבמוציא כ"ע לא פליגי דאפיק משמע ובירושלמי מפרש טעמא כדי שלא לערב האותיות כגון העולם מוציא ואע"ג דבלחם מן נמי איכא עירוב שאני התם דקרא כתיב (תהלים קד) מצמיח חציר לבהמה ועשב לעבודת האדם להוציא לחם מן הארץ

Even though regarding מוציא nobody is in argument that it implies the past. In the Yerushalmi, the explanation is so that one should not mix the letters, i.e. [the concluding ם of] העולם [with the initial מ of] מוציא. Even though by לחם מן there is similarly mixing, that is different, as it is from the verse (Psalms 104), "Who sprouts herbage for the animal, grass for the work of man, to bring forth bread from the land [להוציא לחם מן הארץ]."

Many other blessings begin with a מ following the introduction, such as ברוך...מתיר אסורים or מלביש ערמים, among others. Why are we concerned about slurring together העולם מוציא, but not about slurring together העולם מתיר or העולם מלביש?

When these blessings are discussed in Berachot 60b, I notice that Tosafos do not comment on them. Did these blessings have a definite article in older manuscripts that was lost over time?

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I understand that grammatically it is more correct to leave out the definite article, which is why Rava starts out saying that everyone agrees that מוציא is valid. However, we would rather add the "ה" to prevent slurring the words together. For this we would need a source that even with the article it would still be understood in the past tense. The Rabbannan say that המוציא is also good, quoting the Passuk ״הַמּוֹצִיא לְךָ מַיִם מִצּוּר הַחַלָּמִישׁ״', so it is preferred because it prevent slurring. Rabbi Nechemia says that since המוציא is also used for present tense in ״הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלוֹת מִצְרָיִם״ and this is the primary grammatical usage, it should not be used for the bracha.

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