“Therefore, Let’s Say Both of Them”: The Blessing Combination of Rav Papa

Talmud Tuesdays - DrewsViewsThere is an interesting phenomenon in the Babylonian Talmud, whereby the phrase הלכך נמרינהו לתרוייהו is used to indicate that a blessing should not just be used to thank God for one thing, but actually should use two pre-existing options for a blessing[‘s conclusion]. All four times this phrase is employed in the Babylonian Talmud, it is recorded as voiced by Rav Papa. He is recorded as saying it with regards to Reading of Megillat Esther, Post-Bathroom Use, Rain, and Rainbows.הלכך נימרינהו לתרוייהו

With the reading out of the megillah of Esther, Rav Sheshet from Kateriza and Rava each suggest an ending, with the Talmud quoting Rav Papa to go with both endings (Megillah 21b):

אמר רב פפא: הלכך נימרינהו לתרוייהו: ברוך אתה ה’ הנפרע לישראל מכל צריהם האל המושיע

With the post-bathroom blessing (“birkhat asher yatzar”), Rav (revised through Shmu’el) has a version and Rav Sheshet also has a version, with the Talmud presenting Rav Papa going with both endings (Berakhot 60b):

אמר רב פפא: הלכך נמרינהו לתרוייהו: רופא כל בשר ומפליא לעשות

With the blessing over rain, Rabbi Yohanan shares his blessing, while Rava later on shares his version of the blessing, with the Talmud presenting Rav Papa deciding to have us say both (Berakhot 59b & Ta’anit 6b-7a):

אמר רב פפא: הלכך נימרינהו לתרוייהו רוב ההודאות והאל ההודאות

With the blessing over rainbows, the Talmud presents one version of a blessing, while a beraita presents Rabbi Yishma’el, son of Rabbi Yohanan, son of Beroka, stating another, with the Talmud featuring Rav Papa as having us simply say both (Berakhot 59a):

אמר רב פפא: הלכך נימרינהו לתרוייהו ברוך זוכר הברית ונאמן בבריתו וקיים במאמר

It’s certainly a curiosity why Rav Papa doesn’t decide one way or another with these blessings and simply includes both of them.  One wonders if there’s something about his situation that necessitates going with two different possibilities….

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