What Happens if One Forgot to Say “HaMelech HaMishpat”?

**Dedicated to the Hatzlaha of the Rach HaNolad of Emile and Galia Amzallag and Mazal Tov to the new boy**

The period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is known as Aseret Yeme Teshuva, during which there are several changes in the Amida. These changes reflect this period of the year in which we reaffirm Hashem’s kingship over us. One of these changes is in the blessing of Hashiva, which normally ends of “Melech Ohev Tzedaka UMishpat” but is modified to “HaMelech HaMishpat”. The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 583:1) rules that if one forgot to end off the blessing of Hashiva with “HaMelech HaMishpat” or if one is unsure how one ended it, as long as one did not finish the Amida, one must return to the blessing of Hashiva. The Rama, however, says that by mistakenly saying “Melech Ohev Tzedaka UMishpat” one is still making a reference to Hashem as “Melech”-King and therefore one need not go back and repeat the blessing. We follow the Shulhan Aruch except in cases of doubtful blessings (“Safek Berachot”), and the Ben Ish Hai, the Kaf HaHaim and the rabbis of Morocco agree here with the Rama’s stance.

Rav Ovadia Yosef questions the concern over doubtful blessings in this instance and says that indeed, incorrectly ending the blessing of Hashiva may itself be a blessing in vain. He therefore agrees with the position of the Shulhan Aruch and says one should go back and repeat the Amida as of Hashiva. Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul retorts that we can rely on the principle of being lenient with blessings in cases of doubt (“Safek Berachot Lehakel”), therefore ex post facto “Melech Ohev Tzedaka UMishpat” is considered as being the proper blessing. As such, he says that there is no need to go back to the blessing of Hashiva and on the contrary, if one does go back and repeat the blessing, this may be considered a possible blessing in vain.

Summary: According to the Moroccan custom, one does not go back to the blessing of Hashiva if one forgot to say “HaMelech Hamishpat” during Aseret Yeme Teshuva.

      HaMelech HaMishpat