QUESTION: The Gemara states that a person may not say the abridged version
of Shemoneh Esreh, "Havinenu," on Motzai Shabbos because he cannot add the
insert of Havdalah ("Atah Chonantanu") into Havinenu. The Gemara asks, why
can he not just recite an abridged version of Havdalah in the abridged
version of Shemoneh Esreh? The Gemara leaves this question unanswered. Can
any answer be suggested for this question?
ANSWER: RABEINU YONAH suggests that the insert of Havdalah is only a
prayer, per se, and not a *blessing* of its own accord (i.e. it is included
in the blessing of "Chonen ha'Da'as"). If we were to say a shortened
version of Havdalah in Havinenu it would have the appearance of being a
real blessing that was just shortened for insertion into Havinenu, since
Havinenu is composed of abridged blessings. That is why we cannot insert
the mention of Havdalah into Havinenu.
RAV CHAIM SOLOVECHIK applies this teaching of Rabeinu Yonah to explain why
we do not mention Chanuka and Purim ("Al ha'Nisim") in the blessing after
snacks, "Al ha'Michyah," even though we make mention in Al ha'Michyah of
every other holiday. We know that Al ha'Michyah (also called "Berachah
me'Ein Shalosh") is an abridged form of Birkas ha'Mazon. If, in the full
version of Birkas ha'Mazon, we mention Al ha'Nisim, why do we not mention
it in the abridged version?
Rav Chayim answers that we cannot mention Al ha'Nisim in the abridged
version because anything added to an abridged prayer looks like it, itself,
was a blessing in its original form, as Rabeinu Yonah explains with regard
to Havdalah, and it would look as if Al ha'Nisim was a blessing, which it
However, if so, why do we make mention of Shabbos ("Retzeh") and Rosh
Chodesh ("Ya'aleh v'Yavo") in Al ha'Michyah when those prayers are also not
blessings in the full Birkas ha'Mazon?
Explains Rav Chayim, those prayers sometimes *are* blessings in the full
Birkas ha'Mazon. If a person forgets to say "Retzeh" and remembers after
the blessing of "Boneh Yerushalayim" but before beginning the next
blessing, he recites a short blessing that makes mention of Shabbos in lieu
of "Retzeh" (See the Gemara later, Daf 49a, and Shulchan Aruch OC 188:6).
For that reason we include an abridged mention of Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh
in Al ha'Michyah because they are indeed abridged blessings.
Rav Chayim goes further and explains that this is the reason why we mention
Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh *after* the words "u'Veneh Yerushalayim" in Al
ha'Michyah, while in Birkas ha'Mazon we say them before the blessing of
"Boneh Yerushalayim." Since these short mentions are *not* abridged
versions of "Retzeh and "Ya'aleh v'Yavo," but rather abridged versions of
the *blessings* of Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh, and those blessings are said
only *after* "Boneh Yerushalayim," their abridged versions are said only
*after* "u'Veneh Yerushalayim!"