Today is the Fast of Gedaliah. We have discussed the laws of public fast days in the context of the other public fast days of the year.
The Gemara (Berachot 12b) states: “Rabba bar Hinena said in the name of Rav: Throughout the entire year, one recites the blessings of ‘Ha’el Ha’Kadosh’ and ‘Melech Ohev Tzedakah U’Mishpat’ besides for the ten days from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur when one recites ‘Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh’ and ‘Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat’.” This means that during the Ten Days of Repentance, the conclusion of these respective blessings are to be recited as “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh” and “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat”. Rashi explains that “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh” refers to the fact that Hashem shows his kingdom by judging the world, meaning that Hashem’s behaves during these days with a more tangible aura of sovereignty by sitting and passing judgment upon his creations and for this reason, we must mention “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh” in our prayers.
If one is reciting the Amida prayer and in the middle of the Amida, one becomes unsure whether one has recited “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh” or “Ha’el Ha’Kadosh”, according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, one must assume that one concluded this blessing as one is accustomed to throughout the rest of the year, i.e. “Ha’el Ha’Kadosh”, and one must return to the beginning of the Amida prayer.
If one concluded the blessing by saying “Ha’el Ha’Kadosh” and realized one’s mistake within the time it takes to say the words “Shalom Alecha Rebbe” (approximately one second) immediately corrected one’s error by reciting “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh”, one has fulfilled his obligation and need not return to the beginning of the Amida prayer.
The same applies to reciting “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat” in that if one mistakenly concluded by reciting “Melech Ohev Tzedaka U’Mishpat” and has corrected this mistake immediately by reciting “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat”, one fulfills his obligation.
Even so, regarding “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat”, if one recited “Melech Ohev Tzedakah U’Mishpat” and did not correct this mistake by reciting “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat”, nevertheless, one does not return to the beginning of the Amida prayer; rather, one returns to the beginning of the “Hashiva” blessing and continues from there in order. Only when one realizes that one has recited “Melech Ohev Tzedakah U’Mishpat” after having finished one’s prayer must one return to the beginning of the Amida and repeat one’s prayer. Concluding the Amida prayer regarding this law refers to reciting the second “Yihyu Le’Ratzon” verse at the end of “Elokai Netzor”.
The Ashkenazi custom is that one does not return at all when one errs regarding “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat” whether one realizes one’s mistake in the middle of the Amida prayer or at the end. Even a Sephardic Jew who made a mistake regarding “Ha’Melech Ha’Mishpat” should preferably stipulate before beginning to pray, as follows: “If I am obligated to repeat the Amida prayer, I am reciting the following prayer as a mandatory prayer and if I am not obligated to, the following prayer is hereby voluntary.”
During the entire Ten Days of Repentance, it is customary to add the verses of “Zochrenu Le’Chaim”, “Mi Chamocha”, “U’chtov Le’Chaim Tovim”, and “Uv’Sefer Chaim” into the Amida as is printed in all Siddurim. If one forgot to insert “Zochrenu Le’Chaim” and then remembers this in the “Shema Kolenu” blessing, one may insert this verse into this blessing before reciting the words “Ki Ata Shome’a,” for one may request one’s personal needs in the “Shema Kolenu” blessing and “Zochrenu Le’Chaim” is considered a personal need. Nevertheless, one may not add the “Mi Chamocha” verse there because this is merely a praise offered to Hashem as opposed to an actual request.