Birkat HaMinim -

Against Heretics

This "blessing," originally the nineteenth of the Amidah, was instituted at the council of Yavneh sometime after the destruction of the second Temple, and was composed in response to the Essenes and early Messianic believers in Yeshua as Mashiach.

Birkat Haminim

Note that in its present form, this blessing does not seem to target Messianic Jewish believers (the key word lamalshinim is normally rendered "for the slanderers"). But the Talmud (B'rakhot 28b-29a) states that the original form of this blessing had the term laminim, which is rendered "for the sectarians," which was generally understood to be the Essenes and Messianic Jews of that time. "If the chazan makes a mistake in any other of the blessings they do not remove him, but if he makes a mistake when saying the Birkat HaMinim they remove him because he is suspected of being a min himself" (B'rakhot 28b).

In short, the "blessing" was used as a sort of litmus test by the Rabbinics: a Messianic Jew could faithfully recite the other eighteen blessings of the Amidah but could hardly invoke a curse on followers of Yeshua the Mashiach. In this way, persons not reciting the Birkat HaMinim were suspected of heresy and subject to cherem (excommunication). 

Blessing Twelve: Birkat HaMinim

And for slanderers [sectarians] let there be no hope, and may all the evil in an instant be destroyed and all Thy enemies be cut down swiftly; and the evil ones uproot and break and destroy and humble soon in our days. Blessed art You, LORD, who breaks down enemies and humbles sinners.

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