The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach
Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim.

We begin reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” in the Mussaf prayer of Simchat Torah (outside of Israel from Shemini Atzeret). This recitation does not constitute a request or plea for rain; rather, it is merely meant as praise to Hashem and is therefore dubbed, “Powers of Rain.” The actual request for dew and rain can be found in the ninth blessing of the Amidah prayer referred to as the “Blessing of the Years” (Barech Aleinu). There are several halachic differences between mentioning the “Powers of Rain” in the second blessing of the Amidah prayer entitled, “Ata Gibor,” and the actual request for dew and rain in the ninth blessing. Firstly, whereas we begin mentioning the “Powers of Rain” from Mussaf of Shemini Atzeret, we do not actually request dew and rain until the night of the Seventh of Marcheshvan (outside of Israel from the night of the Fifth of December), as we shall discuss in following Halachot.

Why is “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” Mentioned in the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” Blessing?
The Gemara (Berachot 33a) states that we mention the “Powers of Rain” in the “Ata Gibor” blessing for this blessing deals with the Resurrection of the Dead and since rainfall is tantamount to The Resurrection, our Sages thus established this sentence to be mentioned in the blessing dealing with The Resurrection. Our Sages established the actual request for rain in the “Blessing of the Years,” for this is a blessing regarding one’s livelihood and rainfall is a matter of sustenance for the entire world.

One Who Forgets to Mention “Mashiv Ha’Ruach
If one forgets to recite “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” and becomes aware of his mistake only after concluding the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing, we must analyze whether one must return to the beginning of the Amidah prayer and begin it again or may one continue his prayer as usual. This law indeed depends on one important factor: If one inserted “Morid Ha’Tal” instead of “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” (as is the Sephardic custom during the summer months), one would not return to the beginning of the Amidah prayer since one has said “Morid Ha’Tal.”

However, if one mentioned neither “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” nor “Morid Ha’Tal” (which is indeed customary among several Ashkenazi communities during the summer months), if one has not yet begun the “Ata Kadosh” blessing, one should recite “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” between the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim”and “Ata Kadosh” blessings and then just continue his prayer as usual. If, however, one has already begun the “Ata Kadosh” blessing and only then realizes his mistake, one must begin his Amida prayer anew.