|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 3
[In] a place where it is customary to say Birkat Aveilim (Blessing of the Mourners),2 [if the custom is to say] three [Berachot (blessings)], [then] they say three [Berachot]. [If the custom is to say] two [Berachot], [then] they say two [Berachot]. [If the custom is to say] one [Beracha], [then] they say one [Beracha]. [In] a place where it is customary to say Birkat Aveilim (Blessing of the Mourners), [if the custom is to say] three [Berachot] including the first one [on the subject of] Techiyat Hametim (Ressurection of the Dead)3 and he seals it off [by saying Baruch Ata Hashem] Mechaye Hameitim (Blessed You Hashem Who resurrects the dead). The second [Beracha is on the subject of] Tanchumei Aveilim (Consolation of the Mourners), and he seals it off [by saying Baruch Ata Hashem] Menachem Amo Veiro (Blessed You Hashem who consoles His nation and His city). The third [Beracha is said on the subject of] Gemilut Chasadim (Deeds of Kindness), and he does not seal it off.4
מסכת ברכות פרק ג
מָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לוֹמָר בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים שָלֹש אוֹמְרִים שָׁלֹש, שְׁתַּיִם אוֹמְרִים שְׁתַּיִם, אַחַת אוֹמְרִים אַחַת. מָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לוֹמָר בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים שָׁלֹש כּוֹלֵל אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה בִּתְחִיַּית הַמֵּתִים וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ מְחַיֶּה הַמֵּתִים. שְׁנִיָּה בְּתַנְחוּמֵי אֲבֵלִים וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ מְנָחֵם עַמּוֹ וְעִירוֹ. שְׁלִישִׁית בִּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים וְאֵינוֹ חוֹתֵם.
- The Tosefta states a new law. It is not related to any Mishna.
- Birkat Aveilim was a custom that existed in Talmudic times in the Land of Israel. See Talmud Bavli (Ketubot 8b). It was similar to the present day custom of Sheva Berachot after a wedding. These Berachot were said each over a cup of wine that was drunk after Birkat Hamazon after a meal in the house of the mourners. See Rashi (Ketubot 8b, Echad Keneged Hazan). Or this Beracha was said over a cup of wine in the middle of the street right after the eulogy that took place at the funeral. See Ramban (Torat Haadam, Inyan Hahatchala, Veseder Minhagot, Vol. 2 p. 153 in the Mosad Harav Kook edition of Kitvei Haramban). The Ramban adds (ibid. p. 154) that according to our Tosefta the first Beracha of Menachem Aveilim (2nd on the list below) is obligatory. Talmud Bavli (ibid.) lists 4 different Berachot that were potentially said. They were as follows:
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל בְּרוֹב גָּדְלוֹ אַדִּיר וְחָזָק בְּרוֹב נוֹרָאוֹת מְחַיֶּה מֵתִים בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ עוֹשֶׂה גְדוֹלוֹת עַד אֵין חֵקֶר וְנִפְלָאוֹת עַד אֵין מִסְפָּר. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים.
- אַחֶינוּ הַמְּיוּגָּעִים הַמְּדוּכָּאִין בָּאֵבֶל הַזֶּה תְּנוּ לְבַבְכֶם לַחֲקוֹר אֶת זֹאת. זֹאת הִיא עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד נָתִיב הוּא מִשֶּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְּרֵאשִׁית רַבִּים שָׁתוּ רַבִּים יִשְׁתּוּ כְּמִשְתֶּה רִאשׁוֹנִים כָּך מִשְׁתֶּה אַחֲרוֹנִים. אָחֶינוּ בַּעַל נֶחָמוֹת יְנָחֵם אֶתְכֶם. בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה’ מְנָחֵם אֲבֵלִים.
- אָחֶינוּ גּוֹמְלֵי חֲסָדִים בְּנֵי גּוֹמְלֵי חֲסָדִים הַמַּחֲזִיקִים בִּבְרִיתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יח:יט) כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה אֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת בֵּיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו. אָחֶינוּ בַּעַל הַגְּמוּל יְשַׁלֵּם לָכֶם גְּמוּלְכֶם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הי מְשַׁלֵּם הַגְּמוּל.
- רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים פְּדֵה וְהַצֵּל מַלֵּט הוֹשַע עַמְּךָ יִשְֹרָאֵל מִן הַדֶּבֶר וּמִן הָחֶרֶב וּמִן הַבִּיזָּה וּמִן הַשִּׁדָּפוֹן וּמִן הַיֵּרָקוֹן וּמִכָּל מִינֵי פּוּרְעָניוֹת הַמִּתְרַגְּשׁוֹת וּבָאוֹת לָעוֹלָם טֶרֶם נִקְרָא וְאַתָּה תַּעֲנֵה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ עוֹצֵר הַמַּגֵּפָה.
- Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, the great God, who in the multitude of His greatness is awesome and strong. Who in the multitude of His fearfulness resurrects the dead. Who with his pronouncement does great things without a reckoning and wonders without count. Blessed You Hashem, Who resurrects the dead.
- Our brothers who are fatigued [and] depressed because of this mourning! Pay attention to explore this. This stands forever. Such is the road (i.e. corse of events) since the six days of creation. Many have drunk, many will drink. The party of the first is like the party of the last. Our brothers! May the Master of consolation comfot you. Blessed You Hashem, Who comforts mourners.
- Our brothers, doers of kindness, sons of doers of kindness, who uphold the convenant of Abraham, our father, as it is said, “Because I knew that he will command his children and his household after him.” (Bereishit 18:19) Our brothers! May the Master of the reward pay you your reward. Blessed You Hashem, Who pays the reward.
- Master of the worlds! Redeem and save, rescue, salvage, your nation, Israel, from the pestilence, and from the sword, from the degradation, and from the blast [of wind damaging the crops], from the mildew [damaging the crops], and from all kinds of disasters that want [to come] and [actually] come into the world. Now we call [You], and You answer [us]. Blessed You Hashem, Who stops the plague.
- In other words, if the custom is specifically to say the 1st of the 3 Berachot on the subject of resurrection of the dead then…
- It seems that the first part of the Tosefta is talking about the custom to say the Berachot, but without a specifc order or their subjects. However the second part of the Tosefta is talking about a different custom where there was a specific order to the Berachot and each Beracha had to be said on the subject mentioned. If you look at the Berachot quoted in note 2 you will notice that their order and subject roughly follow what is outlined in the Tosefta. The 1st Beracha is about resurrection of the dead, the 2nd one is about comforting the mourners, the 3rd one is about deeds of kindness, and the 4th one is a plea to God to save us from troubles. Obviously our Tosefta does not include the 4th Beracha on the subject of troubles.
It is apparent from our Tosefta that although the content of the Berachot was similar, the text was not universal and that our Tosefta had a different version of the text of these Berachot than what is quoted in Talmud Bavli.