As we will see in Mitzvah #433, there is an obligation for us to try to get closer to God through prayer. To help us fulfill this, our Sages established a prayer to be recited thrice-daily, corresponding to the prayers of our Forefathers. This prayer is called the Amidah (because it is recited standing); the weekday version is also called Shemoneh Esrei, the Eighteen Benedictions (although a nineteenth has since been added). Once a week for nineteen weeks, we will review the contents of the 19 blessings of “Shemoneh Esrei.”
Following right on the heels of the prayer to rebuild Jerusalem, we have a blessing asking God that the kings of the Davidic dynasty be restored to their rule. The Moshiach (Messiah) will be a descendant of the Davidic dynasty and he is referred to as “tzemach Dovid,” “the shoot of David.” (“Shoot” in this context being in the botanical sense, like a sprout.) This term is used to refer to Moshiach several places in Tanach (see, for example, Zechariah 3:8, “I am bringing my servant, Tzemach); the Jerusalem Talmud (Brachos 2:4) considers “Tzemach” to be a full-fledged name for Moshiach.
So, first we ask that the shoot of David speedily sprout, then we request that his horn be exalted through God’s salvation. Unlike the temporary kingdom of Saul, who was anointed with a clay pot, the permanent dynasty of David was anointed through a horn (see Talmud Horayos 12a). So, again, the metaphor is apt, referring to familiar symbols representing the house of David.
The bracha continues by saying that we do not desire Moshiach for Moshiach’s sake but because it is a manifestation of God’s salvation, which is the only true salvation there is. We conclude the blessing that God is the only One who can truly cause our salvation to sprout.