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As we noted last week, the Sefer Rinas Chaim writes that in the first six Brachos of request, our requests are for individuals within the community--whereas the second group of six Brachos--which commence with Teka BeShofar--are requests of and for the entire community.  The Kuntrus HisChaskus BiT’fillah brings in the name of the Avudraham that each bracha in the first group of six corresponds, or has a matching bracha, in the second group of six.  The second bracha of the first group (HaShiveinu Avinu) requests help for the individual in Torah, Avodah and Teshuvah.   Corresponding to this, the second bracha in the second group for Klal Yisroel is Hoshivah Shofteinu.  Here, we beg Hashem to reappoint the Sanhedrin.  This will revive the authority of the Torah, and consequently strengthen the kingship of Hashem over His people.  Thus, truth and justice will return to K’lal Yisroel.  Additionally, the Sefer Ya’aros Devash writes that the Ikar HaShrayas HaShechina is through the Sanhedrin--for they will remedy and cure all the Torah that has been lost and forgotten, ridding us of dissention and indecision.  Moreover, the Ya’aros Devash concludes, when there are Dayanim Keshairim in the world, then bracha is Sheruyah B’Olam--the world is infused with bracha.  It is for this reason that the bracha continues VeHaser Mimenu Yagaon VeAnacha--for as bracha pervades the world--all of the sources of agony and groaning depart--and this time…it will be forever!


We begin the bracha with a Tefilla for our Shoftim, i.e., our Sanhedrin to return, so that the resha’im of the world are dealt with, bringing greater peace to the entire world and each and every person in it as a result.  We then request that Hashem grant Yoatzeinu Kevatechila--the level and status of Chachomim who lived at the time of nev’ua, who could give the exact eitzah, a final determination of direction or advice that is needed by a person in each and every situation in which he needs guidance.  If one would like to visualize it, perhaps he can imagine Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon Hakohein back on the Sanhedrin, and Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo Hamelech--once again giving Eitzos to our people.  This is not out of the realm of possibility--it is going to happen--and this is what we are praying for--so daven well!



In this bracha, we ask Hashem to return Judges and our Yoatzim to the prior levels of our greatness, and immediately continue with the phrase “Vehaser Mimenu Yagon Va’Anacha--and remove from us sorrow and groaning.”  The Sefer Avudraham writes that the juxtaposition here teaches that with the return of the Shoftim and the Yoatzim, our Yagon and Anacha will forthwith depart.  What is Yagon and what is Anacha?  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah brings that Yagon refers to De’agah B’Lev--sadness, or a troubled or worry-filled heart.  Anacha, on the other hand, refers to sadness that comes from physical strain and tzaros that actually occur.  When justice returns to the world, and the Shechina then has an ultimate place to reside, the world’s difficulties, and each and every person’s strains and worries along with it, will be no more.  The suffering vanishes--for it has no further place.  We should remember that we are davening to Hashem here not only for removing one person’s pain and woes (even if it may be yours), but each and every person’s--and not only for a minute or a day or a year--but for eternity!  Let’s Daven Well!



With the return of our Shoftim and Yoatzim, all Yagon and Anacha will depart from our lives, which as we learned yesterday, is the basis for the words V’haser Mimenu Yagan V’Anacha.  There are even more incredible results.  At that time as well, U’Mloch Aleinu Atta Hashem Levadecha BeChesed U’Verachamim V’Tzaddekeinu BaMishpat--everyone in the world will realize that it is Hashem, and only Hashem, Who rules over us, His people, with unique Hashgacha Pratis--with Chesed and Rachamim.  One will note that this very special concept of U’Mloch Aleinu Atta Hashem Levadecha is even prominent in our Tefillos in the Yomim Noraim where we emphasize these very words in the “U’Vechain…” in the third bracha of the Yamim Noraim Shemone Esrei.  Now, Hashem will rule over us for all to see--but what is the difference between Chesed and Rachamim metioned in this bracha?  We present two alternative explanations.  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah explains that Hashem’s Chesed will bring goodness upon us even if we have insufficient merit, and His Rachamim will prevent us from being punished in a manner which would otherwise be in accordance with our deeds.  HaRav Schwab explains that Hashem will rule over us BeChesed while this world is still in existence, and later BeRachamim--in the world of Techiyas HaMeisim.  According to both explanations, our Tefillos here are qualitatively expansive, and eternally everlasting.  It is not Chesed and Rachamim for now--it is forever!



We conclude our Bracha with the request of V’Tzadekeinu BaMishpat--and find us righteous in judgment.  HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains the relationship between Tzedek and Mishpat.  Mishpat is the strict letter of the law, whatever it may be--as it is written ‘on the books’.  Tzedek, on the other hand, represents factors which could (although they need not be) taken into account to mitigate the Mishpat such as affliction, poverty, bad influences, etc.  We ask Hashem to bring Tzedek into our Mishpat.  Why would He do this?  It is because we bring Tzedek into our Mishpat--that is, we judge other people favorably, beyond the situation, beyond the circumstances of what happened or what he did.  In this bracha, then, we are reminding ourselves that even if we are not judges sitting behind the table or bench, that we too act as judges every day--and that the way we judge will be the way we are judged. With this, we can understand the conclusion of the Bracha--Melech Oheiv Tzedaka U’Mishpat--the King who loves imparting Tzedaka into Mishpat.  The term ‘love’ in this bracha, as HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita in the name of the Bach explains, refers to Hashem’s love of seeing us act with Tzedaka in our Mishpat--by judging others favorably.  He, in turn, can judge us favorably as well!  Hakhel Note:  This is the only bracha in Shemone Esrei that concludes with the term love--let us value it properly(!)


The Rabbeinu Yonah to Brachos writes that there are those who are very mistaken in our current Golus and c’v believe, because of the sufferings of exile, that Hashem has forsaken us, and does not watch over us.  The phrase of VeHaser Mimenu Yagon VeAnacha refers to this Yagon and Anacha in Galus from which c’v people have erred.  At the time of the Geulah, however, it will be clear for all to see that Hashem rules over us with Chesed and Rachamim, with Tzedek and Mishpat.  Accordingly, we are praying for the day when the sorry misconceptions depart, and all recognize Hashem’s true essence--an essence that was there all along!



---------------------------------------------  SECOND SET  -------------------------- ------------------------------------


We continue with our study of the Nineteen Brachos of Shemone Esrei. This week we focus on the Eleventh Bracha of Shemone Esrei--Hashiva Shofteinu--Restoring of Justice.  The Seder HaYom writes that for so long as we are in Galus we cannot fulfill the Mitzvos and the study of Torah properly because of the tzaros and agonies that we face.  In this bracha, therefore, we daven to Hashem that He rid us of Yagon Va’Anacha--sorrow and groan--and this will be accomplished through the establishment of the Sanhedrin, and that the Chachomim reestablish themselves as those who give the proper advice to our people in both Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus.  HaRav Chaim Kanievksy, Shlita, points out that the first phrase of the bracha:  Hashiva Shofetinu KiVarishona V’Yoatzeinu KeVatechilah is clearly based on the Pasuk in Yeshaya ( 1:26 ):  V’Hashiva Shoftayich Kevarishona V’Yoatsayich KiVatechilah.  The G’ra actually teaches that the Shoftim we are referring to are Dovid and Shlomo, and the Yoatzyim are Moshe and Aharon themselves who will return to give us their sage advice.  Hakhel Note:  Let us reflect upon this incredible leadership that we will have.  We can then truly understand why we will no longer have any Yagon V’Anacha!  May it come speedily and in our day.



The Siddur Otzar HaTefillos brings from the Levush that the Malochim recited our bracha of “Baruch Atta Hashem Melech Oheiv Tzedaka U’Mishpat” at the time that Moshe taught Bnei Yisrael the Parsha in the Torah of Mishpatim.  Every letter of the Aleph Bais is found in this Bracha--except for the ‘Zayin’ which (among other things) represents our seven great leaders (the Ushpizin)--how exact our Brachos are!  The reason this Bracha comes immediately after the ingathering of our exiles is because Hashem will punish those who must be punished before we settle in Yerushalayim (as described in a coming bracha).  Additionally, we require a Sanhedrin as soon as possible in our Geulah process because the Ikar Hashra’as HaShechina is through the Sanhedrin.  It is for this reason that the Lishkas HaGazis, which housed the Sanhedrin HaGadol, was located in the Bais HaMikdash itself.  We note the stark similarity in brachos between the opening of our Bracha for Teshuvah:  Hashiveinu Avinu LeSorasecha”--and our Bracha now to restore our leadership--”Hashiva Shofetinu KiVarishona”.  We suggest that there is a great lesson here which may not be so evident--that is, we need to have our Avos and Neviim of the past before us--in order to fully attain our quest that HaRav Wachtfogel so urged us to seek Masai Yagiyah Ma’asi LeMa’asei Avosai.  The living lessons in front of us will serve as our greatest reminders of who we are, where we come from, and what we can attain!  Let us sincerely pray now for these days!




In the Bracha we ask that Hashem remove from us both Yagon and Anacha.  What is the difference between Yagon and Anacha?  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah brings that Yagon is worry and troubled concern, whereas Anacha is a feeling that comes from actual tzaros that the person is experiencing.  All of this will be gone when true Torah leadership is restored to our land, our people and to the world.  The next phrase, which is seemingly innocuously placed here actually goes to the core of our Davening on the Yamim Noraim!  U’Mloch Aleinu Atta Hashem Levadecha B’Chesed U’VeRachamim V’Tzadekeinu BaMishpat.”  Here, we ask that Hashem’s singular rulership become evident to the entire world, and that, moreover, all see once and for all that Hashem acts with Chesed (i.e., even when we do not have Zechusim), with Rachamim (i.e., not punishing us for what we have done), and with Tzedek B’Mishpat (i.e., His finding us innocent in our deeds below, so that we will not have to face the heavenly court for punishment any time in the future).  Just as our recitation of Aleinu at the end of davening should remind us of the Malchiyos that we recite on the Yamim Noraim, so too, should this request for Hashem’s peaceful, kind and singular rulership over us cause us to instill within ourselves a new striving and sincerity in the middle of our Shemone Esrei!




With HaRav Elyashiv no longer with us in this world, this Bracha to restore our Judges and Counselors takes on a more direct and personal meaning.  The Sefer Ya’aros Devash writes that when reciting the bracha of Hashiva Softeinu, one should place upon his heart that Hashem return the Sanhedrin who are the Kisei Hashem--Hashem’s throne--to us.  As long as the Sanhedrin were in their place, they taught us the Torah She’Be’al Peh, quashed Machlokes, and kept the knowledge of Torah She’Be’al Peh up to a high standard amongst K'lal Yisroel.  Moreover, they performed outstanding Chesed to resha’im whom they punished in this world--saving them from being punished in the next world(for instance, by giving a person lashes, thereby saving him from kareis). As the Ya’aros Devash concludes:  BeZema’an SheHaDayanim Kesheirim--HaBracha Sheruyah BaOlam!"



The Bracha concludes with: Baruch Atta Hashem Melech Oheiv Tzedaka U’Mishpat.  Hashem loves to do Tzedakah even while exercising justice.  HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z’tl, (HaRav Schwab on Prayer) insightfully teaches that because we realize that Hashem’s Heavenly Judgment is so influenced by His Tzedakah, we may be complacent in our efforts to do Teshuvah.  It is for this reason that during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah we end this Bracha with HaMelech HaMishpat, rather than Melech Oheiv Tzedaka UMishpat--for during this period, we must apply a much stricter standard of mishpat to ourselves if we are to expect Rachamim from HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  HaRav Schwab then beautifully concludes:  The Torah tells us BeTzedek Tishpot Amisecha--judge your fellow man with righteousness (Vayikra 19: 15). Our Chachomim learn from here Hevei Dan Es Chavericha LeChaf Zechus (Shavuos 30a). If a person sees another doing something which, on the surface, appears wrong, he should not assume the worst, but rather, he should ‘judge’ him favorably in his own mind.  Although the average person is not a judge, nevertheless, we all form our own opinions, ‘judgments’, of our fellow man. It is in this sense that we say to HaKadosh Baruch Hu in this Bracha, VeTzadekeinu BaMishpat.  Since now--before the Geulah-we do not have the high caliber of judges and advisors to lead and advise us how to avoid our pitfalls, because we are an orphaned and leaderless people, we ask HaKadosh Baruch Hu to judge us favorably, to judge us Lechaf Zechus and thereby to apply Tzedakah to our Mishpat!


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