Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin
FOCUS ON TEFILLAH ARCHIVE
HaRav Yonasan Eibeschutz, Z’tl, writes that Shalom is the “Kesher
HaNechmad”, in which all of Klal Yisroel unites.
Accordingly, when one davens for Shalom, he is praying that there
should no longer be any Machlokes, Kinah, or Sinah, but rather that we
should unite with Ahavah
Achvah and Reius. In fact,
HaRav Eibeschutz continues that one should have Kavannah here to fulfill the
Mitzvah of the V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Komacha! The Sefer Olas Tamid specifically adds that we should daven to be free of war
and of chayos (perhaps our contemporary form of this would be terrorist
In the Kuntres Avodas
HaTefillah, HaRav Meir Birnbaum, Shlita, brings from the Rabbeinu Bachya
and the Malbim that we should have Kavannah for the Shalom of our bodies,
household, community, and all of our possessions--that no bad or pe’ga
occurs to them.
C. As we
have noted, the Bracha of Sim Shalom (in Nusach Ashkenaz) contains the word
Shalom itself four times and the
Shoresh of the word Bracha six times!
With this, we can well understand why every Siyum concludes with the
bracha of Shalom--Hashem Oz LeAmo
Yitein--Hashem Yivarech Es Amo BaShalom.
As Rabbeinu Yonah writes: “Shalom
Hu Kollel LeChol Tov SheBaOlam V’Ein Tachlis Letoalto--Shalom includes
all good of the world and there is no end to the benefit it provides.”
Accordingly, although we may be tired at the end of Shemone Esrei--just
as at Neilah we lift our spirit to provide that essential last stage of
Kavanna--so too here should we make sure to rise to the great occasion of
asking Hashem to shower us with the bracha of Shalom in every
circumstance--personally and behalf of all of Klal Yisroel!
The Sefer Boruch SheAmar
explains that the term Sim is the
first word of this Bracha, in which we ask Hashem to provide Shalom, Tova,
Bracha, Chain, Chesed and Rachamim upon us and all of Klal Yisroel.
The term Sim (place)
is especially used, because unlike Tein(give)
which may imply that it can be taken away, we instead ask--that the
Bracha not only come but be placed--and remain
The Bracha of Sim Shalom follows directly after Birchas Kohanim and
obviously mirrors its three Brachos--Yivarechecha,
Ya’er, and Shalom.
Ya’er is represented in
Sim Shalom by the words ‘Ohr Panecha’.
The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah
explains that we ask that Hashem shed His light upon us in a way that
clearly shows His love for us to all.
We further recite that Hashem has given us a Toras
Chaim. What is the Toras Chaim? The Kuntres
Avodas HaTefillah brings from HaRav Pam, Z’tl, that it is a Torah that
teaches us how to live!
The Tzeidah L’Derech
explains that the term Shalom comes from the root Shalem
meaning completeness and fullness. This
is why Shalom is all-encompassing--for it includes freedom from war, freedom
from jealousy, freedom from sickness, etc.
Even Hashem’s Name is Shalom--for Hashem is everything!
It is thus no coincidence--as it never is--for this bracha to be the
final one in Shemone Esrei--for through it we ask for the completeness of
all of the other Brachos.
At Mincha (Nusach Ashkenaz) and Ma’ariv, we ask not only for Sim
Shalom but for Shalom Rav--a great amount of Shalom.
HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains that it is because these
hours can be a greater period of Din, and so the Bracha that we need for
Shalom is greater.
We conclude our Shemone Esrei with a request for blessing all of Klal
Yisroel with peace. Oh, how we
should have Kavanna in these final words.
We have Boruch Hashem completed our Series on the Nineteen Brachos of
Shemone Esrei. Next week, we
hope to focus on our personal Tefillos in Elokai Netzor.
May Hashem accept all of our Tefillos this Rosh Hashana on behalf of
our people--and may we witness the sweetness of HaMevarech
Es Amo Yisroel BaShalom!
SECOND SET --------------------------------------------------------------
The Levush writes that
this Bracha corresponds to the words of the Malochim who recited “Baruch
Atta Hashem HaMevorech Es Amo Yisrael BaShalom”, when Bnei Yisrael
entered Eretz Yisrael at the time of Yehoshua Bin Nun.
Our Bracha immediately follows the Birkas Kohanim which ends with the
word Shalom, and now we continue
to emphasize its great need to us. Indeed,
the Sefer Ya’aros Devash writes that in praying for peace in K’lal Yisrael,
we should have Kavannah that we are fulfilling the Mitzvah of V’Ahavta
L’Reiacha Kamocha! The
first words of the Bracha are “Sim
Shalom Tovah U’vracha Chein VaChesed V’Rachamim Aleinu Ve’al Kol
Yisrael Amecha--place peace, good, blessing, graciousness, kindness and
mercy upon us and upon all of Yisrael, Your nation.”
The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah
explains that Shalom
(peace), includes many important facets--Shalom
HaGuf (physical and mental peace within oneself), Shalom
Bayis (with all members of one’s family), Shalom
HaMedina (peace within the country and among countries), Shalom
HaKinyanim (peace regarding all of one’s possessions, with no disputes
over them), and Shalom MiKol Pega Mikra
U’Machlokes (peace from any incident, accident and dispute with
others). Let us take a moment to
reflect upon the fact that Birkas Kohanim concludes with Shalom,
that bentsching concludes with Shalom,
that davening concludes with Shalom--for
us to recognize how essential Shalom
is to our lives both individually as a person and collectively as part of
K’lal Yisrael and indeed the world. It
is so essential that we have Kavannah in this Bracha--we must be sure to
inspire ourselves and reinvigorate ourselves as we begin with the word ‘Sim’.
Within the course of the
Bracha we have the opportunity to mention the word ‘Shalom’
(or its derivative) four times. Each
mention of the word Shalom is
truly a ‘mouthful’ and ‘mindful’--and we should be sure to make it
We continue with our
request that Hashem give the bracha of Shalom, and the additional brachos
that follow of Tovah, Bracha, Chein, Chesed and Rachamim to “Aleinu Ve’al Kol Yisrael Amecha”.
We thus pray for every
individual who is reciting this bracha together with us (Aleinu) as well as for all of K’lal Yisrael, who are Amecha--the
Am Hashem. We note that Yisrael
is placed before Amecha (as it is in the Bracha of Retzei)
to perhaps first recall the Zechus
Avos of Yaakov Avinu. We now
proceed with a great request: “Barcheinu
Avinu Kulanu K’Echad BeOhr Panecha --bless us Hashem all together with
the light of Your countenance.” HaRav
Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains that we can be zoche
to the light of Hashem’s countenance, i.e., a very special level of
Dveikus to Him. when we are bound together and united.
We were, for example, zoche to Hashem’s He’aras
Panim at the time of Matan Torah, when we united together at Har Sinai (VaYichan
Sham Yisrael Neged HaHar), as we specifically mention in the bracha:
“Ki Be’or Panecha Nasata Lanu Hashem Elokeinu Toras Chaim--for
with the light of Your countenance You gave us the living Torah.”
As we recite these words, we should feel connected and united with
the rest of K’lal Yisrael--hoping for Hashem’s He’aras Panim to come
back to us once again!
We begin the Bracha of Sim
Shalom by asking Hashem for Shalom,
Tovah, U’Vracha, and then once again, a bit later in the Bracha,
we say that Hashem has given us Tzedaka,
U’Vracha, V’Rachamim. Why
is the term Bracha singled out--are not everything else like Torah,
Tzedakah, Shalom, all brachos? HaRav
Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains that the term Bracha refers back to Hashem’s blessing to Avrohom Avinu--”VeHeyei
Bracha--you will be the source of bracha--giving bracha to others.”.
As Avrohom Avinu’s descendants, we are the Ba’alei
Bracha for the world! We
therefore ask that Hashem bring bracha to the world through us!
The Bracha continues with the request of VeTov
BeAinecha Levarech Es Amecha Yisrael Bechol Ais U’Vechol Sha’ah
Beshlomecha--may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people, Yisrael,
in every season and in every hour with Your peace.”
There are no two dates, and no two times in which the peace that is
necessary is the same. One day,
we primarily need peace from war in Eretz Yisrael; another from a terrorist
act overseas. Moreover, as HaRav
Schwab, Z’tl, points out: “If
one would observe the entire globe from space at one time, he would not find
one moment that the earth is free of strife, when there are no incidents of
bloodshed, or when no one is endangering someone else’s life.
Therefore, at every moment of our lives--
Bechol Ais U’Vechol Sha’ah, we are dependent upon and plead for Shlomecha--Your
Peace--Hashem’s special protection over us from wars and dangers of
every kind and nature.” Hakhel
Note: Let us especially reflect
on how desperately we always need--on an individual and collective basis--Shlomecha--Hashem’s peace to be upon us and with us!
Before concluding the
Bracha with Baruch Atta Hashem, we will proceed to the variation of this
Bracha recited at Mincha and Ma’ariv (Nusach Sefard, Maariv only).
The bracha begins with the words:
“Shalom Rav Al Amecha Yisrael
Tasim LeOlam Ki Atta Hu Melech
Adon Lechol Hashalom --May You
place abundant Shalom on Your people Yisrael, for You are the King, Master
of all peace.” HaRav Chaim
Friedlander, Z’tl, suggests that the reason that we have a separate Nusach
for Mincha and Ma’ariv is because the morning represents Hashem’s Midah
of Chesed (as symbolized by Avrohom Avinu, whose great Midah was Chesed and
who established Tefillas Shacharis), while the times of Mincha and Ma’ariv
are times of Midas HaDin (as symbolized by Yitzchok Avinu whose Midah was
Gevurah/Midas HaDin, and Yaakov Avinu, who blended Avrohom Avinu and
Yitzchok Avinu’s Midos). Accordingly,
we need Shalom Rav--abundant Shalom, in order to counteract
all of the dangers and difficulties of Din that could lurk during this
period. We then follow by
especially reinforcing our absolute belief that Hashem is the complete Melech
Adon Lechol Hashalom--King and Master over any and all aspects of
peace--personal, communal and worldwide.
Countries that are at war with us, leaders that threaten us,
terrorists that want to attack us…they simply fall by the wayside if that
is the will of the King and Master of peace.
The words of this Bracha, when said with Kavannah emphatically
declare to Hashem that we know that we have come to the right place to ask
for the greatest bracha to each of us individually and to all of us as a
people--to Hashem--the Melech Adon
Shalom and Shalom Rav conclude in the same way:
VeTov BeAinecha Levarech Es
Amecha Yisrael Bechol Eis U’Vechol Sha’ah Bishlomecha Baruch Atta Hashem
HaMevorech Es Amo Yisroel BaShalom…May it be good in Your eyes to
bless Your nation Yisrael...Blessed are You Hashem Who blesses His people,
Yisrael, with peace. The Sifsei
Chaim points out that the term blesses
is in the present tense, because HaKadosh Baruch Hu constantly brings
peace to us, both personally and on a communal level. Indeed, even to the
casual observer, threats of war, threats of violence and threats of
ill-will, sometimes suddenly vanish. The
Eitz Yosef teaches that Shemone
Esrei ends with the word Shalom because each Shemone Esrei was instituted
in place of an Avodah in the Beis HaMikdash, and just as the Kohanim would
give us Birkas Kohanim (which ends with the word Shalom) at the conclusion
of their Avodah, so too, we follow suit and conclude with the great and
all-inclusive bracha of Shalom as well.
The Eitz Yosef also
explains that the reason the word Shalom is mentioned exactly
four times in the bracha is to teach us that Hashem bring us peace after
each one of the four galiyos--the four exiles.
As we recite the very last word of Shemone Esei--BaShalom (i.e.,
the fourth time the word Shalom is mentioned), we should realize that
we are both pleading with and thanking Hashem for the final and ultimate
Shalom--from the fourth and last of exiles--may we sense and experience it
speedily and in our day!
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