Daily Email Archives

Bulletin Archives

Summer Archives

Public Announcements

Shatnez Publications

Past Events

Hakhel Recordings


Audio-Visual Resources


Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin





A.  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 attacks). 


B.  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!



A.  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 with us!


B.  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. 


C.  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!



A.  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. 


B.  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. 


C.  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 count!




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 Lechol HaShalom!




Both Sim 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!



Previous Bracha     

                                                                                                                                                Next Entry



Back to Tefillah Archives