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The Sefer Rinas Chaim notes that in the first six Brachos of request, our request 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 the following further parallel:


“The Avudraham teaches that the first six Brachos of request in Shemone Esrei--commencing with Atta Chonen-- correspond to the second six, which commence with Teka BeShofar.  The first group begins with the prayer for intelligence, without which a person has nothing, and in the words of the Shulchan Aruch (115: 1) this is what distinguishes the human from the animal, and the Mishnah Berurah (there) adds, that this should be one’s main request--that Hashem should bestow upon us an upright and logical understanding.  The corresponding bracha in the second group is the one requesting the ingathering of our exiles to Eretz Yisroel, as the Torah describes in Parshas Nitzavim (Devorim 30), because the Galus degrades the spirituality of our holy nation, and withholds from us the holiness of Eretz Yisroel and Yerushalayim which have the power to rejuvenate us with powerful faith and love of Hashem and His Torah and Mitzvos.  Thus, the ingathering of the exiles is similar to an injection of true spiritual intelligence into our entire nation.”


Additional Note One:  The Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim (Chapter 19) writes that when we daven for the Geulah and the return of Kovod Shomayim, we give Nachas to Hashem just by showing we really care and make a sincere plea--and whether or not Hashem immediately accedes to our request. We must really reJewvinate ourselves for this Bracha--and give Hashem Nachas!


Additional Note Two:  What is the Shofar Gadol?  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah brings that it is GADOL BECHASHIVUS--it is not necessarily a large Shofar but it is an extremely important one--picture the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS--from this and previous generations--who will be so fully and finally overjoyed with the news--speedily and in our day!


When we recite the three key terms Shofar Gadol, Sa Neis, and Kabbtzeinu Yachad, we should put our hearts into it, and visualize the enormity and significance of the Geulah--which will come, but which we want to come now.  One reader commented that the Shofar Gadol may allude to the similar Kol Gadol of the Shofar of Mattan Torah which did not weaken.  So too, the Geulah that the Shofar will herald will be forever and ever--is there anything larger!  Similarly, the Neis, the banner will be high enough for the world to see as our exiles are ingathered from Johannesburg and Buenos Aires , from Vancouver and Stockholm , and from New York and London as well.  What an event--what a  happening--and it could be before our very eyes!  Finally, we will be gathered Yachad, all together--side by side in ultimate peace and harmony.  Let us focus on the sheer enormity of the event--and give these unparalleled requests the heartfelt clear Kavannah that they, very literally, so greatly deserve!


HaRav Eliyahu Munk in his Sefer Olam HaTefillos writes that this Bracha is centrally placed as the middle Bracha of Shemone Esrei because it bridges between the requests we make for the individual and the upcoming requests that we make for the community.  In fact, in the Bracha, we ask that Hashem actually unite the individuals into a community--as the Mekabeitz Nidchei Amo Yisroel.  The Sefer Dover Shalom provides an outstanding insight for us in this regard.  He writes that the three stages of our uniting and Geulah are represented in the three phrases of the Bracha prior to its conclusion:  First, there will be a Shofar Gadol L’Cheirusainu--i.e., we will be freed of our Shibud Malchiyos, of our subjugation to the nations of the world.  Then, VeSah Neis, a banner will be raised to gather us to one place, readying us for the Geulah.  Finally, Vekabitzeinu Yachad MeiArbah Kanfos HaAretz--we will actually be ingathered from everywhere and anywhere, the closest--and furthest--places on earth.  These  Three-Steps actually mirror the Three Steps of our Geulah from Mitzrayim-- as we first stopped working for the Mitzriyim as the Makkos continued, then were miraculously gathered to one central meeting place where we all left together from (see Shemos 12:37)--and then we finally left all together--as a united people!  Every time we recite Teka B’Shofar, we  plead with Hashem that he begin now with the Shofar Gadol L’Cheirusainu--first freeing us of the Shibud of Galus--and then continue the process so that we can all--united and together--experience the Geulah Sheleimah--speedily and in our day!


The Sefer Seder HaYom writes that there is something very special about this Bracha that goes even beyond the previous Bracha of Go’el Yisroel, in that we ask for redemption not only personally and in our current situations and environments--but this time we seek “Hashkeit U’vitcha B’Artzseinu Ka’asher Batechila”--for us to return to our original wholeness and wholesomeness as we existed when the Bais HaMikdash was first built.  This means (as is brought in the Siddur HaGra) that we are davening here that the Aseres HaShevatim, part of whom disappeared into the dark mountains, and part of whom disappeared beyond the Sambatyon River, will be brought together with us once again.  Even those who are “Nidchei--dispersed or pushed away, will be brought back together! Fascinatingly, the Seder HaYom adds that the term Yisroel, the last word of the Bracha, does not only refer to the people of Klal Yisroel, but to Yaakov Avinu, known as Yisroel.  How?!  Yaakov had three sons, each in a different kind of Golus--Yosef, who everyone had given up on; Shimon, who was alone and in trouble; and Binyomin, for whose life he very much feared.  It is from and for all of these different types of Golus that we daven--so that we can come back B’Simcha Gedolah from each and every kind of Golus--to a united Geulah!  Remember--M’Kabeitz Nidchei Amo Yisroel!


A.   The Art of Jewish Prayer (Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner, Z’tl, with Lisa Aiken), brings a Midrash (Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer 31) which explains what we mean by Shofar Gadol.  The Midrash teaches that no part of the Ayil that Avraham Avinu sacrificed was at all wasted, because he sacrificed it with total dedication and devotion: “The left horn of the Ayil was the Shofar that was blown when the Torah was given, the sinews were made into strings for the Kinor that was used by Dovid HaMelech…the right horn of this Ayil which was much larger than the left one is the Shofar that will be blown by Eliyahu HaNavi at the ingathering of our exiles.”  This is what is meant by the Shofar Gadol--it is the Shofar that is larger than the Shofar used at Matan Torah!  We must appreciate the enormity of the event--it is a culmination and epitome of our Achdus, as demonstrated use the Shoresh of Kabeitz (gathered together) used three times during the course of the Bracha.


B. The Sefer Acharis L’Shalom writes that we conclude the Bracha with Amo Yisroel--adding the word Amo [in the previous bracha we mentioned Go’el Yisroel, without Amo], because we--as His Nation  want to indicate our sincere and dedicated belief that we can bring the Geulah not just because the time has come, but through our own Ma’asim--our Torah, Tefillah, and Mitzvos.  One final incredible point:  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, notes the use of the Shoresh Kabeitz in the bracha and adds that it derives from the Posuk in Yeshaya “Ne’um Hashem Elokim MiKabeitz Nidchei Yisroel Od Akabeitz Alav L’Nikbatzav” (56:8).  He teaches that the last four words--Od Akabeitz Alav L’Nikbatzav, indicate that not only will we be ingathered ourselves, but that all of our possessions and belongings will join us--Hashem making the experience all the more wonderful and all the more enjoyable for us ! How can we not say Baruch Atta Hashem with sincere meaning for all He gives us in this Bracha!!



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HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita teaches that we see from the order of our bracha that FIRST Eliyahu HaNavi will blow the Shofar Gadol--the great Shofar (others say  that it will be Mich’ael as the Sar Yisrael who will blow, and others say that HaKadosh Baruch Hu kevaychol Himself, as at Har Sinai, will blow), then Eliyahu will lift a banner as a sign for us all to gather--and we will do so! According to Chazal, the Shofar Gadol is the right horn from the ayil that replaced Yitzchak at the Akeidah--and will be extended to a length of 1,000 amos!  HaRav Chaim makes a cheshbon based upon Chazal that a shofar of this size can literally be heard THE WORLD OVER!  Because  the speed of sound is slower--we may see the banner before we hear the Shofar which was blown first.  Hakhel note:  As we recite the words Tekah Beshofar Gadol LeChairuseinu--let us envision the moment and movingly pray that it become reality--bimheira veyameinu!




HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, points out that the bakashos in Shemone Esrei until this point were essentially personal bakashos for ourselves--and are only requested in the plural because we join our brothers together with us.  Beginning with Tekah B’Shofar, we begin a series of brachos on behalf of all of K’lal Yisrael as a Tzibbur.  HaRav Friedlander emphasizes that we must recognize that to us redemption means not merely the physical redemption from the lands of the 70 nations and the return of us all to Eretz Yisrael (in and of itself a great accomplishment), but also our spiritual redemption--an unfathomable lifting of our spirits in Avodas Hashem.  Our physical redemption, and our tribulations and sufferings will end because the spiritual redemption has occurred.  HaRav Friedlander explains that the Shofar blast to occur at the outset of our Geulah is more than a physical sound--it is a symbol (as it is on Rosh Hashanah) of the weakening and downward fall of the Yetzer Hara within every member of K’lal Yisrael.  Indeed, the Shofar Gadol at that time will have a greater impact and affect upon us even than the unrelenting Shofar blast at Har Sinai--for it will effect a Nitzachon Gamur over the Yetzer Hara.  This is the meaning of Tekah B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheiruseinu--to be freed, this time entirely--from the Yetzer Hara’s misplaced drives, animal-driven desires and core antagonism towards Avodas Hashem.  Hakhel Note:  It would seem that the blast will be a Tekiyah sound only--representing no weakness, no let up, and no staggered or slow approach--but rather a strong, unrelenting and decisive victory.  The Kavannah we have when reciting the words Tekah B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheiruseinu may be telling as to how sincerely we want to attain this great and lofty moment--victory, at last!



The bracha continues with the phrase VeSah Nes LeKabeitz Galuyoseinu--and raise a banner to gather in our exiles.  HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, brings two key Pesukim from Yeshaya which do, in fact, refer specifically to a banner being raised at the time of the Geulah:  VeNasah Nes LaGoyim VeAsaf Nidchei Yisrael U’Nefutzos Yehudah Yikabetz MeiArba Kanfos HaAretz…--He will raise a banner for the nations and assemble the disbursed of Yisrael…from the four corners of the earth” (Yeshaya 11:12); and “Kol Yoshvei Sevel VeShochnei Eretz Kinsoh Nes Harim Tiruh…--all the inhabitants of the world and dwellers of the earth will see when the banner is hoisted up upon the mountains” (Yeshaya 18:3).  The raising of a banner for us all to see, explains HaRav Friedlander, means that there will be two different kinds of spiritual redemption--one through the hearing of the Shofar (described yesterday) and a second through the sight of the banner.  The term for banner is ‘Nes’--which has the same meaning as miracle--for what we will see are outstanding and extraordinary miracles which will arouse us to do new spiritual heights.  Just as each Shevet had a banner or flag which symbolized and identified the Shevet, Hashem’s banner will be the blatant and awesome miracles which will cause us to see Hashem’s complete mastery and rulership over the world.  When we experience the great miracles at the time of Geulah we will be existentially uplifted in ways which we cannot imagine now.  Through these miracles, the ikar Galus--which is the spiritual Galus within us, our attachment to the culture and habits of the nature around us--will be completely uprooted, and with this will come an end to our physical Galus as well.  Additionally and remarkably, adds HaRav Friedlander, the miracles will gather in all those who are deserving --no matter what the nature of their particular Galus may be, no matter how disparate our exiles are across the globe.  No matter who we are or where we are--if we are worthy, Hashem’s outward manifestation will cure us of any and all Galus-generated ills--simultaneously!



The next phrase is “VeKabetzeinu Yachad MeiArba Kanfos Ha’aretz--the ingathering that we request now is not a small or partial one, as at the time we left Bavel to return to Eretz Yisrael (when only slightly more than 40,000 people returned and the Aseres HaShevatim did not return), but instead we request “Yachad--for everyone to return together”.  Our physical return is, once again, only a byproduct of the spiritual return--as we ask to be taken out of the mores and cultures of the foreign ideologies that surround us--from South Africa to the United States, and from Hungary to Chile.  Indeed, the test of Galus in each and every country is different--and for us to be gathered together and reunited in common purity is certainly a profound request and an unfathomable accomplishment.  We thus should be very much inspired when reciting the word ‘Yachad’--for it means so much!  On the latter half of the phrase-- MeiArba Kanfos Ha’aretz--from the four corners of the earth, HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z’tl, provides an important additional insight.  The word Kanfos (corners) is very much related to the word ‘wings’--and is rooted in the Pasuk (Yeshaya 24:16):  MiKnaf Ha’aretz Zemiros Shamanu Tzvi LaTzadik--from the wing of the earth, we have heard songs ‘beauty belongs to the Tzadik’.  HaRav Schwab explains:  This means that when that time comes, not only the Jewish people, but the whole world, will recognize HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and will be elevated to a higher level--the earth will have ‘sprouted wings’.  People everywhere will understand that they will have to change their lives-- simply stated, there will be a moral uplifting in the whole world.  So, concludes, Rav Schwab, we ask HaKadosh Baruch Hu to gather us together and unite us--in a newly uplifted world!  Hakhel Note:  Who can wait?!




The bracha concludes with the words Baruch Atta Hashem Mekabeitz Nidchei Amo Yisroel--Who gathers in the dispersed of His people Yisrael. HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z'tl,  teaches that this bracha ends in the present tense because we have such Emunah that the Geulah take place--we can 'taste' the ingathering of the exiles!  HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z'tl, teaches that the term Nidchei--the dispersed--is a crucial one, for it is based in the Pasuk of "...U'va'u HaOvdim B'Eretz Ashur Vehanidachim B''Eretz Mitzrayim...--and those who are lost in Ashur and dispersed in Mitzrayim will return to Yerushalayim (Yeshayah 27:13).  This means that even those who may have been previously 'lost' their Yiddishkeit  may be gathered in as well (obviously based upon factors beyond our understanding). One thing is for sure though--those who will meet the criteria of Amo Yisrael (,those who do Hashem's will show that they want to be his nation)--as the bracha concludes--they will all surely be gathered in. What gives us even additional hope and aspiration is that, as the Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah teaches, when the Geulah comes, Yisrael--including the Aseres HaShevatim will be reunited--this time inseparably and invincibly!  The conclusion of this bracha spirits us to pray for the day!


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