Let Us Say Amen

18 Jan 2016

One of the most spoken words by all Jews in synagogues is AMEN. What does AMEN meananyway?

It is one of the first words we learn to say for our davening. During the High Holidays it is quite
a moving experience to participate in a thundering AMEN in a large Beit Midrash or Synagogue.
It is a spiritually powerful tool as well. The Talmud Shabbat 119b states “Anyone who answers
Amen with all his strength merits to have opened in front of him the gates of Gan Eden.” Why?
The word Amen is associated with the word Emunah that means faith, belief and loyalty.
Therefore reciting Amen to a blessing or a prayer demonstrates a statement of affirmation that
the blessing is reliably true and demonstrates hope and confidence that the prayer will be
answered. Demonstrating this powerful faith and belief is the key to opening the heavens
Amen is also an acronym. It stands for Ay-l Melech Neeman-G-d is a true and faithful king. The
Halacha teaches that an individual says these three words before reciting the Shema if praying
HaRav Shlomo Wolbe zt”l shlitta in his classic work Aley Shor Bk2 pp286 reveals the deeper
implications of the word Amen. He explains that mans relationship with G-d is threedimensional. We know Him through His creation, His revelation at Sinai, as well as His promise
of redemption.
Creation: We recognize G-d by his handiwork. A sunset, a rainbow, a glacier, the human body
and the animal kingdom all showcase G-d’s artistic genius.
Revelation: At Mount Sinai 3323 years ago Hashem called out from the heavens and uttered
the first two commandments. The awesome encounter described in Deuteronomy 4:9 was a
moment of national inspiration and prophesy when the Infinite directly engaged the finite.
Redemption: In Isaiah 8:10 it says “And on that day G-d will be one, and His name will be one.”
We are promised that one day (may it be soon) all the nations of the world will recognize the
one eternal G-d and then evil and falsehood will be eradicated from the world.
These three concepts are ensconced in the word Amen. Ay’l represents G-d’s trait of kindliness
with which He created the world. Melech – He is our King due to the Torah we have received from Him. And Neeman – He is faithful and will one day reveal His grandeur to the world and
bring redemption to all mankind.