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Ezras Avoseinu #2: Striving to Make Hashem Our “Ozer”
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עזרת אבותינו אתה הוא מעולם, מגן ומושיע לבניהם אחריהם בכל דור ודור The Helper of our Forefathers are You alone, forever, Shield and Savior for their children after them in every generation. ***** For our Forefathers, known as our “Avos” (Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov), Hashem was an “Ozer” (from the word “ezras”).  For their descendants […]
Ezras Avoseinu #1: Crossing the Sea into Olam HaBa
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ברוך…גאל ישראל …Who redeemed Yisrael.   *****   Rabbi Yochanan says (B’rachos 4b) that one who juxtaposes the brachah of Ga’al Yisrael to Shemoneh Esrei is a “ben olam ha’ba.”  The simple understanding is that he merits olam ha’ba.  Many years ago, I saw a commentary that explained that a “ben olam ha’ba” means that […]
Ahavah Rabah 20: Understanding Our Role As a Tzelem Elokim
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הבוחר בעמו ישראל באהבה …Who chooses his people Israel with love. ***** We mentioned last week that the conclusion of this brachah is telling us that Hashem is choosing us now – in the present tense – with love.  When were we actually chosen? The Gemara (P’sachim 118a) states that from the creation of the world, […]
Ahavah Rabah 19: Loving All of His Children…All of the Time
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Before we proceed to the conclusion of our brachah, we would like to share one powerful thought from the Vilna Gaon.  He quoted the Gemara in Chulin 91b, which states that klal Yisrael is more beloved to Hashem than the mal’achei ha’shareis, the heavenly angels.  The Gaon states that when we say “v’keiravtanu l’Shimcha ha’gadol,” […]
Ahavah Rabah 18: Closer and Closer to Hashem
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להודות לך וליחדך… …to offer praiseful thanks to You, and proclaim Your Oneness… ***** You (Hashem) brought us close to Your great Name (“Shimcha ha’gadol,” as explained last week, means Hashem’s creations and conducting the world) in order that we recognize Your greatness and great chesed, which will then inspire us to thank You. וליחדך–u’l’yachedcha, […]
Ahavah Rabah 17: Recognizing That Hashem Fosters Kiddush Hashem
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וקרבתנו לשמך הגדול סלה באמת, להודות לך… And You have brought us close to Your great Name forever in truth, to offer praiseful thanks to You… ***** Why don’t we just say that Hashem brought us closer to Him?  What does “Shimcha ha’gadol” refer to?  Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l in Rinas Chaim explains that this […]
Tal u’Matar: The Prayer for Dew and Rain
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In the winter months, the words “v’tein tal u’matar livracha” (“send dew and rain for a blessing”) are inserted in Shemoneh Esrei, in the bracha “Birkat HaShanim.” (That’s the one that ends “m’vareich hashanim”). Outside of Israel, we start saying the request for dew and rain at Maariv on the sixtieth day after the autumnal […]
Ahavah Rabah 16: Like a Father to a Son
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כי א-ל פועל ישועות אתה, ובנו בחרת מכל עם ולשון For You effect salvations, O G-d; You have chosen us from among every people and tongue. ***** Although we are so far away from what we are asking for (see Ahavah Rabah 15) and we are undeserving of salvation right now, we nevertheless ask Hashem […]
Ahavah Rabah 15: Peace of Mind
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והביאנו לשלום מארבע כנפות הארץ, ותוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו Bring us in peacefulness from the four corners of the earth, and lead us with upright pride to our land. ***** We ask Hashem to bring us out of exile to “shalom” and then to take us upright to our land. HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains “shalom” […]
Ahavah Rabah 14: Appreciating Every Salvation
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נגילה ונשמחה בישועתך …may we exult and rejoice in Your salvation. ***** We ask Hashem that, not only should we not be embarrassed, but we should merit to exult (feel elation) and rejoice in His salvation. This phrase continues where we left off.  We are saying to Hashem: As a result of our bitachon, may […]