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Shemoneh Esrei 12: Why Avraham?
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ברוך אתה ה’, מגן אברהם Blessed are You, Hashem, Shield of Avraham The conclusion of this most important brachah begs two questions: Why end only with Avraham and not include the other Avos?  And why conclude specifically with the term “מגן” as opposed to “עוזר” and “מושיע”? The source for the word “מגן” with respect […]
Shemoneh Esrei 11: Saved By The…..
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מלך עוזר ומושיע ומגן O King, Helper, Savior, and Shield מלך In every salvation, there is the natural simchah of having been saved.  However, when the King of all kings saves us, there is an even greater simchah.  When we feel the love and the closeness to Hashem that is brought about through the recognition […]
Yehuda
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ה’ הַצִּילָה נַפְשִׁי מִשְּׂפַת שֶׁקֶר מִלָּשׁוֹן רְמִיָּה Hashem, deliver my soul from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. – Psalms 120:2 The Malbim clarifies the difference between lying lips and a deceitful tongue. A person who has lying lips will slander you behind your back. One who has a deceitful tongue is even worse; such […]
Understanding Anim Zemiros
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Introduction Shir HaKavod – The Hymn of Honor – is better known by its opening words, Anim Zemiros (“I will compose pleasant songs”). The song is popularly attributed to Rav Yehuda HaChasid, though it was more likely composed by his father, Rabbi Shmuel ben Kalonymus HaChasid of Speyer (12th century), who also composed Shir HaYichud […]
Levi
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Many have the practice to recite, in the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei, a verse that starts and ends with the same letter as their name, or that contains their name, or both. This is considered a source of merit. In this series, we will briefly analyze these verses. לוּלֵי תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי אָז אָבַדְתִּי בְעָנְיִי If not […]
Shemoneh Esrei 10: Redemption – In Whose Merit?
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וזוכר חסדי אבות, ומביא גואל לבני בניהם, למען שמו, באהבה Who recalls the kindnesses of the Patriarchs, and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children, for His Name’s sake, with love. We present two approaches to this segment: 1.   The first comes from the wonderful siddur companion, “Avodas HaTefilah” by Rabbi Mayer Birnbaum, based on […]
Shemoneh Esrei 9: Good vs. Pure Good
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גומל חסדים טובים וקונה הכל Who bestows beneficial kindnesses and creates everything Hashem is constantly bestowing pure good upon us.  Pure good can be understood in multiple ways: It can be understood as the type of good that will never result in any bad [Beis Tefilah, S’fas Emes].  A human being can bestow good upon […]
Shimon
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Many have the practice to recite, in the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei, a verse that starts and ends with the same letter as their name, or that contains their name, or both. This is considered a source of merit. In this series, we will briefly analyze these verses. שִׁיתוּ לִבְּכֶם לְחֵילָה פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ לְמַעַן תְּסַפְּרוּ לְדוֹר […]
Reuven
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Many have the practice to recite, in the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei, a verse that starts and ends with the same letter as their name, or that contains their name, or both. This is considered a source of merit. In this series, we will briefly analyze these verses. רְאֵה זֶה מָצָאתִי אָמְרָה קֹהֶלֶת אַחַת לְאַחַת לִמְצֹא […]
Shemoneh Esrei 8: Nothing to Fear, Except…
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והנורא, א-ל עליון… …and awesome G-d, the supreme G-d The letter hei in the words “הא-ל, הגדול, הגבור, והנורא” indicate that all power, greatness, might, and awesomeness are His.  With respect to והנורא, this means that there is nothing in this world to fear other than Hashem.  No other creation can really do good or […]