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Shemoneh Esrei 33: The Nineteenth Brachah
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There are important differences in wording and meaning between Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sefard in this brachah, as well as differences in opinion as to the meaning of the brachah in general. This brachah was composed roughly 500 years after the original composition of the 18 brachos of Shemoneh Esrei.  Rabban Gamliel, the Nasi at […]
Bracha #13 – Tzaddikim (The Righteous)
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Following the blessing requesting the removal of the heretics, we next pray for the welfare of the righteous. The Talmud in Megillah (17b), describing the order of the blessings, says that this is because when the wicked are removed, then the righteous will be elevated. The prayer identifies six categories of deserving individuals: (1) Tzaddikim […]
Shemoneh Esrei 32: Enjoying Peace – Internally & Externally
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השיבה שופטינו כבראשונה, ויועצינו כבתחלה, והסר ממנו יגון ואנחה, ומלוך עלינו אתה ה’ לבדך בחסד וברחמים, וצדקנו במשפט Restore our judges as in earliest times, and our counselors as at first; remove from us sorrow and groan; and reign over us – You, Hashem, alone – with kindness and compassion, and justify us through judgment. […]
Bracha #12 – Birkas HaMinim (Heretics)
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The twelfth bracha, against heretics, is the one that was later inserted, with the result that there are nineteen blessings in the “Eighteen Benedictions.” According to the Talmud in Brachos (28b), this blessing was added in the days of Rabban Gamliel in response to an increase in heretics. According to Rashi there, “minim” (heretics) refers […]
Shemoneh Esrei 31: Achdus – Always
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תקע בשופר גדול לחרותנו, ושא נס לקבץ גלויותנו, וקבצנו יחד מארבע כנפות הארץ Sound the great shofar for our freedom, raise the banner to gather our exiles and gather us together from the four corners of the earth. In this brachah, we ask Hashem to blow the “shofar gadol” (the larger horn of the ram […]
Shemoneh Esrei #11 – Din (Justice)
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In the eleventh bracha, we do not request justice per se so much as we request that God restore our system of justice. Jewish jurisprudence calls for a Sanhedrin of judges carrying the original ordination, empowered to interpret the Torah and to legislate based upon it. Restoring our legal system would be the first step […]
Devorah
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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. דּוֹדִי צַח וְאָדוֹם דָּגוּל מֵרְבָבָה My beloved is […]
Shemoneh Esrei 30: And As For Me, Closeness with Hashem is Good
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ברך עלינו ה’ אלקינו את השנה הזאת ואת כל מיני תבואתה לטובה, ותן ברכה (ותן טל ומטר לברכה) על פני האדמה, ושבענו מטובך, וברך שנתנו כשנים הטובות Bless on our behalf – O Hashem, our G-d – this year and all its kind of crops for the best, and give (dew and rain for) a […]
Shemoneh Esrei 29: Does it Hurt?
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As we have mentioned previously, all of the middle brachos of request were composed in the plural.  This is because when we daven, we daven not only for ourselves but also for klal Yisrael as a whole, for the tzibur, for our families, and for other specific individuals.  Perhaps this is most evident in our […]