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FRUMToronto Articles Thoughts for the Week

Inspirational words of Torah from Gedolei Yisroel.

In our daily Shemone Esrei, we ask three times a day 'VeSein Sachar Tov L'Chol Habotchim BeSheemcha Be'Emes--and give a good reward to those who truly believe in Your Name.' What is the meaning of this request--which we make more than 800 times a year? After all, are we not enjoined from 'being like the servants who serve their master for reward' (Avos 1:2)? Additionally, what is a 'good' reward as opposed to a bad reward or just a plain reward? And, to whose standards of good are we referring? Moreover, since Chazal teach that 'Sechar Mitzvah Behai Alma Leica'--that nothing that we know of in this world, olam hazeh, can adequately reward us for a Mitzvah--are we really supposed to know ourselves what we have in mind when we say the words, or is it like going to the ice cream store and asking the proprietor to serve you whatever flavor is 'good' today? We provide three alternative explanations: Rav Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Shlita (Shemone Esrai, (Artscroll) page 193), teaches that we are here asking for spiritual rewards--for spiritual growth--and this kind of reward may always be requested. Indeed, Rebbe Yisroel Salanter Z'TL, would always teach that when Chazal said that all gates of prayer were closed, except the gates of tears--the general closure did not refer to the gates of ruchniyus--of spiritual requests--which were never, ever closed. Thus, we ask Hashem to make us reach our potential-our purpose in life--which is our true goal. A second explanation is provided by the Avudraham who, citing Tehillim 31:20, writes that our request demonstrates our belief that Hashem has ultimately reserved wondrous rewards for the righteous (just as He ultimately will punish the wicked, in accordance with their wickedness). According to this explanation, we can understand the word 'tov' in the phrase 'sochor tov' to mean the same as it does in reference to the Six Days Of Creation where the Torah writes 'ki tov' when some aspect of Creation has been completed. We thus affirm our belief that Hashem's reward of the deserving will ultimately be completed. With this occurrence, all those who trusted in Hashem will rejoice in the sanctification of Hashem's Name, and the deniers and disbelievers will walk away in shame. The reward referred to then is not a purely selfish treat, but the pleasant means to a heavenly end. Another marvelous insight is provided by Rav Schwab Z'TL in his sefer on Tefilla (Iyun Tefilla, pages 359-361). Rav Schwab suggests that the word 'tov' here is related to the bracha of 'Hatov Ve'Hameitiv'--where we thank Hashem for providing good not only to us, but to others as well. Here, we ask Hashem that He provide those who are 'Bothcim BeEmes'--who are true believers--to be so effusive in their faith and trust that it ignite and awaken within us and others that very same pure and complete belief. With this, we can well understand the next phrase in the bracha, 'And place our lot with theirs'--we are praying that their 'sochor tov' not only reach the leaders, the teachers, the maggidei shiur etc., but that it come and touch us in a wonderful way as well! PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Each of the three above explanations fits beautifully into the Ruach HaKodesh-imbued words of this brocha. This week, work on having kavanah in our phrase 'VeSein Sachar Tov L'Chol Habotchim BeSheemcha Be'Emes'--perhaps at each Shemone Esrei, having one of the three kavanos we have mentioned. -------------------------- Reprinted with permission from Hakhel MIS

Posted 6/27/2006 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Thoughts for the Week

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