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"Abba, now that we have finished praying for the downfall of evil, what is next?"
"The thirteenth blessing of the Amida, Avi, a prayer for the uplifting of the tsaddikim. 'Al ha'tsaddikim' was fixed after 'vi'lamalshinim' to follow the order of the final geula (salvation).ii Gemora (Megillah 17b) and Tur (Orach Chaim 118) After the eradication of heresy, the pride of the tsaddikim will be raised, as the verse states, "And I shall cut down the pride of the wicked; and the pride of the righteous shall be exalted!" (Tehillim 75:11). The source of the end of the bracha dates back to a promise that the Almighty made to Yaakov Avinu, that Yosef would care for him after he passed away. 'And Yosef shall place his hand upon your eyes' (Bereshis 46:4). Yaakov trusted His words, and indeed, it came to pass. Upon seeing this, the heavenly angels proclaimed, 'Blessed are You Hashem, Support and Trust of the tsaddikim!' This became the closing of the blessing."
"That is amazing, Abba. Can you please share with me more about this wonderful bracha?"
"Certainly, Avi. Our Sages list four groups of people that we pray for - the righteous, devout, elders, and scholars.iii R'Yehuda ben Yakar cited in Artscroll Siddur These leaders of our nation are men of the highest caliber, who perceive Hashem's ways with undistorted clarity. They see Hashem's Hand guiding the world and they know with certainty that He directs all.iiii Abudarham, Malbim cited in Metsuda Siddur Because the nation depends upon them, our Sages instituted a special prayer for their welfare. We should have kavannah (intention) to pray for their good, for it is in their zechus (merit) that we live. As long as tsaddikim are in this world, we are showered with bracha (blessing) and tovah (good).iiv Yaaros Devash
"We next entreat Hashem on behalf of the 'gerei tsedek' (righteous converts). These exceptional individuals are compared to Avraham Avinu, who saw the light of Hashem in a world of darkness. We have a special mitzvah to love them (Devarim 10:19) which is a way of expressing our love for Hashem and His Torah.4 Lastly, we pray for ourselves, even though we are not among the leaders of Klal Yisrael."
"What do we ask for in our prayers, Abba?"
"We beg for Hashem's mercy, Avi, as the verse states, 'I will show mercy when I choose to show mercy' (Shemos 33:19). We address the Almighty as 'Hashem Elokeinu,' beseeching that His 'middas ha'din,' (trait of strict judgment,) articulated in His Name, 'Elokeinu' overturn to 'middas ha'rachamim,' (trait of mercy) expressed in His Name, 'Hashem.' This is the greatness of our tsaddikim, who can overturn 'middas ha'din' to 'middas ha'rachamim.' vv Bereshis Rabba 33:3 cited in Maggid Tsedek We ask for a good reward for all those who trust in Hashem's Name in truth. They know the truth inherent in all of His deeds, as the verse states, 'And those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You have not forsaken those who seek You, Hashem' (Tehillim 9:11).vvi Abudarham Trusting Hashem is very special and different from depending upon man. If you rely upon a person, the maximum he can do is fulfill what you expected him to do. However, if you trust Hashem, not only does He fulfill your trust, He gives you reward for the trust alone! Additionally, He rids you of the humiliation of being dependent on man's assistance. The act of asking a person for help is embarrassing. Contrast this with trusting the Almighty, which does not harm your honor. Quite the opposite ... trusting exclusively in Him brings you honor and reward!"vvii Dover Shalom
"What is the reward, Abba?"
"Some say that it is reward in this world, some say the next world, and some say both. Those who say that the reward is in this world ask that the trust of the tsaddikim be fulfilled, in order for all to see that Hashem does not abandon or embarrass those who hope in Him.vviii Kavannas HaLev, Iyun Tefillah Others focus on the embarrassment from lack of bitachon in Olam Habo, which is far worse than the shame in Olam Haze.4 The third group say that we must pray for the reward for tsaddikim in Olam Haze and Olam Habo so that people will learn to do the good and refrain from the bad.iix Sefer HaMinhagos cited in Shaar HaRachamim
"We ask that our lot be placed with the trusting ones, for we also trust His Name in truth6 as the Gemora states, 'May my portion be with the tsaddikim in Gan Eden' (Berachos 16b). We request that we not be embarrassed for our trust in Hashem. These two concepts are combined in the verse, 'My G-d, in You I have trusted, let me not be shamed' (Tehillim 25:2). May we not be shamed, for it is tarnishes Your Name when those who trust You are humiliated. As we say, 'To make known that all who hope in You will not be shamed; nor ever be humiliated, those taking refuge in You' (from 'Shoshanas Yaakov' after the Megillah reading).3
"Finally, we come to the closing of the bracha, 'Blessed are You Hashem, Support, and Trust of the tsaddikim.' You are our Support in the golus in this world, and will be our Trust in the days of Moshiach and Olam Habo."
"May they come speedily and in our days, amen!"
Kinderlach . . .
Klal Yisrael needs its righteous devout leaders. Their merits keep us alive and shower us with bracha and tovah. Therefore, we pray for their welfare. We also entreat Hashem on behalf of the gerei tsedek and ourselves. All need His rachmonus. All those who trust Him need good reward to prevent their personal humiliation and disgrace to His Holy Name. This will teach the people that it is fitting to hope only in Him. Trust in the Almighty brings a person honor in this world, and reward in this world and the next. Kinderlach, pray for the welfare of our leaders, and trust in Hashem that He will reward them, and all those who rely upon His Holy Name!
Kinder Torah Copyright 2011 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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