Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 7th berakha: Deliver us from our suffering

9th day of Kislev, 5771

Please, God, see our suffering and fight our fights,

and hurry to grant us a complete salvation, for the sake of Your name, because You are a powerful go'el. Blessed are You , God, the go'el of Israel.

In this berakha we ask God for His assistance and deliverance.

It is important to know that in this berakha we are NOT asking God to bring the mashiach -which is also called go'el- or to take us back to the land of Israel- which is also known as ge'ula. For those specific matters we have separate berakhot which deal with our national requests.

The key to this berarkha is the precise understanding of the word go'el. go'el means'redeemer' and in the context of this berakha it should be understood technically as 'next of kin' or 'closest relative'.

According to Jewish tradition and Law it is the duty of the go'el 'next of kin' to help and assist in moments of despair and need. The best example is Boaz and Naomi. Boaz acts explicitly as the go'el taking complete care of Elimelekh's family. Virtually the whole 4th chapter of the book of Rut is devoted to this matter.

Interestingly, we could assume that once Elimelekh betrayed his own people and left to Moab -enemy territory- he or his descendents shouldn't deserve anymore the next of kin's assistance. We see, however, that the obligations of the go'el supersedes considerations of merit.

In this berakha we appeal to God as 'our next of kin', 'our closest relative', asking Him to assist and deliver us from suffering.

Knowing that perhaps we don't have enough merit to deserve God's intervention, we appeal to haShem as our go'el.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC 130 Steamboat Rd. Great Neck NY 11024