Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 17th berakha "Retze"

Today is the 13th day of Iyar, 5771/ 28 days of Omer (4 weeks)

May You, HaShem our God, accept Your people Israel,
and attend to their prayers; and return the Holy service
to the sanctuary of Your house...

and with Your great mercy, love us and accept us...
and may our eyes see Your return to Zion with mercy....

In this blessing, we ask God Almighty to find our prayers acceptable, and to find favor in His eyes. In a sense, we pray to be worthy of the privilege to serve Him.

This blessing inaugurates the third section of the Amida, hoda-a, 'gratitude': this blessing hints our gratitude to God for having chosen us to serve Him, for the privilege he granted us to address Him.

God chose our ancestors out of pure love (see Debarim 7,7). Now, we ask God to consider us too, worthy of that privilege. To love us as He loved our fathers. To accept our prayers as He accepted the prayers of our ancestors. Even though we might not be meritorious as our fathers. That is the meaning of the statement: "and You, with Your great mercy, love us and accept us...". In other words, love us, despite our lack of merits (that is why we need Your mercy) and accept us: do not abandon us!.

Our biggest desire and aspiration, we say, is to be fully worthy of Your choice. This aspiration will be fulfilled to its full extent only when Your Presence will return back to Zion --by rebuilding our sanctuary-- and embrace us again as the People You have chosen, to serve You.

WATCH AND ENJOY: http://www.aish.com/v/is/Israel_Then__Now.html

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