Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 19th Blessing: SIM SHALOM

Today is the 19th of Sivan, 5771

The last berakha of the Amida, Sim Shalom, is the blessing in which we ask haShem for Shalom/peace.

Grant peace, goodness, and blessing,
grace and kindness and mercy,
on us and on all Israel Your people.
And bless us, our Father, all of us, as one,
with the light of Your Presence...

Shalom is considered the highest blessing and the ultimate aspiration of the Jewish people, from the beginning of our history until our own days. Peace was never considered the "normal" situation of the Jews. For the Jewish people, Shalom is a God given blessing. Furthermore, we assert in this blessing that our peace with the rest of the world, depends on our peace with God

The text of this berakha is modeled after the most important blessing to be found in the Torah: birkat kohanim. In both blessings we ask God Almighty to protect us, shine His countenance on us, and radiate the light of His countenance (=His presence) to us.

We don't ask here for any specific request, rather, we express our desire to build a close relationship with God. To be known by Him (isa haShem panav elekha), to find grace in His eyes (veichuneka) and to be illuminated by His light, (=a relationship based in mutual love). We want God to look at us, and not to ignore us.

Maimonides explains that hashgachat haShem, "God's providence", is not the same for every human being. Rather, God would be involved in my life, as much as I would involve Him in my life, and vice versa.


Click HERE to read: "The anti-Israel agenda prevails" - by JPost - Opinion