Friday, February 7, 2014

amida (Berakha 7), God, our next of kin

ראה נא בענינו וריבה ריבנו  

Please [God] see our suffering and fight our fights, and 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.

The key to understand this prayer is the Hebrew word GO-EL. GO-EL means "redeemer".  In some contexts this term refers to the Messiah. The Messianic times are also known as the days of GE-ULA, the redemption of Israel and the return to the Land of Israel. In the next section, when we ask God to fulfill our national requests, we will have two specific berakhot for these subjects. One berakha in which we ask haShem to bring us back to Israel, and the other in which we ask HaShem to bring us the Messiah, a descendent of King David.  

Thus, in the context of this berakha GO-EL should not be connected to the Mashiah or our National GE-ULA. GO-EL in this berakha means: 'next of kin' or 'closest relative'.

According to Jewish Law it is the duty of the GO-EL or 'next of kin' to help his relatives in moments of need. The best example is Boaz and Naomi. Boaz, a relative of Elimelekh,  assists Naomi, Elimelekh's widow, and takes care of her and her daughter in law Ruth.  We need to bear in mind that Elimelekh betrayed his own people leaving to Moab, enemy territory. We could have assumed that Elimelekh's relatives should not deserve anymore the next of kin's assistance. We see, however, that the duties 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 us and deliver us from suffering. We beseech HaShem as our GO-EL, certain that He will assist us, even if we do not have enough merit to deserve His intervention in our behalf.


Candle Lighting:   5:02pm

Shabbat ends:       6:00 pm.