The Shemoneh Esrei - The Twelfth Blessing
“And for (the heretics and) the slanderers let there be no hope…”
This blessing was instituted by the Sage Shmuel Hakatan at the time of Rabban Gamliel after the destruction of the Second Temple (Berachot 28a). Including it, there are a total of nineteen blessings, though the official name of this collection of blessings remains “Shemoneh Esrei”, meaning “eighteen”. In this most difficult period after the Temple’s destruction Rabban Gamliel was compelled to add this blessing due to the grave danger posed by the heretics and slanderers from among the Jewish People. They were reporting their fellow Jews to the Roman authorities in order to find favor in their eyes, thus risking the lives of many.
Rabbi Yonatan Eibeischitz explains that one should also have in mind the spiritual concept of the destruction of Amalek, thereby fulfilling a positive command to remember what Amalek did as the Jews passed through the desert. They are considered to be the enemies of
An Eternal Truth
This blessing also addresses those among us who do not believe properly in the Divinity of the Torah, namely, that it is an expression of
There are those among us who rise up and falsely claim authority as so-called “rabbis”, while in the same breath they attempt to uproot all rabbinical authority in order to virtually start a new religion. In the days of old they were called Sadducees and Boethusians, members of Jewish sects that denied the validity of the Oral Law, emphasizing acceptance of only the Written Law.
Today they may call themselves “enlightened Jews” and explain that the Torah is not actually the word of God, but rather the expression of the wise men of old. Likewise, they claim, we are to listen to today’s wise men, namely themselves.
We pray that