Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 11 July 2015 / 24 Tammuz 5775

Shemoneh Esrei: The Fifteenth Blessing - Part 2

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

“The offspring of David, Your servant, may You speedily cause to sprout forth, and strengthen him (Mashiach) through Your salvation, because we hope for Your salvation all day long.”

The Talmud states that one of the first questions a person is asked in Heaven after he dies is if he hoped for the redemption each day. Accordingly, one should have in mind when reciting this blessing that he is awaiting G-d’s salvation, since in doing so he will be able to answer “Yes” when asked this question by the Heavenly Court on his day of judgment. (Arizal) Although this question applies to the requirement of awaiting the final redemption, it is also beneficial for one to anticipate G-d’s salvation at all times from any misfortune, either present or future. (Shelah Hakadosh)

The prophets speak of great battles to be fought before the Davidic throne is restored to its former glory and sovereignty. We therefore pray that G-d strengthen the Machiach, a descendent of King David, in his battles. An alternative answer: The intent of the phrase “And strengthen him” refers to Mashiach ben Yosef. The prophets speak of two Mashiachs, one from the house of David and one from the house of Yosef. The Sages of the Talmud explain that Mashiach ben Yosef is destined to fall in battle. We are thus asking that G-d strengthen him in battle.

“Trust In G-d…”

It must be noted that the reason we are asking for G-d’s salvation is because we have hoped for it and anticipated it. This needs explanation. If we are deserving of redemption, it should come even if we do not hope for it; and if we do not deserve it based on our merit, why would hoping for it help since we don’t deserve it?

We have already been taught by our Sages that the very fact that we hope and anticipate G-d’s deliverance from exile gives us the merit of being worthy of redemption. It is for this reason that we ask for G-d to reestablish the Davidic throne, and even if we are lacking the needed merit, we declare how we await His salvation “all day long”. (Chida)

The fact that it is a mitzvah to await G-d’s return each day indicates just how important it is. G-d has promised us that He will deliver us from exile. Thus, by placing our hope in Him, trusting in His kindness and mercy — which are never-ending — we will not be forsaken.

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