V’liYerushalayim ircha b’rachamim tashuv
And to Jerusalem, Your city, may You return in compassion
Before we begin to discuss the specifics of Yerushalayim and our request to see it rebuilt in all its beauty with the Sh’chinah residing in the Beis HaMikdash, allow us to digress, to address some fundamental questions about our tefilos for the g’ulah, our ultimate redemption, may it be soon in our days.
First, if the tefilos of the generations of the Tana’im, Amora’im, G’onim, Rishonim, and Acharonim – all previous to us – were insufficient to bring the g’ulah, why would we think our t’filos can possibly be effective? Second, do we really believe that our tefilos can bring the g’ulah? Third, we have been asking for the g’ulah for almost 2,000 years unsuccessfully. Am I really accomplishing anything by each day continuously repeating that same request, day after day?
The answer is “Yes, we are” – we are accomplishing something for ourselves, for the klal, and in fact we are hastening the g’ulah.
“Every chacham in Yisrael who possesses the words of Torah according to their true significance, and grieves for the honor of Hashem and for the honor of Yisrael all his days, and desires and feels pain for the honor of Yerushalayim and of the Beis HaMikdash and for the swift flowering of salvation and the ingathering of the exiles, attains to the infusion of the Divine spirit [ruach ha’kodesh] in his words…” [Tana D’Vei Eliyahu Rabbah, perek 4, quoted by M’silas Y’sharim, perek 19]
The M’silas Y’sharim (in perek 19) tells us that one should constantly daven for the g’ulah and the return of k’vod Shamayim to the highest level. He continues: “…and if one will ask, ‘Who am I to daven for the g’ulah? Is my tefilah really going to bring the redemption?’” The Ramchal [Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, 1707-1746, author of M’silas Y’sharim] then brings the Gemara in Sanhedrin (37a), which states that man was created alone, as an individual, so that each person should say: “Bishvili nivra ha’olam” (for me the world was created). M’silas Y’sharim concludes:
“It is Hashem’s pleasure that his children desire and pray for this. And though their desire may not be fulfilled because the proper time has not yet arrived or for some other reason, they will have done their part and Hashem rejoices in it.”
The Mabit (Rav Moshe ben Yosef miTrani, 16th century), amongst others, explains that our tefilos combine with those of all the previous generations before us. They laid the foundation and did the bulk of the work. We need only finish the job. It is all of our tefilos joining together through the generations that will merit to bring the g’ulah soon in our days. He also says that one who is mispalel for the g’ulah and k’vod Shamayim will receive “sachar gadol bli safeik” despite the fact that he has not been affirmatively answered as of this moment.
We see how valued and important our heartfelt tefilos for the g’ulah and the increase in revelation of k’vod Shamayim truly are.
Following our tefilah for the tzadikim, we daven for Yerushalayim, the only place where tzadikim can reach the highest heights of their glory (Megilah 17b). The word “Yerushalayim” is a contraction of the words “yir’ah” and “shaleim.” The highest level of the combination of yir’as ha’rom’mus (the awareness of the awesomeness of the exaltedness of Hashem), representing the height of the relationship between man and Hashem, and achdus (representing the height of the relationship between man and man), with sh’leimus–perfection (meaning peace and harmony among men), can only be reached in Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim is the point on the globe that is closest (spiritually) to Shamayim, enabling the soul to soar to the loftiest heights (HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer, based on B’reishis Rabbah 56:10, Ri ben Yakar, Maharsha Kiddushin 69a).
Sefer Chareidim tells us that we were expelled from Yerushalayim because we wearied of living in such close proximity to Hashem, not desiring the constant scrutiny. Therefore, we can only return if we yearn for that intimate bond with Hashem attainable only through living in his presence in Yerushalayim. When reciting this brachah, we should attempt to arouse such feelings of intense yearning. [HaRav Feuer]
And to Jerusalem, Your city, may You return in compassion, and may You rest within it, as you have spoken
We begin by asking Hashem to return His Sh’chinah to Yerushalayim and to the Beis HaMikdash with “rachamim (compassion).” HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains the need for the word “rachamim” in two ways. First, we ask that Hashem not wait until we actually deserve the return of His Sh’chinah (HaRav Miller says the primary kavanah of “tashuv” is for the Sh’chinah to return to Yerushalayim) based on our own merits, but rather that His Sh’chinah return immediately because of His compassion. Secondly, we ask for Hashem’s compassion in light of all the tzaros we have had throughout all these years in galus. We ask that our acceptance and tolerance of these tzaros, which we have all experienced, arouse great rachamim from Hashem for His nation, resulting in the return of His Sh’chinah to Yerushalayim and to the Beis HaMikdash. (“v’sishkon b’sochah–and may You rest within it” refers to the Beis HaMikdash – sefer Nafshi Cholas Ahavasecha, quoting the Bach at the end of siman 118).
The brachah concludes with “bonei Yerushalayim,” which is present tense. Why do we describe Hashem as actually building Yerushalayim now?
In the Siddur HaGra, the Siach Yitzchak explains that the ending of the brachos in Shemoneh Esrei are in present tense because Hashem is continuously granting us these requests. For example, he points to “Go’eil Yisrael” as an example, stating that we ask Hashem to see our pain and suffering because we understand that Hashem gives us tzaros as corrective “punishment” so that we can reach the g’ulah sh’leimah. He says that these tzaros will actually be the cause of the g’ulah! Hashem is continuously working on our g’ulah, hence the present tense. The same holds true for our brachah of “V’liYerushalayim ircha b’rachamim tashuv.”
Hashem is constantly adding “bricks” to the rebuilding of Yerushalayim and the Beis HaMikdash, as we will, b’ezras Hashem, expand upon in the next segment. Therefore, the conclusion is in present tense.
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You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.