VaYarem keren l’amo, t’hilah l’chol chasidav, livnei Yisrael am k’rovo. Hallelukah.
(This will be when Mashiach arrives) and He will raise the reign of His nation (above all), causing praise for all His pious ones, (namely,) to the B’nei Yisrael, who are (and have always been) His intimate nation. (Therefore, already now,) praise Hashem!
HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt”l, in one of his lectures, spoke about the mishnah in Avos, perek 3, which says:
Beloved are Yisrael in that they were called children to the All-Present. Especially beloved are they, for it was made known to them that they are called children of the All-Present.
The Rav said that the clause “Chibah y’seirah nodaas lahem (Especially beloved are they, for it was made known to them)” always bothered him, until the following story happened to him personally:
“In the days close to the start of World War II, a Jew approached me. Due to uncertainty of life and death at the time, the Jew made the following request: ‘If you survive and I die, please turn over the information, which I share with you now, to one of my children. That information will allow them to access my Swiss bank account and inherit my money.’
“Baruch Hashem, I survived. For many years, I searched for information about this man’s children, but to no avail. Roughly 25 years later, I was overseas, sitting on a subway. A Jewish man, whose appearance clearly indicated his poverty and depression, sat down next to me. During our trip, this man poured out his troubles and pain to me. He mentioned that he had arrived to this country as a refugee without family, without a profession, and without money. He continued, ‘Today, I live in a small city and have great difficulty earning a living.’ When he finished speaking, I asked him his name. When he mentioned his name, I asked him if he was related to so and so (the man who, 25 years earlier, had approached me), because they had the same last name. He responded excitedly, ‘That was my father!’ I immediately told him about the inheritance that was waiting for him in Switzerland. He responded, ‘but I don’t even have money to travel there to go to the bank!’ I lent him the money, and he found $750,000 in the account! When this story took place, around the year 1970, that was a small fortune.” (Today, that would equate to over $5,000,000!)
Having completed the story, HaRav Kreiswirth then asked those in the audience a question. “During the 25 post-war years, before I met this man, was he rich or was he poor? With a resounding boom, they all replied, ‘RICH!’ I disagreed. Without the knowledge that he had the funds, he was poor. He lived a life of poverty, and the money did absolutely nothing for him.
“We are all extremely wealthy in a way that is far superior to financial wealth. But if we are not aware of that wealth and do not live with it, then we are, in fact, poor. ‘Chavivin Yisrael (Beloved are Yisrael).’ What can possibly be greater than being considered Hashem’s children, His ‘am k’rovo (His intimate nation)’?”
The Rav then concluded his lecture. “I finally understood what the ‘Chibah y’seirah nodaas lahem’ meant. Without Hashem making known to us His closeness and love for us, we would remain distant and poor. Only after Hashem, in many places throughout the Torah and Tefilah, informed us and reminded us of our being chosen as His beloved people, are we able to feel the ‘Chavivin Yisrael.’”
The Ramban (D’varim 7:7) writes: “that He is bound to you by a powerful connection, so that He will never separate from you.”
Our Hallelukah ends on this note: “and He will raise the reign of His nation, causing praise for all His pious ones, to the B’nei Yisrael, who are His intimate nation). We, B’nei Yisrael, are His nation who are close to Him. When we recite the end of this Hallelukah, it is an opportunity to internalize the message of “Chavivin Yisrael (Beloved are Yisrael)” a little more deeply each day. This is one of the ways we can work on our love for Hashem. The more we feel His love for us, the more we will love Him.
Another part of the Tefilah that provides great opportunity to focus on this crucially important message is the brachos that immediately precede the Shema both during Shacharis in the morning and during Maariv in the evening: during the very beginning and the ending of both Ahavah Rabbah and Ahavas Olam.
The Chafetz Chaim (sefer Sheim Olam) writes that we have unfortunately lost the power to feel and appreciate the awesome privilege of having a constant connection and bond with Hashem. Throughout the day, we connect and bond through performance of His mitzvos, as well as through our brachos and tefilos, where we have the great privilege and joy to speak directly to Him. These are the powerful words of the Chafetz Chaim:
“Tell me, my brother, and look deep into your soul, if this thought entered your mind once in the course of a week, or once in the course of a month, or at least once in the course of a year, to be so joyous and feeling good in your heart, due to the fulfillment of the mitzvah as this aforementioned person?!!”
“Man enters the synagogue and stands behind the amud and davens in a whisper, and HaKadosh Baruch Hu listens to his prayer… Similar to a person who speaks into the ear of his friend, and he hears it. Can there be for you a closer G-d, that He is as close to His creations as a mouth to an ear?” [Talmud Yerushalmi, B’rachos 9:1]
As stated at the outset, this Hallelukah is one of the two most important of the five. At the start of this mizmor, we are privileged to conduct the world orchestra in praise of Hashem. At the close, we remind ourselves and integrate more deeply inside ourselves, how close we are to The Master of the Universe.
NEW TEFILAH SHIURIM: The Tefilah Connection
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