Peace of Mind
VaHavi’einu l’shalom mei’arba kanfos ha’aretz, v’solicheinu kom’miyus l’artzeinu
Bring us in peacefulness from the four corners of the earth, and lead us with upright pride to our land.
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We ask Hashem to bring us out of exile to “shalom” and then to take us upright to our land.
HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains “shalom” here as “m’nuchah” or peace of mind, in order to achieve sh’leimus (perfection and completeness). While we are spread out amongst the nations of the world and under their rule and influence, we face many obstacles that block us from sh’leimus.
In previous times, these obstacles often took the form of persecution and poverty. Baruch Hashem, today for the most part we are free to serve and come close to Hashem without these obstacles.
However, we have our own very significant formidable challenges. The influence of the nations of the world permeates our work and higher secular educational environments, what we eat, how we eat, our ways of relaxing and refreshing ourselves, what we read, what we bring into our homes, and perhaps most dangerous and troubling: what our children have access to and have to battle against. Unfortunately, these challenges are ever-present even in our yeshivos and shuls.
We ask Hashem here to bring us to a state of shalom, when we will be able to focus exclusively on achieving sh’leimus and closeness with Hashem, free of these negative and damaging influences.
We then ask “v’solicheinu kom’miyus l’artzeinu.” The previous phrase focused on taking away the negative. This phrase moves to asking Hashem to take us “upright” to our land. This represents a time when we will be held in the highest esteem by the nations of the world. It is not enough just to be free in our land without physical danger. We ask that we be held in the highest esteem, because that will remove the negative influences and allow us to recognize and feel privileged to work on perfecting our midos and conducting ourselves with righteousness and yashrus (integrity). Only then, will we be able to reach true sh’leimus.
Like a Father to a Son
Ki Keil po’eil y’shuos Atah, u’vanu vacharta mi’kol am v’lashon
For You effect salvations, O G-d; You have chosen us from among every people and tongue.
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Although we are so far away from what we are asking for (see Ahavah Rabah 15) and we are undeserving of salvation right now, we nevertheless ask Hashem for salvation because He is “Keil” (All-Powerful and All-Capable) and He is “po’eil y’shuos” (He effects salvation without any assistance from those being saved).
We then state that Hashem has chosen us over all nations and languages. “Lashon” refers to Hashem giving us His Torah, which is written in lashon ha’kodesh.
Based on the Maharal, the Sifsei Chaim (Rabbi Chaim Friedlander) explains that this phrase is a continuation of the previous one. When we say, “Hashem chose us,” this means His choosing us had nothing to do with our merits. This is to our great benefit, for if Hashem had chosen us due to our merits, then if we stopped being meritorious, we would lose our distinction as Hashem’s people. However, since Hashem chose us on His own, irrespective of our merits, we will never lose our closeness with Hashem as His people.
Recognizing That Hashem Fosters Kiddush Hashem
V’keiravtanu l’Shimcha ha’gadol selah be’emes, l’hodos l’cha
And You have brought us close to Your great Name forever in truth, to offer praiseful thanks to You…
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Why don’t we just say that Hashem brought us closer to Him? What does “Shimcha ha’gadol” refer to? Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l in Rinas Chaim explains that this refers to what Hashem reveals to us of His creations and His conduct in the world. Hashem has tied the sanctification of His Name to us. Through His hashgachah pratis with us, His Name is sanctified in the world. His greatness is “selah” (eternal, without end). Through us, His truth – “be’emes” – is publicized and spread to the world.
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