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Shemoneh Esrei 60

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Shemoneh Esrei 60

שים שלום טובה וברכה

Establish peace, goodness, and blessing

Before continuing with the rest of the brachah of Sim Shalom, we would like to present a beautiful overview of the last three brachos as a group, based on the sefer T’hilos Yisrael, authored by Rabbi Yisrael Shlomo Goldfinger.  Rabbi Goldfinger addresses the question of R’tzei and Sim Shalom both seeming to be “request type” brachos, and thus in the wrong section of Shemoneh Esrei.  The Gemara (B’rachos 34a), in fact, says that we should not be making requests in these last three brachos.  We know that they are not considered request brachos; but why?

Rabbi Goldfinger writes in his English sefer, Coming Closer, that in the last three b’rachos of Shemoneh Esrei, known as the Hoda’ah section, we are focused on the relationship and the closeness – on the “kirvah” to Hashem.

In Shemoneh Esrei 45, we discussed the brachah of R’tzei, the beginning of the last three b’rachos:

“This brachah is all about expressing our intense desire for the close relationship between us and Hashem.  The level of closeness will be determined by the intensity of our love and desire for that closeness.”

In the next brachah, Modim, we come close to Hashem through our admission and recognition that we are totally dependent on Him, and we thank Him for all the good He has bestowed upon us, both physically and spiritually.

Now, in the last brachah, Sim Shalom, we are focused on the end goal, the destination: having that close relationship with Hashem.  We present an excerpt from a clarification that Rabbi Goldfinger wrote to us:

“The requests in this brachah are not separate additional requests, but an expression of the way we yearn for Hashem to respond to our previous requests.  We want the fulfillment of our bakashos to not just be transactional, but to be filled with love and mercy, thus serving as the vehicle for reducing the distance from Hashem that we experience, and the din we feel in this world, bringing us closer to Him, which is the true goal of our tefilos.  What will determine how Hashem responds to us?  This too depends on us, and our expression of what it is we truly yearn for.  This expression is the essence of Sim Shalom.

“In Sim Shalom, we proclaim that our primary goal in tefilah is not to receive, but to use the expression of our bakashos to draw Hashem closer to us as we move closer to Him.”

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