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The Three Weeks #2





Shemoneh Esrei 38 - The 3 Weeks #2


את צמח דוד עבדך מהרה תצמיח, וקרנו תרום בישועתך, כי לישועתך קוינו כל היום

The offspring of your servant David may You speedily cause to flourish, and enhance his pride through Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day long


Before we begin to discuss this brachah in detail, allow us to explain why we should be especially careful to pause before beginning this brachah (the Chofetz Chaim actually suggests that we do this with every brachah in the Shemoneh Esrei) and why we should attempt to arouse our hearts now to an even greater level than we have up to this point in Shemoneh Esrei.

The Yaaros Devash [Rav Yonasan Eibeschutz, 1690-1764] exhorts every Jew to shed an endless stream of bitter tears while reciting the brachos of “בונה ירושלים” and “את צמח.”  Why?

One of the first questions we will be asked on our day of judgment is “צפית לישועה–Tzipisa liy’shuah” (Shabbos 31a), did we anticipate and yearn for the Salvation?  The Shaarei T’shuvah (siman 118, towards the end of s’if katan 1, quoting from the Arizal) says that when one recites the words “כי לישועתך קוינו כל היום–ki liy’shuascha kivinu kol ha’yom,” he should have kavanah to be able to answer this question affirmatively.  Great tzadikim live constantly throughout their lives with “Tzipisa.”  For the rest of us, the Shaarei T’shuvah is advising us that availing ourselves of proper intent as we recite THIS phrase in THIS brachah is our best opportunity to be able to answer: YES, we did long for Mashiach on a daily basis.  While there are other ways that we can fulfill “Tzipisa,” most of us will need to refer to our kavanah in THIS phrase in THIS brachah to answer YES to this question on our day of judgment.

The Arizal says that one should have kavanah in this phrase from the depths of his heart – so that he not be embarrassed and disgraced on the day of judgment when he is asked “Tzipisa liy’shuah?”  The following is a quote from the Arizal, as quoted in the sefer Tal’lei Oros:

בתיבות אלו יכוין לצפות לישועה, כדי שיוכל להשיב ליום הדין כששואלין אותו צפית לישועה. לכן יכוין מקירות לבו עד מאד בזה"ל: אני מחכה ומצפה בכל יום לישועת השכינה הקדושה שתצא מהגלות, ותגאל אותנו ג"כ בביאת משיחך, ותצמיח קרן דוד. ובודאי הבוחן לבות וכליות הוא רואה החכוי והקווי של כל אדם, באיזה תשוקה היא בלבו – לכן חכה בתשוקה גדולה ועצומה עד מאד, בכדי שלא יבוש ולא יכלם ליום הדין כשישאלו אותו צפית לישועה.

TRANSLATION: With these words one should concentrate to yearn for the Salvation, in order that he will be able to reply on the day of judgment when he will be asked, “Did you yearn for the Salvation?”  Therefore, one should concentrate very much from the walls of his heart with the following thoughts: “I am anticipating and yearning every day for the salvation of the holy Divine Presence to leave the Diaspora, and that You shall redeem us as well with the coming of Your Mashiach, and that You shall make [King] David’s pride to flourish.”  And surely He Who examines hearts and thoughts, He sees the expectations and hopes of each person, what passion lies in his heart – therefore one should anticipate with great and very powerful passion, so that he will not be embarrassed and disgraced when asked, “Did you yearn for the Salvation?”

Torah, baruch Hashem, has flourished to amazing heights, and though many do struggle financially, compared to earlier times, most here in America are “wealthy” on a comparative basis.  We have never had the Beis HaMikdash in our time.  We really don’t know or appreciate what the g’ulah will look like.  How can we long for and anxiously await the “Y’shuah” and be emotional enough to even cry over Yerushalayim, the Beis HaMikdash, and the Y’shuah if we are so distant from it?  Do we feel we are lacking so much that we are brought to tears?  So what are we missing and why should we be “shedding an endless stream of bitter tears”?  Next week, b’ezras Hashem, we will discuss this difficult challenge that we face today.