Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Seventeenth Blessing: Fires of Israel

“Be favorable, Hashem, our G-d, toward Your people Israel and their prayer and restore the service to the Holy of Holies of Your Temple. The ‘ishei Yisrael’ and their prayer accept with love and favor.”

The seventeenth blessing of Shemoneh Esrei begs Hashem to find the Jewish people and their service of Him favorable. Among the things that we ask Hashem to look favorably on are ishei Yisrael, which can be translated as either “the individuals of Israel” or the “fires of Israel.”

The second translation refers to the countless Jewish people throughout the ages who have lost their lives as a sanctification of G-d’s name, at the hands of oppressors who sought to wipe the Jews and the Torah off the face of the earth. Someone who is killed by fire, like Rabbi Chanina ben Tradion, is literally transformed into an ishei Yisrael, a human burnt offering (Pikudei Eliezer, as cited in the Leket Hakemach HaChadash).

Some explain that ishei Yisrael refers to the burnt offerings that were sacrificed in the Temple. A person bringing this offering was meant to recognize that, because of his transgressions, he deserved to be burnt up on the altar. When the person bringing the sacrifice understands that it is a substitute for himself, these burnt offerings are also considered ishei Yisrael (based on Gra 120,1, according to Tosfos Menachos 110a).

Ishei Yisrael can also refer to the souls of the Jewish people. The Medrash says that the angel Michael serves as the kohen gadol in the heavens, and after the righteous pass away, he brings their souls as a sacrifice before Hashem every day. We ask Hashem to favor the souls of these ishei Yisrael (Taz, according to Tosfos Menachos 110a).

All of the above explanations of ishei Yisrael share a common thread related to giving up something of ourselves to Hashem. Let us try to understand how each of the final blessings develops this theme.


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Abundant Appreciation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Reaching Out
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

What He Really Wants
Shlomo Katz - 5775

ArtScroll

Don't Squander It
Rav Frand - 5768

Complaining About The Quality Of The Miracle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

The Best Choice
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

“What” is Beyond Our Realm!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Following Orders
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5762

A Matter of Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Nothing's More Natural Than Nature
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Essence of Song
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Can A Person Sleep For Seventy Years?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

> Booty Is Risky
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Never Forget
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Think Again!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

On the "Sent" of Freedom
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information