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 HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Tapping Into Our Meritorious Pedigree
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

Say It with Chumros
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

A Time for Fear, A Time for Joy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

> Play It Again, Shmuel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Past, Present, and Future
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

A Little Self-Control Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

ArtScroll

Moshe's Final Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Little Things Make a Difference
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

A Slice of Time with Honey on the Side
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

A Time of Introspection
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Of Fashions and Foods
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Song and Its Allusions
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Lessons on Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

A Time to Remember and Be Inspired
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Ultimate Contact
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770



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