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

Email this article to a friend

Annulling Decrees

We are taught that answering “Amen, yehei shmei rabba” (“Amen, His Name should become great”) during kaddish with all of one’s might can annul all harsh heavenly decrees (Shabbos 119b). Some take this statement literally and rule that one should use all of his physical energy to answer kaddish (Tosfos). Others maintain that it refers to one’s powers of mental concentration (Rashi).

The words of our Sages beg the following question: Since Divine justice is very precise, if there is a decree then the person requires this punishment in order to make amends for a transgression. How can he have the decree annulled merely by saying “Amen, yehei shmei rabba”? The purpose of all Divine punishment is to cause us to reflect on our actions so that we redirect ourselves towards serving Hashem properly. When a person says, “Amen yehei shmei rabba” with all his strength, holding nothing back, he lifts himself to the height of his powers to sanctify Hashem’s Name. Since he has already reached the highest pinnacle of Divine service, there is no longer a need for a harsh decree to motivate him further.

While this might sound easy in theory, in practice this is extremely difficult. Focusing all of one’s energy and concentration for every kaddish is no simple task, and one could easily miss the mark. At the same time, a person must be careful not to go overboard, since this could cause others to make fun of his actions, which would be a serious transgression (Mishna Berura 55,5 citing Rabbeinu Yona, Brachos 13b). Focus and insight are crucial to achieving the right balance, so that one can properly sanctify Hashem’s Name.

Answering kaddish raises us to great heights,and in doing so we have the ability to erase all harsh decrees.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Like a GPS
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Don't Squander It
Rav Frand - 5768

Was It Really Fair-oh?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Enemy Within and Without
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

A Matter of Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Leaving to Prey
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

> It's Raining Bread!
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Building a Spiritual Pipeline
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Erev Rav: Return to Sender
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Better to Be the Pursued Than the Pursuer
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Moments of Inspiration
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Understanding Injustice
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

ArtScroll

Lessons in Appreciation
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

The Splitting Of The Sea and the Concept of Hidur Mitzvah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Sole Survivor
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Test of Affluence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757



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