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 BALAK:

View Complete List

Making Time
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Pray for the 'Right' Person
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Partial View
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Generation Repents
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Fruits of Passion
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Our Relevance to the Infinite
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

ArtScroll

Habit Forming
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Found In Contempt
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Victory is With-in-Reach
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Balak: Can You See It?
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Money Order - Getting Our Priorities Straight
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Apter Rebbe Bends The Rules For Ahavas Yisrael
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

> Bilaam: A Hard Act to Swallow
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Absolute Greatness
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5764

Donkey Talk
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Forgotten Oaths
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764



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