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 KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Call of the Shofar
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

To Crown a King
Shlomo Katz - 5767

The Weigh to the Real War
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

ArtScroll

The Beautiful Accompaniment
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Tough Love
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Mitzvos That Come Our Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

An Invitation to Attack
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

> Chase Away the Mother
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Lessons from a Farewell Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

To Do The Impossible
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parshat Ki Tavo
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Don't Forget to Say Thank You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Gratitude - A Hereditary Trait?
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Passion For Progress
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766



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