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The Seventh Blessing: Please Hear Our Pleas

“Behold our difficulties, take up our grievance, and redeem us speedily for Your Name’s sake, for You are a powerful Redeemer. Blessed are You, Hashem, Redeemer of Israel.”

In the seventh, eighth and ninth blessings of Shemoneh Esrei, we ask Hashem to provide for our specific personal needs. We ask Him to spare us from hardship, sickness and poverty so that we may serve Him with peace of mind.

The seventh blessing is Re’ei b’anyeinu, and concludes with a plea for redemption. We also mention redemption in the tenth, eleventh and fifteenth blessings (Takah b’shofar, Hashiva shofteinu, and Es tzemach David). While the later blessings refer to redemption on a national level, in the seventh blessing one asks to be relieved of the private difficulties and suffering he endures in his own life of exile (Rashi, Megilla 17b). Many halachic authorities maintain that the correct wording of this blessing is “Re’ei na b’anyeinu,” (“Please behold our difficulties”) (Rambam, Magen Avraham, Mishna Berura 116,1). However, a number of earlier authorities determined that the word please should be omitted, based on the verse, “Look upon my affliction and pain” (Tehillim 25,18), which does not include the word please (Responsa of the Rosh 4,20; Responsa of the Maharshal, 64).

Generally, the Torah encourages politeness, and Yaakov Avinu is praised for always saying “please” (Rashi, Toldos 27,22). In this blessing, however, there is reason to leave it out. By omitting this formality, we emphasize that until the final redemption comes, we are in such a state of anguish that we cannot even muster up the strength to add “please” to our pleas.


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


 

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