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Posted on March 22, 2024 (5784) By Ben Goldberg | Series: | Level:

Last class we reviewed the fourteenth blessing of the Shemoneh Esrai, continuing to review the communal blessings and focusing on our request that we return to Jerusalem. Today we review the fifteenth blessing overall and continue our examination of the prayer’s set of communal requests. As always, let’s first review the actual text of the blessing.

“The offspring of Your servant David may You speedily cause to flourish, and enhance his pride through Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day long. Blessed are you, HaShem, Who causes the pride of salvation to flourish.”

Having just asked that Jerusalem be rebuilt, we now ask HaShem to continue our journey to Mashiach and bring about Malchus Dovid, the return of the Davidic dynasty.

Although we translated the text above as a request for HaShem to cause the offspring of David to flourish, another translation for the word Tatzmiach is to sprout. Rav Schwab notes that Mashiach is called the sprout of Dovid because the process of Mashiach coming will be like a seed planted in the ground. We will need to wait for it to grow until, after a lengthy period of time, a fully grown tree emerges from the ground. And of course, Rav Schwab also notes that a seed does not simply grow on its own. One needs to water it and care for it for a tree to actually emerge. Similarly, it is only when we mourn over the loss of Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash, and do our own work tending to the seed, that we will finally see Mashiach, bimheira b’yameinu.

This is also expressed when we ask for HaShem’s salvation all day. Here again, Rav Schwab points out that our hope for Mashiach must be for the entire day, and our entire being must be permeated with hope for his arrival.

This hope actually allows us to fulfill a mitzvah. The Rambam, in explaining his thirteen principles of faith, lists the belief that Mashiach will come as his twelfth principle. Rabbi Zev Leff explains that this bracha therefore is not only a supplication for Mashiach to come but actually allows us to fulfill the mitzvah of awaiting Mashiach.

There is also a lesson for ourselves embedded within this bracha. We noted above that Rav Schwab pointed out that a seed will not simply grow and we need to tend to it by waiting for Mashiach and mourning over the loss of the Beis HaMikdash. This concept of needing to water our seeds is applicable to every goal or struggle in our life – we all are born with immense potential but it is only if we put the work in, it is only if we water the seed of our potential, that we can continue to grow.

As we recite this bracha, we can have in mind that not only do we need to constantly spend our day eagerly anticipating Mashiach, but we can remember that we must put in the work to achieve our full potential to help ensure that happens as soon as possible.