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Shabbat Parashat Acharei Mot Kedoshim 5773

Ein Ayah: No Need to Believe When You Know

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:272)

Gemara: How do we know that they did not answer Amen in the Mikdash? It is as the pasuk says: “Rise and bless Hashem, your G-d, from eternity to eternity” (Nechemia 9:5). It also says: “They will bless Your glorious Name, which is more lofty than any blessing or praise” (ibid.).

 

Ein Ayah: Belief in and acceptance of that which was said by great people is a pillar that lights up all dark places. This is so because not everyone can arrive at deep truths on his own, especially in regard to such important things as Torah and basic theological beliefs. This explains the importance of answering Amen, indicating full acceptance of blessings, which was instituted by the “fathers of the world,” Anshei Knesset Hagedola and other great people.

However, the need for belief-based acceptance due to lack of understanding is a phenomenon of the individual, as he may be unable to reach the high level of knowledge of the ideas behind the blessings and prayers. That is why we answer Amen, as hinted in the pasuk: “Open the gates and let come the righteous nation who is careful about emunim (lit., trustworthiness, but understood as a hint to Amen)” (Yeshaya 26:2). However, the nation as a whole is the nation of Hashem, about whom it is written: “You were shown to know that Hashem is the G-d, there is none but Him” (Devarim 4:35). 

When is a person limited to the realm of the individual, for whom tradition and belief are so necessary and important? That is when a person is in a framework of the individual and thinks about only events that occurred in his generation. Then he may see things that look foreign to him, and Hashem’s divine guidance of the world will not be intellectually clear to him. Then he will need simple belief. However, if we view all of the long history, we will see clearly all of the wondrous things that Hashem did, and we will be witnesses to the foundations of the Torah and belief.

The Mikdash is the center of sanctity on a collective level and is the place where even the individual is most likely to view matters on the broadest national level. He is exposed to incredible things: all the miracles that occurred and the wondrous unfolding of history from the beginning of time, with great Divine Providence. One does not need to accept matters there with Amen. Rather, through internal recognition, one will respond “Hashem is great and very extolled, in the city of our G-d, His holy mountain” (Tehillim 48:2). For this reason, they would not answer Amen in the Mikdash.

The blessing they would recite was “May Hashem, the G-d of Israel, be blessed from eternity to eternity.” This blessing, which comes from intellectual recognition, is appropriate because the collective is not limited to one generation or period of time, but rather relates to Hashem as He functioned throughout eternity, from the past through the present

Each blessing is just a small part of a great ethical outlook that gives light within the general running of the world. This includes all the sources of blessings and praises: intellect, feeling, and personal ideas. This bit of light is lost within the vast light of the world. That is why the gemara cites the pasuk of “They will bless Your glorious Name, which is more lofty than any blessing or praise.” The whole picture of Hashem’s involvement in the world throughout time engenders so much light that no language is able to express it. Therefore, “for Hashem, silence is praise” (Tehillim 65:2), and He is more lofty than any blessing or praise. We are able to utter with our mouths the greatness of Hashem according to our understanding if we acknowledge that we are referring to the realization of His greatness as it can be seen over the span of eternity.
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