Forefather’s Merit: Magen Avraham

20 06 2012

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Hershel Reichman

We begin the Shemone Esrei with the words, “Hashem open my mouth so my lips can speak your praises.” In a verse in Ezra-Nechemya, Hashem is described as, “U’merom al kol bracha utehila.” He is more exalted than any blessings or praise we can offer. Our prayers are only a small token of what Hashem really deserves. To accurately and fully praise Him is beyond our ability. Therefore, we preface our prayers by pleading for assistance.

 The first blessing Magen Avraham takes us back to the very beginning of the Jewish people. The forefathers founded the people of Israel with prayer. Avraham’s essence was tefilah. He taught us that prayer is at the core of our relationship with Hashem.

Our forefathers showed us that the enormous distance between the Almighty and us can be bridged through tefilah. The Almighty lets us ascend the ladder to reach Him and He in turn lowers Himself to listen to our pleading. When we open our mouth to speak Hashem‘s praises and to thank him for his blessings, we create an intimate connection between ourselves and our beloved Creator.

Man has the ability to affect and influence Hashem’s way of conducting the world. We are not doomed to fate. We can change it and bring blessing into the world. We learn this from Avraham, who prayed for the wicked people of Sedom and was successful in saving Lot and his family. Therefore, we give him the seal of this first blessing, Magen Avraham, Hashem is the shield of Avraham. We pray that the way the Almighty protected Avraham, He will continue to guard us too.

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