The Gemara in Brochos (4b) tells us that one who connects geula to tefilah – even at Maariv – is deserving of a special place in the Next World. What is so special about being soimech geula l’tfilah?
Rashi explains that this is based on the juxtaposition of the two chapters in Tehilim 19 and 20. Chapter 19 ends off with the words: “Hashem tzuri v’goali – Hashem is My Rock and Redeemer.” The next chapter begins with the words: “yaanchah hashem b’yom tzara – He will answer you on a day of distress.” This is to teach us that right after we recite the brocha “gu’al yisroel” and proclaim that Hashem is our redeemer, we immediately continue by praying the shmoneh esrei, and ask that He save us from all our troubles.
REASONS FOR SMICHAS GEULA L’TFILAH
Rashi continues by explaining the purpose of smichas geula l’tfilah. He quotes the Yerushalmi who compares this to a friend of the king, who wishes to have an audience with the king. He knocks on the king’s door and getting no response, he leaves. When the king comes to the door, he sees no one there so he also leaves. Similarly, one who davens declares the greatness of Hashem, how He performed for us miracles, taking us out of Egypt. This brings a person close to Hashem and is an auspicious time to make a request. If the person leaves, then Hashem will also “leave” and the opportunity has been lost.
Rabeinu Yonah adds another understanding to the purpose of smichas geula l’tfilah. He asks: Why should one receives such a great reward for this seemingly small accomplishment? He explains that in mentioning the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim, one is proclaiming his realization that Hashem took us out to become His servants. By davening immediately – the ultimate service to Hashem – one shows that he is indeed Hashem’s true servant, and is ready and willing to follow all of His orders, and is therefore truly deserving of a prominent place in Olam Haba.
Rabeinu Yonah offers another reason for the great reward. The miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim are meant to teach us Hashem is the One running the world. If one davens immediately afterward, he is proclaiming his realization that He is the only One who can help us with our troubles. One who has full belief and reliance on Hashem is truly deserving of a prominent place in Olam Haba.
GEULA ARICHTA – AN EXTENDED GEULA
After learning about the importance of not interrupting in between geula and tefilah, an obvious question comes to mind. Every night there are a number of things that are recited after the brocha of Gu’al Yisroel, and before shmoneh esrei, such as the brocha of hashkiveinu. Why is this not a violation of this requirement to connect geilah to tefilah? The Gemara there actually addresses this question and explains that hashkiveinu is considered an extension of the redemption, and does not constitute an interruption.
Rabeinu Yonah explains that the brocha of hashkiveinu was first recited in Mitzrayim at the time of Makas Bechoros. Just as the Jews davened to Hashem to be saved from being killed together with the Egyptians, we also recite the brocha of hashkiveinu asking Hashem to be saved from any nighttime troubles. Since this is somewhat of a continuation of the tefilah recited at the time of Yetzias Mitzarayim it is considered an extension of the redemption, and does not constitute an interruption.
In a similar vein, the Gemara explains that we start off the shmoneh esrei with the words “Hashem sfasi tiftach.” This is not considered an interruption, but is rather considered an extension of the tefilah. Just as hashkiveinu is considered an extension of the redemption, and does not constitute an interruption, “Hashem sfasi tiftach.” is considered an extension of the tefilah and is not considered an interruption.
There are a number of reasons for the importance of smichas geula l’tfilah:
- Immediately after one declares the greatness of Hashem and is close to Hashem is an auspicious time to daven.
- By davening immediately one shows that he is indeed Hashem’s true servant.
- If one davens immediately, he is proclaiming his full belief and reliance on Hashem.
Hashkiveinu is an extension of the geula and is not a hefsek. Hashem Sifasi is an extension of the tefilah and is not a hefsek.
What about announcing Yaaleh V’yavo” or Al HaNisim? See the follow up article coming soon!