Bo: A Message from Your Siddur
By Rabbi Yonah Burr
ויהי בעצם היום הזה הוציא ד' את בני ישראל מארץ מצרים על צבאתם
And it was on that very day, Hashem took the Bnei Yisroel out of the land of Mitzrayim in their legions.
The Ramban observes that a great many Mitzvos serve as reminders of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Tefillin, which we don daily; Mezuza, on every doorpost; Tzizis; the Pesach Seder; Shabbos and Yom Tov; these are just some examples. Hashem wants us to internalize the lessons of the miracles and see His Hand in our daily lives.
In our Siddur, we say a long blessing after Shema about the redemption from Mitzrayim: גאל ישראל. Right after this blessing, we begin Shemonah Esray. Our Sages arranged the Amidah to immediately follow this blessing discusses the redemption from Egypt.
In Meseches Brachos, Rav Yochanan makes a promise that seems too good to be true: Anyone who is careful to start Shemona Esray right after reciting the blessings of גאל ישראל -- is guaranteed a share in the World to Come!
The Rabbainu Yonah asks the obvious question. That is the order prescribed by the Sages. How can one deserve such hefty payouts simply by following the Siddur?
Rabbainu Yonah explains that the reward is not simply for following the order. One must internalize its lesson.
The blessing of גאל ישראל describes the tremendous kindness that Hashem showed us when He redeemed us. Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim so that we could serve Him. We serve Him by our davening. “Tefilla is the service of the heart”, says the Gemara. When we describe the miracles and the kindness that Hashem performed for us, and then immediately daven -- serve Him -- we fulfill the purpose of the redemption. Moreover, we fulfill the very purpose of Creation.
Our davening is actually a blueprint that teaches us how to conduct ourselves through life. If we do this twice a day, every day, we will surely internalize this message and live our lives accordingly. One who lives with this mindset surely deserves a portion in the World to Come.
Perhaps, we can shed new light on the purpose of Tefilla. It is not just about asking for things. It is a transformative experience meant to put us in the right frame of mind to serve Him. It sets the tone for the rest of the day and surrounds our day with spirituality. The daily hundred blessings that our Sages instituted are also meant to serve the same purpose: to keep Hashem, constantly, in the forefront of our minds.
Our Sages set up the program for us. Let’s do our very best to follow it, and secure a favored place in the world to come!
Have a wonderful Shabbos!