Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Tevet 11
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One who responds "Amen" after a blessing surpasses the one who recites the blessing (Berachos 53b).

"Amen" is an expression of confirmation, whereby we attest that what the other person has said is indeed true. Thus, when someone recites a blessing expressing gratitude to God or asserting that God has commanded the performance of a particular mitzvah, one is making a declaration of one's faith. When we respond by saying "Amen," we are essentially stating, "What you have said is indeed true," and thereby we are not only concurring with what was said and expressing our own faith, but also reinforcing the other person's statement and strengthening the other person's faith.

There are things that one can do that will strengthen other people's faith in God, and things that will weaken it. In Torah there is a concept of arvus - mutual responsibility - by virtue of which one is obligated to try to strengthen other people's belief and trust in God. Although every person has free will, and God does not intervene to deter someone from committing a wrong, people who have suffered because of someone's misdeeds often feel that God has abandoned them. Thus, if we deal unfairly with others, we may not only cause them to be angry at us, but also bring them to doubt God for allowing an injustice to happen. While such reasoning is faulty, the one who caused it is nevertheless responsible for causing the victim to feel that way. On the other hand, when we behave in the manner which God wishes, the result is kvod shamayim - bringing glory and honor to God, and strengthening people's faith. Our actions can and do affect how other people will think and act.

Today I shall...

try to behave in a way that will result in people having greater respect for and trust in God.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

 

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