Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Shevatim and Shemona Esrei

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYetze from Breslov Research Institute
Based on Likutey Halakhot, Tefilah 5:2-3

The Avot (Patriarchs) established the three daily tefilot (prayers; Berakhot 26b). The aspect of prayer which makes it an expression of love and bonding with God is represented by Avraham Avinu (our Patriarch). To pray well, and sometimes merely to pray at all, takes strength and dedication. This is represented by Yitzchak Avinu. Yaakov Avinu, however, is the perfection of prayer as indicated by his "perfect bed," the fact that all his children followed in his footsteps and believed in the One God. This indicates that he unified the Shekhinah with Her Beloved. That union provides all of creation with peace, prosperity and joy.

The first and last three blessings of the Shemonah Esrei (aka Amidah) parallel the Avot, but the bulk of the of the weekday Shemonah Esrei, in which we humbly request prosperity in its various forms, parallels the Twelve Tribes. Reb Noson gives us some insight and inspiration by aligning the middle blessings with the Twelve Tribes. To keep the chart to a convenient size for those who wish to print it and keep it in their siddur (prayerbook), I chose brevity over elaboration. (The numbers in the first column indicate where in the order of Shemonah Esrei the blessing is. For example, 1/4 means , first of the middle/weekday blessings, fourth overall.)

Pray well!

agutn Shabbos!

Shabbat Shalom!

© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Tefilah 5:3


Tribe (Mother)




Reuvein (Leah)

"G' has seen my plight" (Genesis 29:32) "My heart saw much wisdom" (Kohelet 1:16)



Shimon (Leah)

"G' has heard that I am disliked" (Genesis 29:33) A penitent, when he had been guilty of sin had been out of favor with G' and himself. But when G' helps him and he repents, G' has compassion on him. This is our request in this blessing: God! Hear that I am despised and help me to return to you!



Levy (Leah)

The Kohanim and Levites were involved in Temple service that effected forgiveness.



Yehudah (Leah)

Ancestor of Mashiach, the Righteous Redeemer



Yisakhar (Zilpah/Leah)

Torah study brings healing: It is a cure for your body (Proverbs 3:8). They were noted for their Torah study (Yuma 26a);


Bareikh Parnassah

Zevulun (Zilpah/Leah)

Bereishis Rabbah 99:9; They gave money to Yisakhar so the latter could learn Torah.


T'ka b'shofar

Dan (Bilhah/Rachel)

Tribe of Dan gathered the lost items, material and spiritual, of the Jewish people.



Naftali (Bilhah/Rachel)

Bereishis Rabbah 98:17; They gave clear halakhic decisions and advice to quell disputes.



(no tribe)

To rid world of idolatry and haughtiness.



Yosef (Rachel)

Yosef is known as "the tzaddik."



Binyamin (Rachel)

Jerusalem is in the territory of Binyamin.


Tzemach David

Gad (Leah)

The prophet Eliyahu, who will announce and facilitate the Final Redemption, is from the Tribe of Gad.


Shomeiah Tefilah

Asher (Leah)

"Daughters have praised my fortune" (Genesis 30:13). When G' answers our prayers (as He did for Leah) all will acknowledge how fortunate we are that G' is our G' (Psalms 144:15).

© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute

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