Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Poetry of (Amida) Prayer

Shemoneh Esreh has a message for the Jewish People. It is not only a glorified laundry list of Man to God; it also can teach us about ourselves and our destiny. Anshei Knesset Hagedola--the great tribunal of sages--poetically inserted a moving message in the supplication section of the Amidah. This section should be split into two equal sets of six blessings: the first focuses on individual needs of knowledge, repentance, forgiveness, redemption, health, blessing; the second is devoted to nationalist aspirations of redemption.

Ingathering of exiles
Justice system
Enemies from within and without
Restoration of Jerusalem
Messianic resumption of the Davidic line

Were the rabbis in the first centuries after the destruction of the Temple and the exile from the land providing for us a random list of nationalist desires, or were they hinting at a recipe for the return from exile and the re-establishment of the monarchy?

I believe the latter.

Somewhere in the protracted exile the persecuted, wandering Jews misread the code of these six blessings and substituted the process for an acquiescence that only Messiah son of David can miraculously return them to their native land. But the PROGRESSION in these six blessings intimates otherwise.

Consider the process:
First return to the land, naturally, physically. Then, once the Jewish people have returned to their homeland, set up a justice system built on the idyllic partnership of divine inspiration and human application--"Elohim nitzav beadat el, bekerev Elohim yishpot" (God stands firm in the congregation of judges, amidst the judges He discerns".

After we have the people and we begin the process of developing a justice system we will have to contend with schisms, corruptions, and downright evil individuals attempting to torpedo this nascent society. In response and somewhere in the middle of the process we will desire true leaders who are an extension of the builders of the land and the progeny of the returnees to the land.

Finally, after the more physical necessities are in place the time will come to re-establish Zion as God's throne and reignite the Davidic monarchy, paving the way for God's ultimate salvation.