Tefillah a la Moshe by Shmuel Reece


In the beginning of Parshat Haazinu, Moshe Rabbeinu states a short Pasuk: “Ki Sheim Hashem Ekra, Havu Godel LEilokeinu,” usually translated as, “When I proclaim Hashem’s name, you should give greatness to Hashem.”  However, the Chumash with Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch’s commentary translates this verse as, “For it is Hashem’s Name that I proclaim; ascribe ye greatness unto our Hashem.”  This different translation teaches us that Moshe Rabbeinu davened before delivering his “Mussar Schmooze.”

Perhaps because of this idea, we apply many ideas from Moshe’s Tefillah to our own davening.  This one Pasuk is the source for part of the structure of Kedushah; reciting Barchu during davening; the requirement of three for a Mezuman; saying Birchot HaTorah before reading the Torah in shul – and the list goes on.

Yalkut Shimoni points out that whereas the Malachim say Hashem’s name after saying the word Kadosh three times, Moshe waited until he said 21 words, as though he were only 1/7th as great as the angels.  Yalkut Shimoni says that, considering how careful Moshe Rabbeinu was about saying Hashem’s name even if he was so great, how much more careful must we be before saying Hashem’s name!  The Chizkuni comments that Chazal established 21 words before we say Hashem’s name in Kedushah daily, and on Shabbat 85 letters corresponding to the 85 letters in the 21 words in the first three Pesukim of Haazinu.

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch remarks that the first three Pesukim of the Parsha are the introduction of Moshe Rabbeinu’s Shirah.  Before Moshe Rabbeinu began reciting the words of Hashem, he compelled his audience to listen to his words as what they were – the words of Hashem.  So too, when a person gets an Aliyah, he too, says the Berachah within which he declares that what is about to be read is “Torato” – Hashem’s teachings that He has given us.  Just as the person getting the Aliyah expresses the promise to faithfully obey Hashem, he calls upon the Tzibbur to do the same when they respond with Baruch Hashem HaMevorach LeOlam VaEd.  Rav Hirsch adds that the same reason applies to the responses of Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuto LeOlam VaEd and Amen.

This might also be the way our Pasuk is used to derive the idea of Mezuman.  We know, according to the Mishnah in Pirkei Avot, that when three people eat together, they should discuss Torah.  By saying Birkat HaMazon with a Mezuman, they are then showing their acceptance of the Torah, which commands us to learn the Torah and to recite Birkat HaMazon after eating.

In the merit of these and all of our Tefillot, may we all merit a Gemar Chatimah Tovah.


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