Every day in Shemoneh Esrei, we recite the Berachah of Mechayeih HaMeitim. Under close examination, we see that the phrase “Mechayeih HaMeitim,” or some form of Hashem’s reviving the deceased, appears five different times in the beginning of Shemoneh Esreih. Why is Techiyat HaMeitim mentioned five times in the beginning of Shemoneh Esreih? Why must we put such an emphasis on Techiyat MaMeitim?
Perhaps, the five mentions of Techiyat HaMeitim correspond to different revivals of the dead in history. By mentioning Techiyat HaMeitim five times, we recognize that these examples of Techiyat HaMeitim were done by Hashem. The first revival of the dead is the initial one, in Ma’aseh BeReishit, when Hashem turned dust of the earth to life (BeReishit 2:7). The reason we associate our first mentioning of Techiyat HaMeitim – “Mechayeih HaMeitim” – with “Atah Gibor” is that Hashem’s great might and power is visible in His action of creating Adam HaRishon. The second time we mention Techiyat HaMeitim – “Mechayeih Meitim” – we refer to two similar events: Eliyahu’s (Melachim I 17:22) and Elisha’s (Melachim II 4:34-35) bringing back to life a child for a mother. With this phrase, we say “BeRachamim Rabim,” for Hashem’s mercy is obvious in His allowing of the prophets to bring back the dead to life. The third time we mention Hashem’s revival of the dead is when we say “Melech Meimit UMechayeh.” This refers to Yechezkeil’s experience in the valley of dry bones, when Hashem turns the dry bones into life (Yechezkeil 37:7-10). With this mentioning of Techiyat HaMeitim, we say, “UMatzmi’ach Yeshuah,” “And makes salvation sprout,” because the whole incident is symbolic for the revival of all of the dead in the future. The fourth time refers to the final revival of the dead, when Mashiach comes. Therefore, we say, “VeNe’eman Atah Lehachayot Meitim,” that we believe Hashem will bring back the dead. These reasons account for our mentioning Techiyat HaMeitim. What does the fifth mentioning – “Baruch Atah Hashem, Mechayeih HaMeitim” – symbolize?
One way to understand the last one is that it is not a physical revival of the dead; rather, it refers to Hashem’s “bringing back to life” each and every one of us every day. This fifth mentioning of Techiyat HaMeitim is essentially saying that just as Hashem can bring the dead back to life, so too He can bring each and every one of our souls back to life. Every day, we have many things that distract us from our goals in life. All of these things are fine to do, if done for the right reasons, but we cannot let them distract us from our main purpose in life: to worship Hashem. Therefore, we conclude the Berachah on an individual revival of the dead.
This idea is very important for this time of year. We have just celebrated Purim, a holiday about celebrating life itself. We were supposed to die, but everything flipped around; essentially, we were brought back to life. We must bring this lesson to the next holiday. While Pesach is about our celebrating our physical exodus from Egypt, it also celebrates our spiritual exodus from the land of idol worship.
Also, Pesach has a very special sacrifice: the Korban Pesach. In the times of the Beit HaMikdah, we all had to be Tahor in order to offer and eat it. Nowadays, while we do not bring the Korban Pesach, we remember it and commemorate it during Pesach. We have to wake up from the long winter and remember to prepare for this mitzvah; therefore, we read Parashat Parah (BeMidbar 19:1-22) in order to remind us to be sprinkled by the ashes of the Parah Adumah. Parshat Parah is the wake-up call to our spiritual holiday; Purim celebrates the saving of our bodies, but Pesach celebrates the saving of our souls!
May we keep this lesson in mind, so that Hashem will not only bring us back spiritually, but eventually, He will perform the ultimate Techiyat HaMeitim.