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Amidah: Review of Da’at Part Two: Real Knowledge

Transcribed and prepared by Chava Janovsky: Using This Understanding to Enhance Overall Tefillah The Maharal in Beer HaGolah says that root of the Hebrew word for davening is Pilel: to consider, think, make a judgment (as said about Pinchas, that he made a judgment call) means you have to ponder and think. How am I going to daven? How am I going to use the steps of avos, gevouros, and kedusha? How am I going to use the celebration of potential, empowerment and bridging spiritual and physical worlds and going beyond limitation? I am only going to do this with daas. Real daas, not information, but to be able to use Hashem’s Torah to ponder on it to relate to it in a way that it becomes part of me. That is daas. (Note: Daas can be translated as knowledge, as of course Adam also literally knew who his wife was, but in Torah conversation or Tefillah daas never means just knowledge.)


Elaboration on Daas

Medrash Rabba on Parshas Nasso explains what it means in Bircas Cohanim when it says “Hashem should bless you.” The Medrash asks:  “Bless you with what?” The Medrash answers: “with daas.” So then Medrash asks: “What daas?” Answer: to relate to Hashem the way Adam related to his wife; that is the bracha that the cohanim are giving you.

So the Maharal expounds: how you are now going to daven after the first 3 brachas? Are you going to be able to take everything you davened and use it and to relate to it? We spoke about Daniel in the end of the 2nd Perek he says to Nebuchadnezzar: “Hashem gives wisdom to those that are wise?” So the Gemorrah in Bracha asked: “When you say Hashem gives wisdom to those that are wise, doesn’t seem so wise; instead maybe give wisdom to someone who needs wisdom.” But the Gemorrah explains:  what happen if you give wisdom to someone who isn’t wise yet? He will not use in the right way. He will use it in theatre, gambling halls, internet, many things, but not in the right way. Therefore if Hashem will give the bracha of wisdom He will only give it to someone who is wise. But we asked the question, and you will be mochel me Gemorrah, but Hashem certainly knows how to make a person wise. He knows how to make a person wise enough not to waste the wisdom. But the answer is, if someone doesn’t appreciate what wisdom is, then no amount of wisdom can help.

So Ata Chonane L’Adam Daas. Remember, this is only bracha that begins with the praise. Each of the other middle brachas makes the request and then says “Ci Ata”– “because you are.” We always say please do this “because you are.” Only one bracha begins with an acknowledgement; this is bracha of daas. Because if you don’t know what it is, they nothing will come. But especially if you don’t understand what daas is. That it is not information. It is instead the ability to relate to Torah in most intimate and personal way. When see this then you begin to understand why need to start that way.

I heard last night from a woman in my class. I had told the class about a Gemorrah in Taanis. The Gemorrah says there was a drought. The Jews were going to declare a fast but Romans said “no fasting” because they liked having Jews under their control. The Romans knew that if the Jews fast and daven then it would rain. They had no sh’aila; they were much frummer than we are. So they put an absolute prohibition: no fasting, no one could declare a fast.

So the Jews asked Rebbe Zera: what do we do? if it doesn’t rain by the 17th of Cheshvan we are supposed to fast. So he said just accept that when it rains you will fast. So they said “what are talking about?” But they made a public declaration that they accepted a fast for when it rains and it started to rain. So they said “How did you figure it out?” He said: “What do you mean, it is a posuk. When the malach comes to Daniel he says to him: ‘On the day you made up your mind that you would, even before you did it I treated it as if you did it.’- I knew as soon as accepted to fast Hashem would say it is as if they fasted and then it would rain.”

Rav Yosef Chichik was the Rabbi of Rabbi Alkabitz writer of Lecha Dodi (who was the Rebbe of the Ramak – Rabbi Moshe Cordevero). So he said that Rav Chichik said that this means that if we accept we simply accept a life of trying to attach to Hashem, Hashem already beings to relate to us as if we achieved it. Then the influence and abundance we receive from Hashem is as if we already achieve it.

So this woman said: “Now I understand why we start with “ata chonane l’adam daas” –  I want to daven for brains, and then I say it is as if Hashem already gave to me: ‘you give us wisdom for free.’” So it is a celebration that tefilla will work even before start to daven for it.

Question: I understand how this goes back to Torah not only being knowledge –the implication is – there is faith to this, there is something non-quantifiable

Answer: will get to it – answer is in the bracha

Also – we all know that we are Hashem’s children. Why?

Class: We called Bnei Yisrael

Answer: That is Yisrael – but why are we Hashem’s children?

Class: Because he gives us boundlessly like a parent

Answer: That’s what I would have said. And he also gave you life – good reason right?

Class: Also He tempers justice with mercy

Answer- these are all great ideas- but they are not what Rashi says. Rashi says: we are Hashem’s children because He is our Rebbe. Look at Rashi on Shema “V’Shinomtamm L’Vanecha:” Hashem is our Rebbe. He is not our parent because He is our parent and gave us life which many would have said. But Rashi disagrees and he is probably right. Rashi says because He is our Rebbe. That means that anytime in order to get a piece of information you don’t need Hashem. But, to turn that information into daas, then you need THE Rebbe; that is Hashem. This is ata chonane l’adam daas. But then He does more – the next step – “u milamade l’enosh bina.”

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