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Nechpah Bakessef: Blessings of Evening Shema

The 16th of Shevat is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yona Navon, Rav of Yerushalayim (1713-1760). Appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Gedulat Mordechai in Yerushalayim at the age of 19 years, he later moved to Italy due to the harsh poverty. Supported by relatives, he published Nechpah Bakessef, his sefer of responsa. He also authored Get Mekushar on the sefer Get Pashut of Rav Moshe ibn Chaviv, as well as Pri Mipri to refute the questions on Pri Chadash raised by the Pri Toar and the Simlah Chadasha. Among his many talmidim was Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azoulai, the Chida.

From The Introduction to Nechpah Bakessef:
“Who by His words brings on evenings.” (First Blessing Before Shema of the Evening) “Asher bidvaro ma’ariv aravim,” can also be read, “Who in His words speaks sweet things that create other sweet things.”

We are charged to work on ourselves, raise our souls and bodies, toil in Torah and the service of God. We will only achieve any of these when we emulate the Creator and speak with sweet words that create sweetness and are received by others as sweetness. Only a humble person will be able to speak with such sweetness. God blew the breath of life into us, the ability to speak, immediately after forming us from the earth, a moment of humility.

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