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BIRCHAS BONEH YERUSHALAYIM Who better to write the bracha of Boneh Yerushalayim than the Dovid of “Ir Dovid”? In this bracha we see the fingerprints of Dovid Hamelech as he pleads for Hashem’s mercy to be upon the city of Yerushalayim — the holy city that Dovid Hamelech’s army finally wrenched from nonJewish rule, after the Yidden had already been inhabiting Eretz Yisroel for more than 400 years. In this tefillah, he also prays for the kingship of Dovid, Hashem’s anointed, and refers to Hashem as a shepherd, a role Dovid Hamelech knew well. Dovid, who lived through shame and affliction as he ran from his pursuant Shaul Hamelech, being forced to hide in caves and act as if he’d gone insane to save his life, also inserts a plea here that Yidden be saved from shame and disgrace. According to the Gemara, Shlomo Hamelech built upon his father’s tefillah with a prayer for the Beis Hamikdash, which he was zoche to build, within this section.

BIRCHAS HATOV V’HAMEITIV In this segment, we see that the authors plead for release from galus, for the yoke of exile to be broken from our neck — but they also bless Hashem for all of the good He has done and will continue to do for Klal Yisroel. They who instituted this bracha understood the agony of galus well, but were able to see the Hand of Hashem despite the searing pain. This bracha was penned by the chachmei Yavneh, the Torah sages who witnessed the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the failed Bar Kochva revolt, and

embitterment of Yiddish lives by the Romans. One city in Eretz Yisroel, Beitar, was the stronghold of Bar Kochva and the last remaining fortress of the Yidden. When the Romans conquered the city, they wiped out thousands upon thousands of Jewish lives, and with them, hope. The Gemara relates that for seven years after the Beitar slaughter the non-Jews were able to fertilize their fields with Yiddishe blood. During the massacre, even small children were not spared from the Roman sword. Bodies piled up; rivers ran red. The Roman horses carried the soldiers until they were up to their nostrils in blood. When the killing finally ended, the Yidden were refused the right to bury the dead. Only several years after the Beitar massacre were the Yidden finally granted permission to bring the bodies of the slain to burial. To this end, the chachmei Yavneh entered Beitar, not sure of what they’d find. “Hatov v’hameitiv!” they declared when they realized that despite the years, the animals, the hot Middle Eastern sun — the bodies of the slain had not decayed. At a time when all hope seemed lost and the Yidden felt abandoned, this was a sign from Hashem that though the days may be dark, He would always be there for them, watching over them, loving them, caring for them, and would ultimately bring the geulah. For though our bodies may be broken and we may flounder in the dark, Hashem will never completely leave us. He is truly “Harachaman.” May we merit the geulah sheleimah b’karov.

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