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In one of the first few blessings in the Amidah we say "...resurrects the dead with great mercy..." using the present tense. Why?

Doesn't it seem out of place? It's not something that happens these days and doesn't relate to the other sentences in the paragraph which are things that He does all the time like "... Supports the falling... Heals the sick..."

And even when it will happen when Moshiach comes it will be a one time event ?!

  • 1
    I had a discussion about this with someone as it related to "mashiv haru'ach" which we don't say all year. His answer is that not every moment is the proper moment for rain, but every moment WOULD BE a desirable and proper moment for healing, intelligence and/or resurrection. There is no time at which we wouldn't want it, so the constant present tense is best. I wasn't convinced. – rosends Nov 18 '16 at 11:30
  • Is there any reason you are asking about this and not ומביא גואל לבני בניהם? – mevaqesh Nov 20 '16 at 0:01
  • @mevaqesh Was asking about that sentence – larry909 Nov 21 '16 at 2:51
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  • Raavan (12th cent.) explains (Berakhot 240) that the passage refers to God granting life to fetuses.

מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים הם העוברים שבמעי אמם שנותן בהם רוח ומחיה אותם

  • The Rokeah (12th cent.) says basically in his commentary to the Siddur (46: p. 321) the same thing: that it refers to the developing human body, which attains life:

מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים כגון קושר העצמות בגידים ואחר כך מעלה הבשר עליהם וקורה עליהם עור, ונותן בהם רוח וחיים ברחמיו הרבים.

  • A different explanation is given by R. Asher of Lunel (12th cent.) in his Sefer HaMinhagot (6a) that God saves those destined for death:

מחיה מתים אתה שהיה בכח מזלם שימותו ביד אויביהם והב"ה מנצח מזלם ומושיעם מידם והרי הוא כאלו החיה אותם

  • He cites yet another explanation, this in the name of R. Jacob Tam (12th cent.), that it refers to God's awakening of the sleeping:

והרב ר' יעקב פי' על שישנים שהן כשהן +הישנים שחיין כשהוא+ מעירן משנתן

  • Abudirham (14th cent.) explains (Sh'moneh Esreh) that the "resurrection" refers to three things. Awakening from sleep, (as in the explanation of R. Jacob Tam), God making it rain which fuels the worlds economic life, and third actual resurrection:

כי בשלשה ענינים הקדוש ברוך הוא מחיה המתים: הראשונה כשאדם ישן על מטתו והרי הוא חשוב כמת ... והקב"ה מעלה עננים ומוריד טללים וגשמים כדי לפרנסו ומחזיר לו נשמתו

They do not state explicitly that their purpose is to explain the present tense.

  • Awesome answer, fascinating. – SAH Jun 27 '18 at 8:21
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Here's one possible explanation.

excerpt from Yaarot Devash 1:1 on his explanation of the Amidah

Accepting the repentance of a sinner is in the category of 'resurrection of the dead', because 'a wicked person, even when alive is called dead'. And when he repents, this is like a resurrection from the dead.

Therefore, one should pray that HKBH should revive him and accept his prayer. And when a person sins, his soul leaves him, and he should pray that HKBH revives him with the 'dew of ressurection'. Because the (physical) 'dew', HKBH sends without our initiative (hitorerut letata) (unlike rain which needs prayer). So too, we recall the dew to bring down and revive us with His holy blessing (shefa).

Therefore in this beracha, one's intent should be to revive in this world and in the time of the resurrection of the dead. And this will fix in one's heart complete faith in the future ressurection because 'the word of G-d does not return empty', which he promised to us to awaken us from our graves and then the world will be rectified completely. And this brings one to believe in the creation ex-nihilo (something from nothing), which is similar to the revival of the dead. And in the beginning, G-d's thought was to make man head of all creation. But with the sin (of Adam), it says 'you will surely die', and he fell from his lofty level. But the 'thought of G-d will forever endure'. Therefore, in the resurrection of the dead, man will return to his level and will be head to all the angels on high, as it is written "at that time, they (the angels) will say to Yaakov and to Yisrael, what did G-d do". And for this every man should look forward to with complete joy, this perfection, and he should fix himself now as much as he can so that he will be worthy of this.

  • +1. Does he connect this to the use of the present tense? – msh210 Nov 18 '16 at 10:25
  • @msh210 doesnt say it explicitly. but i think this is the intent of "accepting the repentance of a sinner.." which refers to the here and now – ray Nov 18 '16 at 10:27

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