Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amidah - part 5 - Repentence

The fifth blessing of the Amidah:

Cause us to return, our Father, to Your Torah; draw us near, our King, to Your service; and bring us back to You in whole-hearted repentance. Blessed are You L-rd, who desires penitence.

 I first learned the Amidah when I was student teaching, and I would recite it while biking to the McCormick Middle School from my home.  I loved this blessing, because the word for "repentance" or "returning" is the same as the word for "answer": Teshuvah.  We seek answers -- to academic questions as well as to those deep existential ones.  But in the same word that we ask for the answer, we are also asking for the ability to repent, as well as the opening to return to wholeness.  The triple entendre is so rich!

In Hebrew, it sounds like this:

Ha-shi-vei-nu ("return us") A-vi-nu l'to-ra-te-cha, v'ka-r'vei-nu Mal-kei-nu la-a-vo-da-te-cha, v'ha-cha-zi-rei-nu bit-shu-vah sh'lei-mah l'fa-ne-cha. Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, ha-ro-tzeh bit-shu-vah.

Ha-shi-vei-nu ("return us") Our Father, to Your Torah; draw us near, Our King, to Your service, and bring us back  bit-shu-vah ("in repentence") fully before You.  Blessed are You L*rd, who desires t'shu-vah ("repentence"). 

In each place of t'shuvah, substitute "answer" instead of "repentance".   How does that change the meaning of the blessing?

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