Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Amidah - part 2 - Gevurot

The second section of the Amidah is called Gevurot - "Powers".  Here we consider the great and unique powers of G*d:

You are mighty forever, my L-rd; You resurrect the dead; You are powerful to save.
     ( In summer say: He causes the dew to descend.  
     In winter say: He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.)
He sustains the living with loving kindness, resurrects the dead with great mercy, supports the falling, heals the sick, releases the bound, and fulfills His trust to those who sleep in the dust. Who is like You, mighty One! And who can be compared to You, King, who brings death and restores life, and causes deliverance to spring forth!
You are trustworthy to revive the dead. Blessed are You L-rd, who revives the dead.

 What powers are listed?
1. He sustains the living
2. He resurrects the dead
3. He is great in salvation
4. He controls the forces of nature
5. He supports the falling
6. He heals the sick
7. He releases the bound (matir asurim!)
8. He fulfills His trust to those who sleep in the dust
9. He brings death and restores life
10. He causes deliverance to spring forth
11. He is trustworthy to revive the dead
12. He is blessed in reviving the dead

Nearly half of these are related to death!  Either acknowledging G*d's role in causing death, or in affirming G*d's power to reverse death.  If those are left out, we are left with:
1. Sustaining the living
3. Bringing salvation
4. Controlling nature
5. Supporting the falling
6. Healing the sick
7. Releasing the bound
10. Causing deliverance to spring forth.

Except for controlling nature, these are things that we can do!  These a human functions through which we channel G*d's image within us.  And it is by exercising these functions that we overcome death itself, either literally or figuratively.  By doing these things we can potentially save others from succumbing to illness or other harm, and we also gain an immortality as our good deeds outlive us.  And quite possibly, our rewards in the afterlife are alluded to here as well.  How to gain brownie points in the World to Come?  By G*dly behavior during our lives.

Yes, we are destined to die (part of nature and all).  Yes, G*d is there with us in that death.  When it happens, it is all too easy to protest, "Why is this happening to me?  Why did G*d do this to me?" We must remember that death is part of life, and like all other parts, it is up to us to make it a meaningful and G*dly experience.  Easy? No!  That's why the reviving of the dead is mentioned 5 times in this blessing -- we must remind ourselves over and over, that the things that are "bad" in this life can be transformed.  Death can be turned into life, by creating a life worth having lived.

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