Hu asanu, v’lo anachnu – amo v’tzon mar’iso

…He made (created) us and we are His, (with the special distinction that we are) His nation and the sheep that He takes care of.

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Hu asanu has three successive meanings here. First, He made each one of us from the earth, which He created from nothing. Next, He made us a people. Last, He elevated B’nei Yisrael above all nations.

HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l demonstrates that where the word “asah” is used elsewhere, it means: He made for a purpose. In this case, Hashem made us for the purpose “that we gain dei’ah (the True Knowledge of Him – see Mizmor L’Sodah 3) and that we disseminate this knowledge.” This is consistent with the pasuk: “Am zu yatzarti li, t’hilasi y’sapeiru (The people that I fashioned for Myself – that they might declare My praise.” – Isaiah 43:21).

V’lo anachnu, amo, v’tzon mar’iso – The word “v’lo” is written with an alef but read as a vav. With an alef, the phrase “v’lo anachnu” would mean “we are not.” With a vav, the phrase means “we are His.” Using both meanings, we are saying: When we recognize that we are not responsible for our creation, our existence, or our successes (as a people and as individuals), then we truly belong to Hashem and are “amo” – His nation. We are His when we internalize and live with the dei’ah, the sensory and emotional recognition, that we are His sheep and He is the Shepherd Who is always watching over us with His hashgachah pratis, His Divine Providence. [based on HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l, Praise, My Soul!]

We are less than one-quarter of one percent of the world population. Over the course of our history, many have attempted to wipe us out. Yet, we are still here and in many ways thriving, while people such as the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians are either totally gone or are a shell of what they were. HaRav Yaakov Emden zt”l stated that he believed that the fact that we still exist is a greater miracle than all the miracles of Y’tzias Mitzrayim and K’rias Yam Suf. Clearly, this can only be attributed to Hashem, Who watches over us and Who has protected us throughout history.

The same is true of our individual lives. Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, has perfectly designed a very specific life for each of us. We are privileged to be part of His people, each with our own unique role and purpose as a part of the whole. He watches over us individually, as well. The g’dolei ha’dor of yesteryear (HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l) wrote an open letter to all of klal Yisrael stating the urgency of opening our eyes, minds, and hearts to notice and feel Hashem’s constant presence in our lives. They even suggested recording in writing when we feel and see specific instances of Hashem’s Hand in our daily lives. Following their sagely guidance will enable us to acquire and disseminate dei’ah, which is the purpose for which we were created.

To access print versions of previous Tefilah segments, please visit OU Torah’s Search portal, select the Topic of “Tefillah,”  and then select “Weekly Tefilah Focus” from the Series list.

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For Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman’s video and audio shiurim, which are based on our Tefilah Focus segments but also include his insightful and inspiring additions, please visit TorahAnytime.com  or simply search for “TorahAnytime Rabbi Finkelman.”


You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.

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