The beautiful and powerful tefilah of Ahavah Rabah is naturally connected with Birchos HaTorah. In fact, if one is uncertain as to whether he can recite Birchos HaTorah, one of the primary alternatives is to have in mind when reciting this brachah of Ahavah Rabah to fulfill the mitzvah of Birchos HaTora
h and then learn something either after Tachanun or after completing tefilas Shacharis. (One should ask his rav or rebbe).
Since the Tefilah Focus program is built on constant review, we are taking the opportunity now to review this crucial brachah. We will divide the series of 20 segments into ten sections. The following is Segment 1.
Ingredients of a Powerful Bakashah
The Avudraham writes that the brachah of Ahavah Rabah / Ahavas Olam includes a number of items:
- Hashem loves us more than any nation.
- He gave us the Torah.
- We are to believe in yichud Hashem.
- He is Adon HaKol.
Perhaps we can add the following:
The brachah is loaded with bakashos for our own ruchniyus as well as davening for the ruchniyus of our children and others. This is one of the crucial places that the Chofetz Chaim advised davening for our children.
Tefilos for our children that they should be lomdei Torah, tzadikim, and baalei midos tovos should be constant and fluent in our mouths. One should always have kavanah in Ahavah Rabah that they should be lomdei Torah. [Ateres Z’keinim, quoted in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim, siman 47]
(As an aside, we should take note that just because one is a lomeid Torah does not ensure that he is a tzadik, and neither of the two traits ensures that he is a baal midos tovos. Each requires separate effort and tefilah.)
The Avudraham then adds that the close of the brachah is about our love for Hashem and His love for us, and not about yichud Hashem, because talking about yichud Hashem without love and a complete heart “lo yo’il klum (would not help at all, i.e., is completely ineffective).”
While there are slightly different readings between nusach Ashkenaz and nusach S’farad, it is agreed that both statements are correct. Hashem has great love for us (ahavah rabah) and His love for us is eternal (ahavas olam). The debate is only which statement is the grander statement.
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.
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.