Proud in the World to Come
…v’lo neivosh l’olam va’ed
…and may we not feel inner shame for all eternity.
The Chofetz Chaim explains that this phrase refers back to the three previous requests: that Hashem enlighten our eyes in Torah, attach our hearts to His mitzvos, and unify our hearts (with one unified purpose) to love and fear Him.
In this world, when we are embarrassed, the embarrassment reduces with the healing of time, and eventually can dissipate completely. However, in the eternal world, the embarrassment remains eternally as it was initially. If we have not done what we were capable of in learning Torah, performing mitzvos with enthusiasm and love, and unifying our hearts to love and fear Hashem, then that embarrassment will remain with us eternally. This does not mean that in the Olam HaEmes people will make fun of us. It is, rather, a self-contained embarrassment, a frustration, that we did not reach our full potential in this world, for which we would have reaped eternal reward in our eternal life.
If we perform our mitzvos without heart, we will create mal’achim without heart, and those mal’achim will have much less benefit for us when we arrive, after 120 years, in the eternal world. We will be embarrassed to have created mal’achim without a heart. We therefore ask Hashem to help us in all three of these crucial areas.
Excellent Returns for Trust
Ki v’sheim kod’sh’cha ha’gadol v’ha’nora batachnu, nagilah v’nism’chah biy’shuasecha
Because we have trusted in Your great and awesome holy Name, may we exult and rejoice in Your salvation.
Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains our phrase as part of our request to Hashem. Please grant us our spiritual requests, which we have specified, and don’t allow us to be embarrassed by falling short in our learning and living Torah, because we put our trust and complete reliance in You, Hashem.
Through bitachon, we can merit even that which we otherwise do not deserve; our requests are fulfilled because of our bitachon. At the end of Modim, we express this idea. The following is from the Tefilah Focus that we wrote on the end of Modim:
In what merit do we receive this rachamim and chesed? By definition, rachamim and chesed are even when not deserved. Our only merit is that “mei’olam kivinu lach (always have we put our hope in You).” We place all of our hope and reliance only in Hashem, even though we know that we are undeserving of His never-ending rachamim and chesed. Hashem is always there for those who trust and rely upon Him: “V’ha’botei’ach baShem, chesed y’sov’venu” (T’hilim 32:10) [Based on Sifsei Chaim – Midos/Avodas Hashem 1, Vaad 17 of “Bitachon”]
When we rely on others such as the boss, the wealthy or powerful man, etc., we will be embarrassed. However, when we rely completely on Hashem, we will not be embarrassed. In fact, when we have bitachon, we will rejoice and be happy in Hashem’s salvation: “nagilah v’nism’chah biy’shuasecha.”
Appreciating Every Salvation
nagilah v’nism’chah biy’shuasecha
…may we exult and rejoice in Your salvation.
We ask Hashem that, not only should we not be embarrassed, but we should merit to exult (feel elation) and rejoice in His salvation.
This phrase continues where we left off. We are saying to Hashem: As a result of our bitachon, may we now feel elated and b’simchah over our future ultimate salvation through Mashiach. HaRav Miller points out that “y’shuah (salvation)” also refers to the spiritual gifts that Hashem grants us each and every day. The gifts he mentions specifically are the privileges of [being able to speak with Hashem through] tefilah, of [Hashem speaking to us through] our learning Torah, and of performing His mitzvos.
He explains: Simchah is recognizing what Hashem has gifted to us, rejoicing in the pleasure of it, and utilizing it.
There was once a man who lived in poverty. One day, he got onto a train in New York and sat down. Next to him was another man who looked like a rav. They began talking. It turned out that the rav had been asked by a man during the Holocaust to find his son if he didn’t make it, and to give him the information for a Swiss bank account with a substantial sum of money in it. The rav had been searching for many years after the war and had never found the son. The man now sitting next to him on the train turned out to be the long-lost son for whom he had been searching all those years.
Was the son wealthy or poor all these years? Technically, he was wealthy because the money was his. However, in reality, he was poverty-stricken. He was not aware of the money all those years and had no benefit from it.
Hashem grants us many gifts, privileges, and opportunities. If we don’t recognize them, don’t take pleasure in them, and don’t utilize them, we are indeed living in “poverty.” But when we do recognize, take pleasure in, and use the gifts that Hashem has given to each of us, we are wealthy beyond our imagination, both in this world and in the eternal world to come.
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