Dedication: Refuah Shelema of Shlomo Yisroel Ben SarahWe know that a Jew is obligated to answer “Amein” when he or she is in the presence of hearing a blessing. One might think that the greater deed is the initiation of the blessing itself; but Chazal tell us that it’s actually the declaration of the word “Amein” that is the greater deed! Initiating a blessing is an implication of feeling a connection. Answering “Amein” is a declaration of pure loyalty – regardless of feeling the spiritual connection – and this Chazal say, is a greater act of G-dly service and love.
The Gemara tells us, that when a person makes a blessing, a listener present is obligated to say Amein. It goes a step further and teaches, that the one who responds “Amein” has performed a greater deed. Isn’t this a curious thing? How can it be that the one who just says “Amein” did something greater than the one who initiates the Brachah? It would seem intuitive to deduce the opposite. What’s the deeper explanation?
The Maharal of Prague explains it like this:
The person who is making the initial blessing, is supposed to feel the emotional connection and spiritual awareness of Hashem being present. He feels this feeling, and then makes a Brachah. So it’s a natural process of a spiritual awakening.
But the listener—he or she is not necessarily experiencing that feeling. However, he or she still responds “Amein”. This declaration is as if to say “I may not be feeling this connection, but I believe in it”. So the Maharal explains, that really, the one who says “Amein” is doing a deed that is considered greater. It’s one thing to praise G-d when you feel the connection, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to praise G-d when you don’t necessarily share in that feeling. And we even learn the trait of loyalty from the word Amein itself – as it’s an acronym for “Kayl Melech Ne’eman”.
We have to draw strength from this statement of Chazal. We’d all love to always be the one to make the Brachah so to speak; the one to have the connection. But it’s a stronger ability to be able to say “Amein” even when we don’t.
Hashem should help us experience the connection always, but even if we don’t, we should have the strength to declare “Amein” with a whole heart. May we merit the coming of the Moshiach speedily in our days, AMEIN!