Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Twelfth Blessing: Heretics

“And for slanderers let there be no hope; and may all evil perish in an instant; and may all Your enemies be cut down speedily. May You speedily uproot, smash, cast down and humble the wanton sinners – speedily in our days. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who breaks enemies and humbles wanton sinners.”

The twelfth blessing of Shemoneh Esrei asks Hashem to destroy heretics. It follows the previous blessing, for after a Torah government is restored, the time will come when all heretics, who deny and seek to destroy the Torah, will be put in their place (Megilla 17b). This blessing was not part of the original formulation of the Shemoneh Esrei, but was added by the Sages at a later time.

The Talmud tells us that when Rabbi Meir prayed that the evil people should be destroyed, his wife Bruriah corrected him that it was preferable to ask Hashem to have them return to the right path. The Zohar writes that it is forbidden to ask Hashem to destroy evil people (Medrash Nelam, Vayera). In light of this, why are we permitted to recite this blessing?

In general, one ought to pray that evil people should return to Hashem, and not be killed. However, the Torah makes an exception for heretics, whose goal in life is to trivialize, deny and eradicate the Torah. It is to these individuals whom we refer when we ask, “May all evil perish in an instant.” With regards to other evil people, the halacha upholds Bruriah’s opinion, and one should definitely pray that they return to Hashem. Notwithstanding the general principle that, “Everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven,” we may pray that everyone will return to the right path. Our intention should be that the evil should not be tempted to engage in further sin, and that they should meet righteous individuals who may help them find fear of Heaven once more (Rav Moshe Feinstein, as cited in Responsa Rivavos Ephraim 3,591).


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

It's All About The Relationship!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Becoming and Adam Shalaim
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

The Healer Is On-Call
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

> An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Free at Last!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Rabbi Frand on Rosh HaShana
- 5769

ArtScroll

Influencing Others
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Today!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Boomerang
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

And Neither Would We!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Love Out of Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Q & A Regarding Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Judge Me Tender, Judge Me Sweet
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information