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By: SFW Students & Alumna
Ilana Yablonovich (SFW 08)
A week after the shooting at Yehivat Mercaz Harav, the Shaalvim for Women students are still struggling to make sense of the grisly tragedy. To conclude a week of Tehilim, inspirational speakers, and Limud Torah, our Eim Bayit, Chani Kupinsky, organized a beautiful, yet unconventional gathering to recap the past week and daven for a more peaceful future.
Having never heard of a Seudat Amen, most girls wore confused looks on their faces as they entered the classroom. Always excited to see a table set with food, the tone at the onset of the seuda was light and controlled. The origin of a Seudat Amen and its role in Judaism was soon made clear to the students of SFW.
Hoping to end the period where an average of one hundred Jews died each day, King David launched an event that has remained a Jewish custom for thousands of years. Through Ruach HaKodesh, King David understood that Jews were dying because they weren’t blessing Hashem in the proper manner. Without delay, King David gathered all of the elders and wise men (chachamim) of the time and decreed that one hundred brachot should be said on all five types of food (minim), each for a different segula:
Mezonot - Parnasa
Gefen - Zugot
Etz - Yeladim
Adama - Refuah
Shehakol - Hakol Mikol Kol
After each bracha uttered, every member of the Seuda was makpid to reply “Amen” with extra concentration.
Nowadays, much emphasis is placed on Tefilah, brachot, Limud Torah, etc. As a result, we have unfortunately neglected to understand the meaning of one of the most frequently used terms in prayer – “Amen.” Rooted in the word “emunah” (lit. faith), the word “Amen” literally means “I believe this is so.” By saying this, we are essentially condensing the meaning of the bracha into one word, which also serves as an abbreviation for the phrase "àì îìê ðàîï" – “G-d, Trustworthy King.” Not only are we repeating the bracha when saying “Amen,” we are also fulfilling a mitzvah by reaffirming our belief in Hashem.
The Gemarah in Mesechet Megilah 53: states: “A person who answers ‘Amen’ has an even greater mitzvah than the person who recited the bracha.” Why is that so? The person saying “Amen” hasn’t done any further action. Why does he merit an extra reward? The answer is simple. Brachot said on food, Tefilah, etc. all have one common product – personal gain. After the bracha, we eat, ask Hashem for our needs, praise Him, ect. At the end of the day, we are benefiting ourselves as well. When answering “Amen” to someone else’s bracha, however, it is done subconsciously and without any underlying motive. There is no determined intent of personal gain.
After understanding the power of the Seuda, the girls created an atmosphere of intense kavanah and meditation. Before reciting the bracha of adama (the bracha that has a segula for healing refuah), each girl recited the name of a choleh and the choleh’s ailment and situation. The achdut apparent within our Klal of sixty-eight girls was unbelievable.
Though we do not have the Ruach Hakodesh to understand the events of last Thursday night, we hope that our Seudat Amen will serve as a metaken of the cause, in addition to ending this challenging time in Klal Yisrael.