This week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, tells us that “When I call out Hashem’s name, ascribe greatness to our G-d.” Rashi explains that “… When I call out and make mention of Hashem’s name, you shall ascribe greatness to Him, and bless His name. From here, our Rabbis derived that (one who hears a blessing) should respond, ‘Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom (forever and ever)!” in the Holy Temple.”
The Sifri, here, has a different take on this verse. “How do we know that one must respond ‘Omain’ to every Berochoh? Because our Parshah says, ‘ascribe greatness to our G-d.’”
As we have discussed many times, Rashi limits himself to explaining the simple meaning of each verse, i.e., Peshat. The Sifri, on the other hand, is a Midrash.
In this case, it seems to be the other way around. The Sifri explains that ascribing greatness to Hashem’s name is accomplished by answering “Omain” to a blessing, which appears to be the Torah’s simple meaning. For nearly two thousand years, we have not had a Temple. Each of us responds “Omain” upon hearing a Berochoh. Even during the time of the Bais Hamikdosh, we recited very few blessings in the Mikdash. This very clearly appears to be Peshat.
Contrast this with Rashi’s explanation. Rashi writes that “ascribing greatness to Him” refers to answering “Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom (forever and ever)!” in the Holy Temple. These words seem to have no connection whatsoever to Peshat.
The explanation is that this verse is answering an important question. Throughout the years of wandering, Moshe mentioned Hashem’s name to the Jews countless times. Why did he wait forty years to tell them that they “need to ascribe greatness to Him” when mentioning His name?
Therefore, Rashi explains that this refers to mentioning Hashem’s name in a way that did not occur earlier. On Moshe’s last day, the Jews were on the threshold of entering Israel. There we would build the Temple, where we will pronounce the name of G-d. We will then need to ascribe greatness to it.
May we learn from Rashi and the Sifri, to ascribe greatness to Hashem’s name under all circumstances.
May we all have a good, sweet year both in all spiritual and physical matters. The new year which we just began, should be sweet in a revealed manner. We should merit the ultimate blessing of Moshiach Now!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Hisvadu’yos 5742 Volume 1, Page 106
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Our Parshah, 32:3.
. Outside of the Bais Hamikdosh, we respond “Omain” when hearing a Berochoh.