Rabbi Yehuda interpreted the verse "…for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed" (Samuel I 2:30). A person who doesn't know how to honor the name of their Creator and doesn't know the proper thoughts to have in mind when saying "Amen", shall be lightly esteemed. This is as we have learned - that the person who answers "Amen" is greater than the one who says the blessing.

The proper intention in saying "Amen" is to unite the infinitely merciful name Havayah with the aspect of Malchut - Ado-nai, as we have explained in parashat Shoftim. The person pronouncing the blessing is using the name Ado-nai, whereas the person answering "Amen" is unifying the infinite aspect of the Creator with the aspect of Malchut. The person answering "Amen" thus unites two names of G‑d, as opposed to the one name used by the person blessing. Demonstrating this phenomenon, the word "amen" has the numerical value of 91, the same as that of the divine names Havayah and Ado-nai together.

Answering "Amen" draws down blessings from the spiritual wellspring….

This was as we learned from Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, namely that answering "Amen" draws down blessings from the spiritual wellspring to the King and from there to the Queen.

This causes a beneficial influx from the unified world of Abba and Imma to Zeir Anpin, the spiritual mirror above the physical world, and from there to this physical world.

We also learned in the book of Rabbi Elazar's Secrets of the Combinations of Letters, that the meditative path of the word "Amen" is reflected in the letters of the word themselves. Thus one draws the spiritual abundance from the alef of the word "Amen" to the mem and from the mem to the nun.

Alef represents unity, mem represents Imma/Bina and nun represents Zeir Anpin.

…how great is the good that suffuses all the worlds and how great is the joy that permeates everywhere!

When the blessing reaches the nun [this spiritual influx] is drawn out and issue forth in both the spiritual and physical worlds and spread throughout all the worlds. A voice then issues forth and announces, "Drink from the elixir of blessings that this named person, a servant of the Holy King has caused to flow." When Israel below carefully listen to prayer leader's blessings in order to answer "Amen" afterwards with the proper meditation and are careful to concentrate their hearts as required, how many are the gates of blessing that open for them above and how many blessings are drawn down to them below! How great is the good that suffuses all the worlds and how great is the joy that permeates everywhere!

What is the reward for Israel that causes all this? They have a reward in both this physical world and in the spiritual world. Their reward in This World is that at the time when the ones who hate them are crushing them and causing them misery, and Israel prays to their Creator, a voice issues forth, declaring in all the worlds, "Open the gates for the entrance of the saintly people who keep their faith [in Hebrew, 'emunim']" (Isaiah 26:2). Don't interpret the word "faith" as "emunim" but as "amenim" - meaning "the ones who say 'Amen'". Thus, the command to open the gates is a reflection of the fact that Israel opens the gates of blessings. Now the gates of prayer are opened for them as a reward, and they are saved from those who want to crush them - and that is their reward in This World.


Zohar, parashat Bahalotecha, Vayelech, p. 285b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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