22 Sivan 5779 / Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | Torah Reading: Korach
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The Power of "Amen"    

The Power of "Amen"

The positive energy and unity that derive from celebrating one’s Hebrew birthday is very strong, so it is appropriate for the honoree to also bless others on that day…


I learned something very special about a month before my birthday. It concerned the word “Amen”, which means “I agree” When we say Amen to someone else’s prayer, we are validating the prayer by agreeing with it. What a great way to offer support and to demonstrate unity! And that’s not all. I learned two other awesome things: One is how to conduct an Amen birthday party, and the other is a lesson about Amen from the Chofetz Chaim:


The story goes that one day the Chofetz Chaim visited a synagogue and reported to the rabbi that he sensed that the sanctuary was filled with prayers. The rabbi was delighted, and thanked the Chofetz Chaim, who promptly responded something like this: “Rabbi, you don’t understand. This is not a good thing. The prayers of your congregation are not ascending. They are remaining within the confines of the sanctuary and not going up. The reason for this is the lack of enthusiasm and power when the congregants say ‘Amen’. They must say it with great alacrity and conviction so that their united voices propel the prayers heavenward.” Of course, the rabbi was surprised at what the Chofetz Chaim related to him, but he took it to heart and informed his congregation of the power of Amen. Then their prayers began to ascend on high.


I learned that when a woman invites her friends to a birthday celebration called an "Amen party", Hashem takes notice. There are certain guidelines and some planning involved, but little did I realize that my Amen party would produce completely unexpected miracles.


Briefly, each guest is given a plate of four foods and a cup of wine or grape juice. The proper blessing made over each item is said to encourage a particular healing energy when we pray for livelihood, health, a soul mate, peace in the home, children, or success in an endeavor, each corresponding to a specific food category. The guests write the names of those who need prayers under the headings. As each attendee takes her turn to recite one of the blessings over the food, we all respond “Amen”.


The positive energy and unity that derive from celebrating one’s Hebrew birthday and from the gathering itself is very strong, so it is appropriate for the honoree to also bless others on that day. My birthday happens to be Kislev 20, which, together with Kislev 19, is known as the New Year of Chassidus or Chag HaChagim, the Holiday of Holidays. It commemorates the publishing of the Tanya, the hidden secrets of the Torah as expounded  by the first Chabad rabbi, the Alter Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi. The month of Kislev has the Hebrew word lev in it, meaning the “heart”. Hashem desires our heartfelt connection to Him.


After I finished preparing for the evening Amen party, I listened to a class on the internet by Rabbi Zachariah Wallerstein. Although I thought of a few things I needed to do in preparation for the event, something prompted me to stay tuned until the very end when the rabbi said, “Oh, before I end this class, I want to inform you of what I learned from a kabbalist I met the other day. When it’s your birthday, be sure to read Psalm 2 because Hashem will bring what you wish for to fruition when you read this psalm. As a rabbi, I never knew that, but I tried it on my own birthday. I hope you do the same.”


I almost fell off the chair I was sitting on. What is the likelihood of such an announcement occurring at the end of a class? What if I had not watched it until the end? I would never have known this relevant piece of information. As I excitedly rushed up the stairs to read the psalm and to tell my husband, he nearly knocked me down as he was running down the stairs to tell me what just arrived in the mail. “How strange!” he said to me. “You know how you’ve been talking to Hashem all week? Well, apparently, Hashem wanted to acknowledge your communication to Him, because we got a refund check from the phone company in the amount of-------. Take a guess.”


I had no idea, so I guessed 26 cents, but I didn’t quite hit it. “Pretty close,” my husband responded. The amount was exactly $6.13. Was this a coincidence? For those of us who study with Rabbi Arush and Rabbi Brody, we know there is no such thing as an accident or a coincidence. After years of developing my spiritual awareness, I felt Hashem’s presence--- His communication by way of none other than a phone company. refund. What a sense of humor! .I kept a copy of that check to share this story with others and with my guests at my Amen party.


When we connect to Hashem from the heart, He provides a way to connect to us as well. Unlikely things like this happen when you least expect it. Hashem wants us to believe and trust in Him and to see Him as the compassionate, loving Father that He is. Above all, He wants our communication, which is the basis of all relationships. May we make Hashem proud by living a life of connection and emuna. and let us say, “AMEN!



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Lori is an educator and certified Life Optimization Coach in southern California. If you are interested in the template for having your own Amen Party on your birthday, simply e-mail her at thechaiway@gmail.com, and she will send it to you as an attachment.

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