What’s the intention of saying אמן יהא שמיה רבא?
Now, we have to first realize what the shaliach tzibbur said before this in order to know what that amen is answering. The shaliach tzibbur is saying, יתגדל ויתקדש שמיה רבא – “May His great Name be exalted and sanctified.” Why does he say that? What’s the purpose?
Because that’s the reason we are assembled together in shul. We come together to give honor to Hashem; to demonstrate our loyalty to Him and our gratitude to Him. That’s what we come together for.
And so, when he says יתגדל ויתקדש שמיה רבא – May His great Name be exalted and sanctified, we answer אמן יהא שמיה רבא מבורך – Let His great Name be blessed forever and ever and ever! It means this: “We agree with you! We wholeheartedly advocate this procedure of coming together and praising Hashem. But we’re not satisfied merely with this occasion. לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא – We want it to continue forever and ever! Which means we want that our children and our children’s children should continue to follow in our footsteps and they should congregate in synagogues and even in their homes and always praise Hashem forever and ever. That’s what we’re saying. We’re not satisfied merely with now. לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא – Forever and ever. It’s a tefillah.
But it’s not only a tefillah, a prayer for the future. It’s also a declaration of resolve: “We intend to see this carried out!” So יהא שמיה רבא means, we’re going to support yeshivos. We’re going to build Beth Jacob schools in order that His great name should be blessed forever. Beth Jacob means girls are willing to have babies. Before Beth Jacob came along, the girls didn’t want to have any babies. Beth Jacob means girls who have ten children.
Do you know what they’re doing for us? They’re saving the Jewish nation! All around us Jews are destroying themselves. They’re committing national suicide. Everybody’s going underground and getting lost but the Beth Jacob girls started the great movement initiated by the Rebbetzin Kaplan in America who brought it over from Europe, an ideal of being a successful mother, an idealistic Jewish mother; they founded these schools and now girls are having babies.
And they’re married to bnei Torah; there are frum girls everywhere! Big families! You see them pushing a baby carriage, two inside the carriage and four more holding on to the carriage, walking along with them. That’s an inspiration! We should heap blessings on them as they pass by! They deserve all good things in the world, these devoted women. It means a lot of work but they’re working for the future of our people. That’s יהא שמיה רבא – she’s saying יהא שמיה רבא every minute! You know what it means to have to wash so many diapers! To have to wash so many dishes! It’s constant work. She’s saying יהא שמיה רבא.
And the loyal husband who is working all day long to support such a family; sometimes he takes two jobs. He’s also saying, יהא שמיה רבא. That’s what we mean with יהא שמיה רבא. We want to have generations and generations.
And all those Jews who work for yeshivos, people who are worried about meeting the payrolls of the yeshivos, people who come to the Board of Directors meetings and say, “How can we help the yeshiva continue, maybe even expand?” People who have founded yeshivas, idealists who founded Beth Jacob schools – there’s a lot of work in it. All these people are all saying יהא שמיה רבא.
Also when a Jew is training himself for a career of praising Hashem, when a Jew is learning Torah and he’s understanding his obligations to praise Hashem, that’s all יהא שמיה רבא. And therefore every form of service of Hashem is being expressed when we say the words of יהא שמיה רבא.
So again, first of all it’s a prayer that this should go on forever – His Name should be blessed forever and ever. Secondly, it is a declaration that this is what we are going to do; we’re going to see to it that we carry it out in our lives. And the third is that it’s a prophecy. We are now foretelling the future. This will continue forever. There will always be a Jewish nation forever. This nation and that nation are bound to go under eventually. The most important and powerful peoples eventually will go lost, but a nation that says יהא שמיה רבא will continue to say it forever.
So we have three things; I’m repeating them now. The first is, it’s a prayer. Secondly, it’s a declaration that this is what we’re going to do, and thirdly, it’s a prophecy that it’s going to continue forever.
TAPE # 520 (September 1984)