[Avodah] Machnisei Rachamim redux

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Sep 2 10:02:12 PDT 2021

I have two new data points about the issue of Makhnisei Rachamim and
whether it crosses the line into praying to middlemen.

1- It's not "just" the Gra and R Chaim Volozhiner:

The Maharal is also bothered by the problem, and recommends tweaking
the nusach. (Nesiva haAvodah ch. 12)

I get that. The piyut dates back at least to R Amram Gaon. The route
of totally omitting it is difficult.

The Chasam Sofer said he would spend a long time on Nefilas Aparyim so
that he was busy during the piyut. (OC #166)

2- Why assume we are referring to mal'achim?

The Be'er Yaaqov (a commentary on Selichos by R Chaim Tzevi Font)
explains the following:

Avraham was "av rachaman", Yitzchaq was "yatza ... lacuach basedeh",
Yaaqov -- "haqol qol Yaaqov", and David writes about his own crying,
"sim'ah dim'asi benodekha".

They are the Makhnisei Rachamim, Makhnisei Tefillah, Makhnisei Tze'aqah
and Makhnisei Dim'ah, respectively.

Although it makes me wonder: Why then "makhnisei" and not "makhnis"?

While the Gra would still have a problem making requests of meisim,
asking the deceased for a berakhah is far more commonly accepted than
turning to angels as though they have wills of their own.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The greatest discovery of all time is that
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   a person can change their future
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