always answer amen (אמן) to a blessing

This story posted at Heichal HaNeginah brings tears to my eyes.

It also resonates with something I learned in the Noam Elimelech today on parashath Lech Lecha. (לך לך) God tells Avraham that (וֶהְיֵה, בְּרָכָה. וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר) "You will be a blessing, and I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I shall curse." He asks, why the change in the order, ie. why the chiastic structure?

The Noam Elimelech explains that the Tzaddik transforms himself into a reservoir of blessing, and when someone connects to the Tzaddik and accepts his words, confirms and agrees with them, then the blessing flows from the Tzaddik to this person. When someone denies the Tzaddik and confronts him, then he is without blessing. "I will bless" comes before "those who bless you" because the Tzaddik is already full of blessing, by connecting to the Tzaddik, they simply draw out the blessing with which they were already blessed. However, "those who curse you" comes before "I shall curse" because it isn't until they detach themselves from the Tzaddik that they will actively receive punishment.

(As mentioned in the story linked above, God wants to be a party of any relationship of giving and connection between people. When we disconnect from one another and create strife, HaShem removes his presence. The Tzaddik works to connect to HaShem through giving and kindness in order to become a channel of blessing through which the whole world is blessed.)

Then the rest of the world needs only to say "it should be so" (אמן) when the Tzaddik blesses them, and they have then "blessed" the Tzaddik and drawn down God's bracha.


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