So, I have this amazing, powerful story to tell you! But first, I must ask you something. Do you always say, “Amen” after you hear a prayer? What about after receiving a blessing for something that you really want, like marriage, children and great livelihood? When you say “Amen,”do you do so with enthusiasm and really, really mean it? I obviously can’t hear your answers, so I don’t know why I’m writing this in question form.
What I do know, is that I had the most incredible experience with the word “Amen,” and I’m so excited to share it with you!
It all started a few years after moving to Israel. I attended a shiur where the rabbi highlighted the power of “Amen.” He told us about a woman who used to go to synagogue every day. She always kept silent during all of the prayers and no one ever saw her with a siddur in her hands. However, after every blessing was said, she would use all of her energy to say “Amen” out loud, with the utmost passion and enthusiasm.
The rabbi concluded by noting something in particular; even though she didn’t say the blessings herself, by saying “Amen,” it was as if she had done so. Ever since learning this, I began saying “Amen” a lot, whether it be after a prayer, blessing, or something I was simply happy to hear. I might’ve taken it a bit too far on a few occasions.
A few weeks after learning about the power of “Amen,” I began dating an Israeli of Sephardi heritage. Amen! I used to refer to him as “Cottage Boy,” because it always sounded funny whenever he would say, “Cottage Cheese.”
Cottage Boy and I were in the beginning of our relationship when Passover came. He invited me over for a dinner date during Chol HaMoed. Apparently, he wasn’t aware that I was somewhat of a vegetarian with Ashkenazi customs, because the meal consisted of steak with rice and corn. So, I ate a bag of potato chips. Family size. Amen!
A few months after that Passover, Cottage Boy and I sat together in his kitchen eating toast with cottage cheese. Realizing how well the crisp, hot toast complimented the smooth, cold cottage cheese, I thought about how well my boyfriend and I also complimented each other. Amen! With that incredible revelation, I felt as if I had the perfect moment to find out how long he wanted to wait to get married. I didn’t want to be too forward by asking him directly, so I came up with something clever. Remember how I don’t eat kitniot (legumes, rice, corn, etc.) on Passover? Well, he and I both knew that by marrying him, I would change that custom. So, the following discussion ensued:
Me: “I have a question for you, but I don’t want you to feel any pressure.”
Cottage Boy: (Rolls his eyes; something he did often when I would speak) “What?”
Me: (Deep breath) “Will I be eating kitniot next Passover?”
Cottage Boy: “Bezrat Hashem!”
Me: (With the utmost passion and enthusiasm) “AMEN!”
We broke up a few months after that conversation, but …
It was already the following Passover, and I was in a new relationship with an amazing guy. Amen! During Chol HoMoed, he took me on a picnic date, so I’ll refer to him as “Picnic Boy.”
After spreading out his blanket onto the slightly damp grass, Picnic Boy invited me to sit down. He then opened up his backpack and removed a huge container filled with homemade food that looked like Passover Style Moroccan Cigars. I brought potato chips (obviously). But let’s get back to the food he brought. It consisted of ten pieces of softened matzoh rolled into long tubes, stuffed with beef. Although I wasn’t a full-time vegetarian, I only ate meat when I craved it, and I wasn’t craving it at that moment. But, I couldn’t not eat it! After all, he was so thoughtful! Amen! So, I ate three of them. I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it made me feel. Sometimes, I think I’m more pleasant after I eat meat. Amen!
Soon after eating those Passover Style Moroccan Cigars, I remembered seeing something sprinkled on the matzoh part. This is what happened next:
Me: “Did those meat things have sesame seeds sprinkled on the Matzoh?”
Picnic Guy: “They did.”
Me: “Is sesame kitniot?
Picnic Guy: “Yes, it is.”
Me: “It worked! I ate kitniot this Pesach because of the power of “AMEN!”
In case you forgot, here is a piece of the the conversation I had a few months prior with my then-boyfriend, Cottage Boy.
Me: “I have a question, but I don’t want you to feel any pressure … Will I be eating kitniot by next Passover?
Cottage Boy: “Bezrat Hashem!”
Me: (with incredible passion and determination) “AMEN!”
There you have it. I did eat kitniot that following Passover. That’s the power of AMEN!
* I have since been more specific when asking questions, especially if I want to respond with, “Amen,” to the answer.