Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Understanding Tefilah: Baruch She’amar – 2

Rav Dovid Lessin

1. “Baruch oseh bereishit,” “Blessed [is He] Who maintains creation” – This phrase echoes the words we say in Birchot Kriat Shema, that “in His goodness, He renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation.”  Hashem not only created the world thousands of years ago, but He also continues to create the entire universe every second of every day.  Hashem is constantly involved in the present moment, seeing to it that we and everything around us have what is needed to continue our job of serving Him in this world.  He never takes His mind off of us, even for a moment.

2. “Baruch omer v’oseh,” “Blessed [is He] Who says and does.” – Why does Hashem require two steps of “saying” and “doing?”  To send us a message, that for Him, “amira”, speaking, creates a reality.  Hashem does not utter idle words – every word spoken is as good as an action done, as it says in Bereishit Rabbah 44:22, “Maamaro shel Hakadosh Baruch Hu maaseh hu.”  When we speak, do we treat our words as gold, or are our words sometimes empty, not followed up by what we say we intend to do?

3. “Baruch gozer u’mekayem,” “Blessed [is He] Who decrees and fulfills.” The Torah Temima explains the novelty in this phrase.  A flesh and blood king may issue a decree that cannot be fulfilled, such as when the subject suddenly falls ill or passes away.  But when Hashem issues a decree, it must, by definition, be fulfilled.  This means that a decree upon a particular people is also a promise that they will continue to exist as long as the decree has not yet been fulfilled.

The Klausenberger Rebbe offers a beautiful interpretation of this phrase.  He explains that when Hashem issues a harsh decree, “gozer”, He also sustains (“mekayem”) the person that was decreed upon and grants him strength to make it through.  Sometimes Hashem must show us a side of din that is hard for us to cope with, but He also wants us to succeed, and stands with us in support at every turn.

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