Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Understanding Tefilah: Baruch She’amar – 4

Rav Dovid Lessin

1. “Baruch chai la’ad v’kayam l’netzach.” “Blessed [is He Who] lives forever and exists for eternity.”  Are these not the same thing?  The Mefarshim explain that living forever is a matter of time, whereas existing for eternity refers to Hashem’s quality of constancy.  Hashem never changes; He is and always will be our Father and our King, available at all times and in every place.  This truth can serve as an essential anchor in a person’s life, especially when many external and internal forces make life turbulent and confusing.  One can always “come back” to the sanctum of Hashem’s presence, which never changes, never wanes, and is always a resource of comfort and direction.

2. “Baruch podeh u’matzil.” “Blessed [is He Who] redeems and saves.”  The Vilna Ga’on explains that redemption refers to a state in which our oppressors release us from suffering willingly, whereas salvation refers to Hashem’s ability to overpower our enemies and bring us out from under their rule against their wishes.  Hashem has the ability to overcome any opposition, whether the tormentor is outside or inside ourselves.

3. “Baruch shmo.” “Blessed is His name.”  The Ramchal points out that while we cannot ever understand the essence of Hashem, we can understand the way in which He interacts with our world.  Rav Yerucham writes that this is what Hashem’s name is – something we can point to and relate to, even though the rest is beyond our comprehension.  This is the last description of Hashem in Baruch She’amar before we begin the actual bracha, and it summarizes all the others.

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