Keil baruch g’dol dei’ah…
The blessed G-d, Who is great in knowledge,…
We say the word “baruch” well over 100 times daily. Over the course of our lives, we are likely, b’ezras Hashem, to say it well over three million times. What does it mean and what do we think about when we say this word? “Baruch” in many siddurim is translated as “blessed.” In a typical brachah, we say, “Baruch Atah Hashem.” While there are explanations as to what “You are blessed, Hashem” may mean, we will be using a different understanding, as explained by the Zohar HaKadosh and a number of Rishonim and Acharonim (Rabbeinu Bachya, Rashba, Reishis Chochmah, and more). Reishis Chochmah, using the Zohar HaKadosh, uses the letters of the word “baruch” to spell out “Rosh u’M’kor kol ha’brachos (Hashem is the head and source of all blessings).”
Each time we say the words “Baruch Atah Hashem,” it is a priceless opportunity to feel gratitude and love for Hashem as we mindfully give Him heartfelt thanks for the multitude of constant blessings in our lives, as well as the current blessing of whatever food we are eating, or healthy bodily functions we have just completed, or whatever mitzvah we are being granted the privilege of performing. Making a brachah is an opportunity to perform an array of mitzvos aside from the actual mitzvah to recite 100 brachos. Examples include remembering Hashem’s lovingkindness, loving Hashem, fear (awareness) of Hashem, simchah, remembering Hashem, not forgetting Hashem, emunah, and more.
Everything that Hashem does is for our ultimate benefit. In our phrase of “g’dol dei’ah,” we are praising Hashem in that He is great in knowledge. Since He, and only He, has full knowledge and clarity, we are saying that He is the “baruch,” the Source of all blessing, and delivers blessing with full knowledge of what is truly best for the world and for us. In the words of HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l, “He is perfect in knowledge ... and He therefore does everything in the best possible manner for the happiness and benefit of man.” As we have mentioned before, this ultimate benefit may be only for our eternal world, and it may feel very painful down here. Many times, we are able to understand, at some point after the pain, how the pain benefited us, because we became better people and came closer to Hashem through the pain. Many times, we never understand what happened or how we benefited, but we trust that Hashem, Who has perfect knowledge, has given us precisely what is truly best for us.
An example for us as a nation was the intensifying of the pain towards the end of our exile in Mitzrayim, which wound up shortening the duration of our slavery and caused us to be redeemed after only 210 years instead of 400. As individuals, it is likely we can look back at our lives and identify times of pain and how some time later, at times only years later, we were able to reflect about the past and say, “Thank You, Hashem, for the growth I experienced as a result of the pain. I would never have been able to get where I am without it.”
May we, klal Yisrael, be able to soon look back and say, “Thank You, Hashem, for hastening our ultimate redemption as we greet Mashiach speedily in our days, b’ezras Hashem.
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You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.