Hashem pokei’ach ivrim, Hashem zokeif k’fufim, Hashem oheiv tzadikim
Hashem gives sight to the blind, Hashem straightens the bent, Hashem loves tzadikim.
Of the three clauses in this pasuk, the first two are the same as two of the brachos in our Birchos HaShachar. This segment will focus on the third clause.
At first, this last clause of “Hashem loves tzadikim” is perplexing. We know that Hashem loves His entire nation of klal Yisrael, not just “tzadikim.” Perhaps this is why the Radak in his commentary explains that tzadikim here, in fact, refers to all of B’nei Yisrael, who are the righteous (tzadikim) amongst all of the nations.
The Vilna Gaon quotes the Gemara in Chulin 91b, which states that klal Yisrael is more beloved to Hashem than the mal’achei ha’shareis, the heavenly angels.
The Gaon states that when we say “v’keiravtanu l’Shimcha ha’gadol” in the brachah of Ahavah Rabah in the morning, we mean that Hashem has brought us closer to Him than the mal’achim.
The conclusion of that brachah is in the present tense, teaching us that Hashem is choosing us constantly. Not only has He chosen us despite our unworthiness, but He constantly and continuously chooses us with love, even while we are unworthy.
Each morning, we recite the Birchos HaTorah, the first of which contains the phrase, “that He selected us from all the nations.” Imagine how you would feel if the wisest, most powerful, kindest, most compassionate, most generous, and wealthiest person in the world chose you as his adopted son or daughter; if he treats you and considers you as an only child; if he tells you that he will take care of you and your descendants for eternity, and he is involved in every aspect of your life; if he gives you a special phone number, which only you have, and he tells you that you can call him 24/7. This is in essence the privileged relationship we have with Hashem.
The Anshei K’neses HaG’dolah, who formulated the Birchos HaTorah and the brachah of Ahavah Rabah with prophecy, wanted us to remember each and every day of our lives that today Hashem is choosing us with love. He loves us eternally (“Ahavas Olam”) and abundantly (“Ahavah Rabah”).
It is important to note that the brachah before reciting Sh’ma – both in the morning and in the evening – begins and ends with a proclamation of Hashem’s great love for us. HaRav Avigdor Miller would say that the phrase “Hashem loves Yisrael” is mentioned no less than 165 times in Tanach.
Why do we need so many reminders of Hashem’s love for us?
A doctor once asked the Divrei Chaim of Tzanz what his occupation was. He responded, “I build bridges.” The doctor, looking at the great tzadik, understood that he could not be involved in building real bridges. The Tzanzer Rav explained: My life is devoted to building the bridges between my mind and my heart.
We all know so many truths in our minds, and yet we don’t act based on those truths, because we have not worked hard enough to cement them in our hearts. Hashem provides us with these multiple reminders of His great love for us every day, because He wants to drive this message deeply into our hearts. When we say these words expressing Hashem’s love for us each morning and evening, let us pause and allow the sanctified words of prophecy and ruach ha’kodesh to penetrate deeper and deeper into our hearts.
All of the phrases in these p’sukim after the pasuk of “Fortunate is one whose help is Yaakov’s G-d, whose hope is in Hashem, his G-d” of our Hallelukah are there to strengthen our bitachon. Hashem is constantly opening our eyes, straightening the bent, and loving B’nei Yisrael, the tzadikim amongst the nations.
Knowing, not just in our minds, but deep in our hearts, how much Hashem loves us, is crucial to our lives in so many ways. It is also one of the most important ingredients of bitachon. When we truly feel in our hearts and with every fiber of our being that Hashem loves us more than any human does, and that He loves us more than He loves the mal’achim, then we will be able to trust and rely on Him during the most difficult and painful times of our lives. May we merit to truly feel His love, and may we feel the sweetness of all the kindness He is providing every moment of our lives.
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