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Bless and be Blessed
"Abba, we are in the midst of learning about the Amidah prayer. I noticed that the tefillah is all blessings - one after another after another."
"That is a very astute observation, Avi. Did you ever wonder why Hashem needs blessings? What is He lacking that requires our blessing? He is all- powerful; He owns and controls the entire universe and all of the upper worlds. He continually renews and creates all of the world's bounty from scratch. Contrast this with us. We have life's daily challenges that constantly require parnassa (livelihood), good health, assistance with educational matters, interpersonal relationships, and help in many other matters."
"It is a bit puzzling, Abba."
"Let us take a few moments to ponder this topic, Avi. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah number 430, Bircas HaMazone) has a fascinating discourse on the subject."
"Can you please share it with me, Abba?"
"With pleasure, Avi. When we say, the words of blessing, 'Boruch Atto Hashem', our intention is not to bless Hashem. What blessing can we add to the One who is lacking nothing? Since the words do not fit the simple explanation of blessing, we must search for their true meaning. This is a very worthwhile subject to delve into, for if we say these words without any comprehension whatsoever, we will waste hours of time every day. The Sefer HaChinuch admits that his seichel cannot understand even a drop in the ocean of the depth of the subject. These blessings contain strong, wonderful, deep principles. Notwithstanding this, he hopes to achieve a bit of insight into the brochos."
"I hope to understand his words, Abba."
"Let us try Avi. The first thing that we must remember is that Hashem is the epitome of goodness, and that His goodness is perfect. Secondly, we must know that one aspect of this perfection is His desire to shower blessings upon us. Goodness is giving to others. In fact, His reason for creating the world was to bestow goodness upon His creations. The next step is to realize that we must be fit to receive His blessings. How? By way of the brochos. Ezra and his Beis Din composed the words of the brochos, which reiterate the fact that Hashem is the One Who bestows all blessing upon the world. When we arouse this thought in our hearts and minds, we appreciate His perfect goodness. This appreciation is the merit that we need to receive the Almighty's abundant blessings."
"That is fascinating, Abba, and not so difficult to understand."
"Boruch Hashem, Avi. Now, take a close look at the first words of blessing, 'Boruch Atto Hashem.' 'I appreciate that You, Hashem, contain all of the goodness and blessing in the universe.' The word 'yisborach' is a request. 'May it be Your will that all of mankind attribute brocho to You, and feel gratitude to You. By way of this, Your blessings will rest upon the world. This will fulfill Your ultimate ratzon (desire) for creating the world, which was to do good for others.'"
"I appreciate your sharing this insight with me, Abba."
"May it help you say your brochos with kavannah and thereby merit endless blessings form the Holy One, Blessed be He."
Kinderlach . . .
Who makes the sun shine? Who brings the fresh air, rain, and delicious food? Who gives health, wealth, intelligence, and children? Who gives the Torah, the mitzvos, and the rewards in this world and the next? Hashem. He is the ultimate good, and the source of all blessing. He wants to continue to bestow good upon us. However, we must be fit to receive His blessings. How? By realizing and appreciating that He is the source of all brocho. The brochos that we say enable us to do this. When you say your brochos, kinderlach, fill your hearts with appreciation of the endless tovos that the Almighty does for you. Bless Him, and you will be blessed.
The Provider 380 words (2003)
"Mazel tov, we just heard the good news. What is it, a boy or girl?"
"Well, actually . . . both."
"Twins? Wonderful! A double blessing."
"Well, not exactly."
"What do you mean?"
"We had more than twins."
"Ummm . . ."
"We had six babies."
"Six babies. Wow! What a bracha."
"You sound surprised. Don't you realize that everyone is having six babies at one time here in Mitzraim?"
"Not only that, Boruch Hashem there are no childless couples."
"Are your babies okay? Six births at once can be pretty high-risk."
"They are all strong and healthy. Hashem has given the Jewish people a big bracha."
"What about feeding them? Six children eat a lot of food. Do you have enough parnassa (income) to support them?"
"Hashem's berachos are complete. In addition to blessing Jewish families with multiple births, He has blessed us with the means to support them."
"I see that the Jewish people are multiplying and growing very quickly here in Mitzraim, Boruch Hashem."
Kinderlach . . .
Imagine that you see a lot of people standing in a long line. What are they waiting for? At the head of the line is an emissary of the finance minister. When you reach him, you present him with a list of all the things you want. He takes the list, and in a few days you receive a package containing all of the items in your list. Isn't that wonderful? Another finance minister works even more efficiently. Just mail or fax your list to him, and you receive a response within 24 hours. No waiting in line. We all know who is the Greatest Provider of all. Hashem. He gives us each a private audience when we pray to Him. What verse to we say in the middle of the "Ashrei" prayer? "You open Your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing" (Tehillim 145:16). Hashem provides everything for all of His creatures - grass for the cow to eat, water for the fish, sunlight for the plants, seeds for the chickens, and bread for man. Just as He provided for the six babies in Mitzraim. When we pray to Him kinderlach, let us thank Him for satisfying all of our desires.
Kinder Torah Copyright 2011 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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