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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Vayechi

Boruch She'amar

"Abba, You have gotten me so excited about Pisukei DiZimra, that I can't wait to begin learning about it. Can we begin now with Boruch She'amar?"

"With pleasure, Avi. Boruch She'amar is the brocho we say before Pisukei DiZimra. It is a brocho which contains ten blessings. The word 'boruch' is mentioned thirteen times. There are eleven 'boruchs' before the normal 'sheim u'malchus' beginning of a standard brocho. Based on this, I have three questions for you Avi. Firstly, why does Pisukei DiZimra need a blessing beforehand? Additionally, what is the source and meaning of the unusual nusach (wording) of Boruch She'amar?"

"Abba, in your explanation of Pisukei DiZimra you mentioned sources in the Gemora. Do they say anything about a blessing?"

"Excellent, Avi! The Bach's commentary on the Tur (Orach Chaim 51) cites two Gemorasii Shabbos 118b, Brochos 4b which speak of the great sechar (reward) awaiting one who says these mizmorim. However, they cite no source of an obligation to say them. We only see this in a third Gemoraiii Brochos 32a which darshens the requirement from a verse.iiii Devarim 3:24-25 Since the Torah itself stipulates praising Hashem before praying to Him, our Sages ruled that we must make a blessing on it (Tur). That blessing is Boruch She'amar. Its unique nusach was fixed by the Anshei Kineses HaGedola from a script that fell from heaven."iiv Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chaim 51:2) in the name of the Tola'as Yaakov

"That is fascinating, Abba."

"Yes, Avi. The Avudraham relates that the ten blessings of Boruch She'amar hint to the ten maamaros (statements) with which the world was created. In Pisukei DiZimra we are recounting praises of the Almighty, therefore, we begin with the creation of the universe. These ten blessings mention the word 'boruch' thirteen times. Each 'boruch' corresponds to one of Hashem's thirteen middos of rachamim (mercy); in order to bring blessing from each and every middah.vv Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim 51:2) Additionally, there are thirteen different types of praise in Pisukei DiZimra.vvi Hodu, Mizmor LiSoda, Yehi Kovod, Ashrei, Mizmorim 146-150, Boruch Hashem Li'Olam, Vayevarech Dovid, U'Krose, and Shiras HaYom Each 'boruch' also relates to a different praise."5

"What a wonderful blessing, Abba! Can we go through it step by step?"

"It is my privilege to teach such an eager learner, Avi. 'Blessed is He who spoke and the world came into being.' Hashem created the world with speech alone. No other work of any sort was required. The Medrash (Bereshis Rabba 12:9) relates that the world was created with the letter 'heh'. Why? Because it is the easiest letter to pronounce, requiring almost no effort. So too, the Creator brought the world into being with the no exertion whatsoever.vvii Avudraham 'Blessed is He' (forever). 'Blessed is He Who speaks and does.' He is always sustaining the world with speech and deeds. Human beings generally fall into two categories - one who speaks about things but does not do them, and one who gets things done without talking about them. The Almighty's ways are different. He speaks and carries out what He said. Even His words are deeds! 'Blessed is He who decrees and fulfills.' When a harsh gezayra (decree) is made on Klal Yisrael based upon our deeds, it must be fulfilled. However, if we do teshuva, it can be fulfilled in a pleasant way. We may receive a gezayra of very little rain. However, if we do teshuva, that small amount can fall in precisely the proper time and place, and be sufficient to water our crops and provide enough food. In this way our teshuva is accepted and the gezayra is fulfilled. Conversely, we may merit a good gezayra of abundant rain. However, we may sin and the rain will subsequently turn into a destructive flood."vviii Siddur Iyun HaTefillah

"This is beautiful, Abba."

"Let's continue, Avi. 'Blessed is He who has mercy on the earth, blessed is He who has mercy on the creatures.' His hashgacha (supervision) over the world is with eternal mercy. He personally supervises the life of every living thing. No one can claim that Hashem is not watching him and his deeds. 'Blessed is He Who gives good reward to those who fear Him.' Sometimes we see righteous people suffering. Have no doubt that they will receive good reward for their righteous deeds in Olam Habo. That is the place of the ultimate true reward and punishment.7 'Blessed is He Who lives forever and endures eternally.' He exists above the dimension of time. 'Blessed is He Who redeems and rescues.' He redeems those in trouble and rescues others by averting the onset of suffering.iix Siddur Kavannas HaLev

'Blesses is His Name!' One gains a name as a result of his deeds. One who consistently performs well earns a good name. The Almighty's Name is blessed! His deeds are the ultimate good. This completes the eleven 'boruchs' of the first section of Boruch She'amar. Now we move on to the second part of the blessing."

"I am with you, Abba."

"We bless and proclaim Hashem the King of the world, as in other blessings, and then call Him our merciful Father. He is extolled in the mouth of His people, praised and glorified by the tongue of his devout ones and servants. With the psalms of Dovid Your servant, we shall laud Him, our G-d, with praises and songs. We exalt, praise, glorify Him, mention His Name and proclaim His reign as our King; our G-d. He is the Unique One; the One Who gives life to the universe. He is the King Whose great Name is eternally praised and glorified. Blessed is He, Hashem, Who is lauded with praises."

"Boruch She'amar is simply magnificent, Abba!"

"That is an accurate description, Avi. Based on this, the Tur instructs us to say it pleasantly with a melody, for it is a beautiful song; desired in the upper worlds."

"We should all succeed."


Kinderlach . . .

Boruch She'amar begins our daily morning praises of Hashem. This beautiful song contains almost every possible description of the exaltedness of the Almighty and His deeds. We begin by extolling the creation of the universe with ten blessings which correspond to the ten maamaros110 with which the world was created. We utter the word 'boruch' thirteen times to invoke blessing from each middah of rachamim. He creates effortlessly, sustains, fulfills His decrees, mercifully supervises, rewards, exists eternally, and redeems. Therefore we crown and glorify Him with every possible type of praise. Say this blessing pleasantly and with a melody, Kinderlach, as the Tur instructs, for it is a beautiful song; desired in the upper worlds. May this and all of your tefillos be accepted favorably.

i Shabbos 118b, Brochos 4b
ii Brochos 32a
iii Devarim 3:24-25
iv Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chaim 51:2) in the name of the Tola'as Yaakov
v Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim 51:2)
vi Hodu, Mizmor LiSoda, Yehi Kovod, Ashrei, Mizmorim 146-150, Boruch Hashem Li'Olam, Vayevarech Dovid, U'Krose, and Shiras HaYom
vii Avudraham
viii Siddur Iyun HaTefillah
ix Siddur Kavannas HaLev

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