Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Baruch Hashem! - Does G-d Need Our Blessing?
Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 02:03:08 PM
Number of views: 2583
What is so important about declaring, "Boruch Hashem"? The Rambam writes that public prayer begins with the Chazan saying Kaddish and Borchu (Hilchot Tefillah 9). If you think about it, "Borchu et Hashem" is a summons by the Chazan for the congregation to say "Boruch Hashem". The Rishonim explain that the Chazan adds "Hamevorach…" so as to include himself in the declaration that G-d is Boruch (blessed). We answer with "Boruch Hashem Hamevorach L'Olam Vaed" to respond to the Chazan's call and to add to it. The essence of this statement is "Boruch Hashem".
 
What do we mean when we say, "Boruch Hashem"? The English translation is, "G-d is blessed". Why do we need to bless G-d?  Does G-d need our Beracha? The Rashba writes that the meaning of "Baruch Ata Hashem" is, "You, G-d, are the Source of ALL blessings. The Rashba explains, according to Kabbala, that the root of the word, BARUCH, is BRECHA, a pool or well, meaning that we are arousing G-d's wellsprings of blessings.
 
Rabbenu Bechaye (Devarim 9) elaborates on this idea and explains that by recognizing G-d as the Source of all goodness, we, so to speak, enable Him to bestow His blessings on the world.
 
Rabbi Chaim Volozhin writes in Nefesh Hachaim that G-d has so designed the world that He bestows His loving kindness only in response to the Mitzvot and prayers of  human beings. This is the meaning of the verse that G-d did not bring rain to the world before He created Adam, who could recognize the need for rain and pray for it (Bereshit 2 Rashi).
 
We therefore preface our Public Prayer by responding to a summons to declare "Boruch Hashem", that G-d is the Source of all that we need. According to the Kabbalistic interpretation, the Chazan is calling upon the congregation to initiate an arousal of G-d's fountain of blessings.
 
The Service of the Heart that Prayer represents is precisely this point. We turn to G-d to ask for all our needs in order to clarify to ourselves that G-d is the Only Source of all blessings and success.
 
This is what Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law meant when he said, "Boruch Hashem…". Yitro understood the fundamental lesson to be learned from the Exodus Experience. That lesson, according to Ramban in Parshat Bo, is that our ultimate goal in life is to recognize and declare that G-d alone is the Source of everything in the Universe.
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