Tefillah Tips: Ashrei XIII

The next verse in the Ashrei that we will examine is, “יודוך ה’ כל מעשיך, וחסידיך יברכוכה – All Your works praise You Hashem, and your devoted/pious ones bless You.“ What exactly are G-d’s works? And how do people have the capacity to bless G-d? G-d, the Master and Architect of all blessings, allots blessings to His creations, but how could even pious people provide a blessing to the Source of all blessings?

There are two answers advanced in the commentaries defining מעשיך – G-d’s works.

One answer is that מעשיך refers to less informed Jews devoid of Torah knowledge. In contrast חסידיך – Your pious ones are the students of Torah and Mitzvoth who understand and practice piety and righteousness as it is defined in the Torah. There are many sincere students who pursue ethical justice and truth, but are misguided by the relative morality that is purported in our society. As the Rabbis of the Talmud taught –“לא עם הארץ חסיד- an ignorant person can simply not achieve piety”. Therefore King David writes that in the Messianic Era, all students of ethics and justice will praise G-d and only G-d.

The second answer is that מעשיך means all types of creations of the Creator, from plants and animals to elements and planets. Jewish thought and liturgy is replete with examples of how all of nature praises G-d – from the roar of the lion to the croaking of the toad to the rustling of the wind through the trees. All of G-d’s creation sings to/about the Creator.

The second part of the verse read literally states that  pious people can bless G-d. Of what benefit is it to G-d to receive a blessing from people?  It is explained that when it says the pious will bless you,  it means that the divine blessings, protection, and reward G-d showers upon the Tzaddikim benefits not only the awardee but the world around him/her as well. So the pious in effect share the blessing of G-d with others. This is the blessing that is launched by the pious.

Take Home Tip: The light we bring forth in our own lives provides radiance for all those around as well. Conversely if we advance wrongdoing and darkness in our lives, it radiates negatively causing darkness to our surroundings. May we merit to fulfill the verse  וחסידיך יברכוכה – Your devoted/pious ones bless You by  providing lives of blessings in Your world.

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