Tefillah Tips: Baruch Sheamar Continued

October 31, 2013

Rav Schwab zt”l explains that the beginning of Baruch Sheamar presents ten “definitions” of the ineffable name of G-d. The tefillah is divided into two parts. The first part presents the ten definitions, and the second part consists of the blessing we recite before praising Hashem with פסוקי דזמרה- Verses of Song.

Let’s study the following two phrases: “ברוך אומר ועושה – Blessed is He that says and does” and “ברוך גוזר ומקים- Blessed is He that decrees and fulfills His decree”.

“ברוך אומר ועושה – Blessed is He that says and does” demonstrates a basic difference between man and his Creator. A human king/president/prime minister makes promises to constituents to win them over. Sometimes the promises are kept, but many times they are not. Sometimes there are very good reasons why the promises are not kept, nevertheless, they are not kept. G-d, the King of all kings can and does maintain any and every promise and blessing He has ever uttered. G-d is one hundred percent reliable. You can trust in Him when there is no one else to call out to. As our prayers state: “אל תבטחו בנדיבים- Do not place your trust in noblemen” because all humans are finite, temporal, and therefore ultimately unreliable. Hashem is just the opposite-strong, Eternal, and by definition reliable- “ברוך אומר ועושה”.

“ברוך גוזר ומקים – Blessed is He that decrees and fulfills His decree”. This phrase reflects G-d’s divine justice. The Torah teaches that the evildoers will be punished and that evil will one day be obliterated from earth. This relates to the famous Talmudic question of, “Why do the evil prosper and the good suffer?” If it is a basic tenet of Judaism that the good succeed and the evil don’t prosper why do so many apparently bad people enjoy the pleasures of this world and so many pious people suffer? One approach is to realize that we are not physically present long enough to witness G-d’s divine reward and retribution. We are taught in the Torah that the good and righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished. G-d has a long memory and divine justice will be enforced, it just may take place at a time and a place that we won’t know about it and don’t see it. G-d remembers every act of every person in his or her lifetime. Our mitzvot will be rewarded and our aveyrot will be admonished.  “ברוך גוזר ומקים – Blessed is He that decrees and fulfills”

Take Home Tip: As we recite Baruch Sheamar each morning let’s remember that although we are reminded often that life is unpredictable and without guarantees, we are also taught ברוך גוזר ומקים ברוך אומר ועושה – that G-d and His world are just and His teachings and prophecies are indeed guaranteed.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Epstein, Congregation Sons of Israel Cherry Hill NJ

Orthodox Union Department of Community Engagement

Rabbi Judah Isaacs, Director

Hannah Farkas, Program Manager

Adina Schwarzbaum, Administrative Assistant