The next two phrases in the prayer Baruch Sheamar are “ברוך מרחם על הארץ- Blessed is Hashem that has mercy on the earth” and “ברוך מרחם על הבריות- Blessed is Hashem that has mercy on creatures/mankind.”
The first of the two phrases teaches that G-d not only created the earth and all of its grandeur 5774 years ago with mercy and kindness, He also continues to interact and generate life in His world continuously with mercy and kindness.
Historically there have been philosophers and philosophies that maintained that indeed G-d did create the world, but then He let forces of nature take over ever. Authentic Jewish thought maintains that G-d continues His divine care and involvement every millisecond that the world exists. The more one notices G-d’s involvement in our daily lives, the more gratitude we will feels towards Him. Whether it be the grandeur of a sunrise, the awesomeness of thunder and lightning, beautiful leaves falling off the trees as the season slowly changes, or our power of sight, smell, touching, tasting and hearing that we utilize throughout the day, G-d manifests kindness and mercy on the earth and on us while He renews the wonders of His creation continuously- “ברוך מרחם על הארץ”.
“ברוך מרחם על הבריות -Blessed is G-d that has mercy on His creatures/mankind” teaches us that G-d’s care and concern is not limited to aspects of the creation that have existed for thousands of years like the sun, the moon, and the mountains. G-d also has infinite mercy for his prized creation: mankind.
With privilege also comes responsibility. Since humanity, unlike the animal kingdom and the earth, has been endowed with the G-d-like quality of freedom of choice, human beings are held to a higher standard. We have rules, regulations, a moral code i.e. the Torah to maintain and guide us throughout our lives. When we are compliant we are rewarded, and when we fail we are corrected. One might think that since people have been so unbelievably blessed in comparison to mice, mountains, and rainbows, that people are not deserving of G-d’s ultimate mercy. Therefore explains Rav Avigdor Miller z”l the prayer comes to exclaim that G-d expresses infinite mercy for humanity as well: “ ברוך מרחם על הבריות”.
Take Home Tip: Habit and routine are our greatest assets but present challenges too. We aim to train ourselves to daven/pray every day, recite blessings before and after eating and to fulfill our daily Mitzvah responsibilities. The challenge is that once it becomes habitual, to not allow it to be done by rote. A strategy to combat this condition is to keep a verse or two from our Tefillot/Prayers in mind throughout the day and apply its messages to our lives. ברוך מרחם על הבריות ברוך מרחם על הארץ is a terrific phrase to be mindful of all day long.
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