Tefillah Tips: Baruch Sheamar

October 23, 2013

The tefillah ברוך שאמר is the opening prayer of the section of Shacharit entitled פסוקי דזמרה-Verses of Song. When reciting פסוקי דזמרה we should view it as singing praises of song unto Hashem. The Shulchan Aruch   prescribes that men should grasp their front two tzizit at the time of reciting ברוך שאמר. The commentators explain that since there are eight strings and five knots on each corner, holding the two front tzizit adds up to sixteen strings plus ten knots which equals a total of twenty-six, the numerical equivalent to G-d’s name (Y-H-V-H). When holding the Tzizit we are prompted to realize and confront the seriousness of our singing praises to Hashem as we begin פסוקי דזמרה.

ברוך שאמר begins with a seemingly straightforward set of phrases. “ברוך שאמר והיה העולם… ברוך אומר ועושה – Blessed is G-d that spoke and the world came into being… Blessed is G-d that speaks and does”. On a simple level, these words are understood to mean that at the time of Creation 5764 years ago G-d willed the world into existence through His utterances, and G-d continues to speak and will His desires into our world today. However, on a deeper level it means that just as when G-d created the world, His divine energy effected the creation of the heavens and the earth, so too ברוך אומר ועושה – G-d continues to sustain and power those same original creations until today.

Rav Chaim Voloshiner explains in the “Nefesh Hachaim” that there are two differences between the way that man constructs and G-d constructs. When man builds he needs raw materials and when construction is concluded the building stands on its own. When G-d constructed during the time of Creation He needed no raw materials but after construction is seemingly complete He continues to will the existence of His handiwork. The same G-d that created all the wonders of the world 5764 years ago continues to maintain their existence every second of every minute of every day of the year. We say later in Shacharit: המחדש בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית– He who renews Creation every moment of every day.

Take Home Tip: Understanding this principle and staying cognizant of it throughout the day allows us to view the world in an entirely different light. We must appreciate that every second Hashem is mercifully continuing to maintain the world as we know it. This should not only evoke feelings of awe and gratitude to G-d for his omnipotent power and kindness, it should also serve as a reminder to us of our great responsibility to live a directed and positive life that develops the world the way He has instructed us to.