An Introduction to Birchos HaShachar II
B’ezras Hashem, the next series of segments will cover the 15 Birchos HaShachar that we recite each morning. As an introduction, we are reviewing Shemoneh Esrei segments 47 and 48, which were an introduction to the brachah of Modim, and serve, as well, as an introduction to these Birchos HaShachar. Shemoneh Esrei 47 appeared last week.
Shemoneh Esrei 48
The 100 Powers of Modim
מודים אנחנו לך
We gratefully thank You
As is commonly known, there is an obligation to recite 100 brachos daily. The g’matria of the word “מודים” equals 100. This teaches us that one who says Modim properly is considered as if he fulfilled the requirement of saying 100 brachos that day. [Daas Z’keinim MiBaalei HaTosafos, parshas Eikev]
What is a brachah and how is it connected to Modim?
What makes it so special that David HaMelech chose 100 brachosas the vehicle to stop the plague that was killing 100 people daily? What makes the recitation of 100 brachos so special and so powerful?
Why do so many different sources tell us of the powerful benefits of 100 brachos daily? Amongst these many benefits (there are many more than listed here) are the following:
1. Receiving special salvation. This is the only eitzah to draw brachah and wondrous, quick hatzalah for all types of difficult illnesses. It has the power to cause good health, and a long and sweet life. [Shibalei HaLeket]
2. An increase in shalom between us and Hashem [Maharsha]
3. An increase in rachamim from Hashem [Rashba]
4. Receiving a brachah from Hashem for our parnasah, fulfilling our days and years, and succeeding against any enemies [Siddur R’ Yaakov Emden]
5. Receiving a reciprocal brachah: The same way that man “blesses” Hashem, so too will Hashem bless man. (Midrash Tanchuma, quoted by Ramchal)
6. Attaining יראת שמים–yir’as Shamayim more easily because we will become קדוש–kadosh through the 100 brachos [Ben Ish Chai]
7. Being considered as if we have fulfilled the mitzvos of yir’as Hashem, emulating Hashem’s ways (“והלכת בדרכיו–v’halachta bi’drachav”), ahavas Hashem, and more [sefer Tz’ror HaMor, quoted in Magen Avraham, siman 428 of the Shulchan Aruch]
8. Treated as if we brought all of the korbanos [Rokei’ach, VaYikra 214]
It is related by HaRav Shmuel Auerbach and HaRav Yitzchak Yerucham Bordiansky (Rav Shmuel’s brother-in-law) that when a gadol who was stricken with a deadly illness came to HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l to ask what he could do to arouse rachamim from Shamayim, HaRav Shlomo Zalman told him, “I am not worthy to tell others what to do in this case, but I will tell you what I personally would do. I would strengthen myself in my recitation of 100 daily brachos and say each “Baruch” the way it should be said, each “Atah” the way it should be said, and each “Hashem” the way it should be said. If I can succeed in that, it would be the greatest musar for me.
9. Meriting to draw life from the source of life, and draw life for the entire world [Zohar]
10. Feeling Hashem’s presence. The gift of 100 daily opportunities to approach Hashem directly and feel His presence, thereby fulfilling the very first סעיף–s’if of the Rama in the Shulchan Aruch, based on T’hilim 16 (“Shivisi Hashem l’negdi tamid” [Sifsei Chaim, Moadim 1]
This is just a sampling of a few amongst the many benefits Chazalmention relating to reciting 100 brachos daily.
Perhaps the connection between Modim and 100 brachos and the reason they are so powerful is that each time we make a brachah, we recognize (admit) that Hashem is the (only) source of all blessings and goodness. That recognition brings us to humility, to love Hashem, and to d’veikus baShem, which, as discussed last week, is the purpose of life according to Ramchal and others. Through our recognition and humility, we are enabled (that is the way Hashem created the world, granting us the power and responsibility) to bring down the flow of brachah to the entire world, which fulfills the r’tzon Hashem to provide goodness to the world.