שעשה לי כל צרכי
…Who has provided me my every need.
The Gemara in B’rachos (60b) relates this brachah to shoes.
HaRav Moshe Goldberger (in his sefer One Hundred Brachos), based on the sefer Alei Shur (of Rav Shlomo Wolbe), explains that just as a shoe size fits each individual precisely, so, too, everything that Hashem provides us with in our lives, both spiritually and materially, is an exact fit, perfectly custom-made to fulfill our purpose in life and achieve d’veikus. We thank Hashem here for providing for all of those perfectly suited needs.
We have much that is “sweet” in our lives to thank Hashem for. HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l, who was the master at recognizing and teaching appreciation for Hashem’s constant and abundant chasadim, describes the different parts of a shoe and how each part benefits us and adds to our well-being and comfort. To describe it would exceed the space allotted to our Tefilah segments. We encourage all to sit and give it some thought. The shoe is but one solitary item of clothing that we wear. HaRav Miller zt”l related that one of his rebbeim in Slabodka, the rosh yeshivah HaRav Isaac Sher, taught him how to appreciate the stitching around the button on his jacket and what it does for him. Think about going out on a very cold or very hot day and putting our bare feet on the ground, walking over rocks, dirt, rain, snow, mud, etc.
Imagine detailing in writing what we know about every article of clothing and every body part. It would take days and we would fill thousands of pages with what we know from medical textbooks. Needless to say, we haven’t even mentioned anything beyond our bodies and clothing. Our ancestors, even of the recent past, could not even begin to dream of the comforts and conveniences we have available to us and routinely take for granted. This brachah is an opportunity each and every morning to contemplate for a few seconds or a minute how truly blessed and fortunate we are.
We also have “bitter” parts of our lives. We thank Hashem for these as well, because if He is giving us something, it is certainly for our benefit.
Often, we think we need something and we are frustrated when we don’t receive it. For example, let’s imagine that we want to make more money for good reasons. We want to support our family or help others. We may question why Hashem won’t give us more money if all we want to do is give more charity and help others.
Maybe having more money right now will actually be detrimental to me or to those to whom I wish to give. Perhaps Hashem wants me to intensify my tefilos or strengthen my bitachon, which will bring me closer to Him, gifting to me the greatest good I can enjoy. And perhaps it is none of the above. Regardless of what the reason may be, I need to remember that it is clearly for my benefit, since Hashem is the only One Who knows definitively what is truly for my benefit.
This brachah is an opportunity both to express hakaras ha’tov to Hashem for the sweet, and to strengthen our bitachon that we have all that we truly need.
I forget who it was, but someone once asked a rebbe how he can say this brachah, given the poverty level he lived with. The rebbe told him to travel to another town and ask a particular person. When he met that person, he saw that his poverty level was far worse than his own. He asked his question. The man responded, “Please tell the rebbe that I have no idea why he asked you to ask me that question. I thank Hashem each day, happily, during this brachah that He has, in fact, given me all that I need.” The man had no more questions after hearing this response.