Blessing HaShem

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Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik

by R. Aharon Ziegler

What does it mean to bless GD? How can a person of flesh and blood, temporal man, “a broken shard”, and a “fleeting wind”, approach the Everlasting King of Kings, the Creator of the world, and say, Blessed are you, HaShem?

According to Rav Soloveitchik, when one recites a Bracha over food, for example, he is in essence saying, “Master of the universe, You are hidden behind a cloud; no one can see You. Yet, as I eat this food, I reveal Your presence. The very fact that I can eat, that my body absorbs the food, that I can digest, indeed the entire biological process behind food consumption and the very creation of food itself is testimony to Your presence. Through this recognition I am removing the obscure cloud: I am revealing You. That is the essence of a blessing.

Brachot are addressed to GD in the second person; Blessed are You, rather than Blessed is He, In order to affirm GD’s very presence before us, as if to say, “Where are You, Gd You are right here with me! How do I Know? Because Your presence is evident in this food I am about to eat!” The purpose of a Bracha is to transform the Hidden into Presence, and through the second person singular, we reveal the Divine Presence directly in front of us. A Jew is a partner in this revelation every time we make a Bracha.

(source: Derashot HaRav  p3)



About Aharon Ziegler

Rabbi Aharon Ziegler is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Agudath Achim of Boro Park and the Dean and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Agudath Achim. He is the author of six volumes of Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

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