web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Counting Our Blessings


Torah-Anytime-logo

The following is based on a shiur given by Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwartz.  The shiur in its entirety can be found on TorahAnytime.com

 

This week we read Parshas Vayeitzei, the parsha in which Yaakov Avinu meets Rachel and Leah, marries and begins a family.  What an appropriate time to take a look at our own lives and focus on all the good we have been blessed with.

We begin the last bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, Sim Shalom, by asking Hashem to sim shalom, tova u’vracha, chein, v’chesed v’rachamim – to establish peace, goodness, blessing, graciousness, kindness and compassion (Artscroll translation).  However, the word shalom, peace comes from the word shalem, which means complete.  The first thing we ask for is completeness, and if we are complete, wouldn’t that mean we have goodness, blessing, etc.  So, if we have already asked Him to grant us completeness, why do we have to ask for anything else?  Why wouldn’t it be enough to just say Sim shalom aleinu?  And if we feel a need to delineate what we want, why stop at six, why not ask for sixty things?

Rav Avigdor Miller, z”tl has a very interesting explanation.  He says that honestly if we were to categorize every nuance of every aspect of the brachos we were asking for, we would never stop davening, our tefillos would be never ending.  And while that would be wonderful, it would be impossible.  Most of us have a hard enough time fitting in a standard Shacharis, can you imagine if we had to spend hours upon hours davening each day?

Hakadosh Baruch Hu did not want to be matriach us, to make things difficult for us, to make us focus on every nuance.  At the same time, the purpose of tefillah is to enable us to develop a relationship with our Creator.  To develop adequate bitachon, the knowledge that everything, absolutely everything comes from the Borei Olam and also to develop adequate hakaras hatov, which is gratitude.

The Anshei Knesses HaGedolah, who put together the siddur with ruach hakodesh, chose these six things because they, shalom, tova u’vracha, chein, v’chesed v’rachamim, were enough to focus on.  These six things enable us to zero in on how much we have to be grateful for.  Yes, they overlap with each other – tova overlaps with shalom and with bracha – they are all nuances of the same thing.  However, if you say each one separately and focus on each word as you say it, you will learn to develop a greater level of appreciation of Hakadosh Baruch Hu and a greater level of trust that everything you need comes from Him.

Again, Hashem did not want to be matriach us, He wants us to look forward to davening, to want to daven, so He made it just right – six words to focus on, but six words with tremendous meaning.

Sim shalom, tova u’vracha – we ask for peace, we ask for goodness and we ask for bracha.  What is the unique dimension of brachaBracha is related to the Hebrew word b’raicha, a pool from where water just bubbles forth – a geyser.  Anything in the vicinity of a geyser gets drenched with water.  That is bracha – it overflows covering and watering everything in its path.  We ask not just for shalom and tova, but we want bracha in the peace and bracha in the goodness – we want these things to overflow for us, to spill forth and encompass everything around.  We want abundance; we want Hashem to give to us with incredible generosity.

What is important to remember is that bracha does not always come with ease.  For example, its wonderful, a bracha, to have your children and grandchildren come for yom tov; it’s a bracha to have elderly parents and to be able to spend time with them.  However, it is not always easy to do these things.  Having bracha, being blessed, does not mean that things are going to be easy – and remembering this can be very liberating.  Even though this is what I want, and I don’t want it to change, its still very challenging, it can still be overwhelming. And saying that it’s not easy, saying that it is difficult does not mean that you are complaining, that you don’t appreciate what you have been given.  It means that you are being human.  As someone once said, “I am not complaining, I am just explaining.”

Explaining means saying, “There are so many children here and the noise level is driving me crazy” but never saying, “There are too many children here.”  We must always be careful in how we phrase things.  We want the bracha, in abundance, but as normal human beings we can acknowledge that it is not always easy.  And when it’s not easy, part of developing our relationship with Hashem is saying, “Things are a little hard today.  Thank you for what You have given me, but can You give me a little bit more strength so I can function better?”

Now, what is the difference between bracha and cheinChein is graciousness – we ask Hashem to treat us with graciousness.  But not just that.  In addition, we also ask that we find favor, grace, in the eyes of all the people we interact with – our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, etc.  We ask that people like us, that others see us in a favorable way.  That is because many times, it’s not just what we say or what we do that matters, rather it’s how others perceive what we do that is important.  In this bracha we ask Hashem that whatever we do, be seen by others in the most positive way.  But most especially, we want our actions to find favor in the eyes of Hashem.

How can we do that?  How can we conduct ourselves so that we will find favor in His eyes?  Chazal tell us that the more we acknowledge that we cannot function without Hashem, the more we acknowledge our dependence on Him, the more chein we will find in His eyes.

Sim shalom – Hashem grant us peace, grant us goodness, grant us favor in Your eyes and in the eyes of those around us – but do it with bracha – do it with abundance.  We know that all things come from You, our every step, our every move, is only possible because You have helped us.  We ask You to do for us because without Your bracha we could not function, we could not be whole.  And we promise that on a daily basis we will count our brachos and acknowledge that they are gifts from You.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Counting Our Blessings”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Aerial view of Herodian.

Excavations also turned up hidden tunnels dug by Jewish rebels in the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Shard of jar that contained olive oil dating back six centuries before Hanukkah.

“This is the earliest evidence of the use of olive oil in the country, and perhaps the entire Mediterranean basin.”

Suggested causes: pollution of water sources, radiation changes and the effects of a dwindling population.

A Toronto synagogue issued a rare Shabbat appeal to help the family.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

The new case of a 5-year-old makes it more difficult to fight NY and NJ quarantine policies.

Hamas is still in the mode of “give us a finger and we will take the whole hand.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/counting-our-blessings/2011/11/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: