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Ha’azinu: Giving Praise

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor

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“When I proclaim the name of Hashem, give greatness to our G-d (32:3). When we hear a berachah, it is proper to exclaim “Baruch Hu u’Baruch Shemo” (“He is blessed and His name is blessed”) when Hashem’s name is pronounced. But much more is intended. The mention of that most important word (in any language) should evoke the greatest reverence and love and devotion. How much should we exert ourselves in this function? “We shall sanctify Your name in the world just as they sanctify it in the heights above” where “they continually relate the glory of G-d.” But to do this requires preparation, for it cannot be done on the spur of the moment.

This requires a store of gratitude for the countless kindnesses granted to us and for the countless kindnesses to our progenitors, and for a world filled with countless devices and provisions of kindly purpose. A store of immense admiration is also required for the infinite Wisdom of the Creator, which is the most open of all the testimonies of the world.

But the verse does not state merely “Give greatness to G-d” but “to our G-d,” thereby multiplying Israel’s obligation immensely; for He has designated us as His chief interest in all the Universe (10:14), in this world and also in the Afterlife (see Bamidbar 23:10). From this infinite store of devotion and adoration for “our G-d,” we summon the expression of His greatness whenever His Name is mentioned.

David said: “Hashem is great and is to be exceedingly praised; and there is no searching out His greatness” (Tehillim 145:3), which means that His greatness is infinite. And he added: “And Your greatness I shall relate” (ibid. 145:6). Thus we follow his model to recognize Hashem’s greatness as much as we are able and to speak of it always. It is essential to know that this is the measure of our future happiness in the Afterlife.

In Shemoneh Esrei we declare: “You are holy.… Blessed are You, O holy G-d.” The expression of thanks is suitable for health or for sustenance or other benefits, but what benefit do we gain from Hashem’s holiness that we should thank Him for being holy? The answer is that His holiness includes all of His greatness, and this greatness affords the supreme happiness of gazing at Him in the Afterlife.

Rav said (Berachos 17a), “In the World to Come, there is no eating or drinking… but the righteous sit with their crowns upon their heads and they enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah.” Thus the greater the splendor of Hashem’s greatness, so much greater is the reward of those who gaze at this splendor. Because His greatness is endless, we thank Him for the endless joy that awaits us when we shall view that greatness.

Moshe therefore speaks Hashem’s words: “Give [render, attribute] greatness to our G-d,” for thus we can gain a crown of glory (Rambam explains the “crown of glory” as the crown of True Knowledge) whereby we are enabled in the Afterlife to gain the utmost in true happiness.

We must utilize all the phenomena in order to gain more Awareness of Hashem’s greatness. When we see any of the infinitely countless wonders around us, we recognize more of the Creator’s greatness. Thus we are able to acquire the Crown of Awareness of Hashem’s greatness. “Accustom yourself to saying His blessings [i.e. praises, admiration] in this world, so that you become more capable of [praising and admiring] them in the World to Come” (Rashi, Berachos 63a).

Thus this verse “Give greatness to our G-d” is the program for a life of supreme achievement. (Fortunate Nation)

Compiled for The Jewish Press by the Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, which Rabbi Miller, zt”l, founded and authorized to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com.

For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.

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About the Author: The Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, was founded and authorized by Rabbi Miller to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com. For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.


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