Baruch Atah Hashem 1

Baruch Atah Hashem 1

With this segment, we begin a new series. Although we have written about these three words in the past, they deserve a more in-depth analysis, which will, with Hashem’s help, lead us to greater mindfulness and heart each time we make a brachah.

We will specifically focus on these three words as they relate to the ending of the brachos of Shemoneh Esrei. HaRav Mordechai Finkelman shlita recently presented a special shiur (available on TorahAnytime) where he described the origin and great benefit of committing to a “weekly tefilah focus” program. In that shiur, he mentioned that his rebbi, HaRav Avraham Pam zt”l, had advised to study only small segments of tefilah at a time and internalize them before moving to the next small segment. He also advised to begin with the ending of the 19 brachos in Shemoneh Esrei. Therefore, we will focus this new series on exactly that.

Here are just a few reasons why we are going to focus on the endings of the Shemoneh Esrei brachos, which all begin with “Baruch Atah Hashem”:

• Men are obligated to recite 100 brachos daily to maintain and increase our awareness of Hashem. (There is a dispute if women are obligated in 100, but certainly they, as well, can benefit each time they recite a brachah). Out of the 100 daily brachos, the majority (57) are the brachos of the three times we recite Shemoneh Esrei.

• As we have mentioned in the past, when we daven Shemoneh Esrei, we are standing before The King. We are granted the great privilege of addressing Him directly and personally.

• We have also written about the awesome responsibility and power that Hashem has invested in us, to affect powerful impacts on the worlds through our Shemoneh Esrei.

• The end of each brachah is the most important part of the brachah. We can see that from the following Chazal:

Rabbi Eliezer writes that one should accustom himself to be mindful at least at the end of each brachah (in Shemoneh Esrei), because in totality there are 113 words in the endings of the brachos, which correspond to the 113 words in the tefilah of Chanah, as well as to the 113 times the word לבleiv (heart/mind) is mentioned in the Torah.

This guidance from the Holy Tana Rabbi Eliezer is brought down as halachah in the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and in the Mishnah B’rurah, quoting the Tur, stating that one should (exert effort to) accustom himself to have kavanah at least at the end of each brachah of Shemoneh Esrei.

B’ezras Hashem, next week, we will begin to delve more deeply into these three crucially important and powerful words.