Monday, August 31, 2015

489 - Eikev

In Parshas Eikev there is a single pasuk which encapsulates all of what is expected from us in this world."Now Yisrael, what does Hashem ask of you? Only that you fear Hashem your G-d, to go in all His ways and to love Him..." (Devarim 10:12). While the pasuk seems to be quite straightforward, Chazal explain it homiletically. "Do not read the word "mah" (what) rather "mei'ah" (one hundred). Hashem asks of you one hundred blessings a day. It would seem that fulfilling this dictate of Chazal, answers all of what Hashem asks of a person.

In explaining the significance of every bracha, Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. I p. 112) cites the Radak in Yeshaya who explains words of praise penned by Chizkiyahu Hamelech. Chizkiyahu was deathly ill and after his miraculous recovery he wrote a letter in which he stated "I said with my days cut short I will go to the gates of the grave deprived of the rest of my years. I had said I will not see Hashem" (Yeshayah 38:10, 11). The Radak quotes Rav Saadyah Gaon, who explains that "seeing Hashem" is a reference to giving thanks. The Radak concurs, explaining that "perceiving Hashem means thanking and praising Him and contemplating His ways."

How can one "see" Hashem? We can see Him through recognizing His kindness and thanking Him for it. We are supposed to review over and over again - a hundred times each day - the truth that Hashem is the King of the world and it is He Who has given us every pleasure of which we partake. It is He Who gave us our body and our soul, and it is He Who gave us the Torah and the mitzvos. Everything we have is a result of His infinite kindness and we must thank Him for His beneficence. The extent that we will see Hashem on a daily basis is proportionate to the amount of attention we pay to what we are saying.

There is an added dimension to the daily requirement to make one hundred brachos. We don't thank Hashem once and for all for giving us water or giving us clothes. Every day calls for an additional thanks. Every drink calls for a new bracha. Chazal wanted us to appreciate that the world is not to be perceived as an ancient phenomenon. Rather, each and every day, and numerous times throughout the day, Hashem renews His kindness and recreates the world in its entirety. Thus, Chazal instituted daily brachos to thank Him for His constant kindness and never-ending bounty.

A well known gadol was wont to say that the length of a bracha depends on the height of a person. Thebracha begins when the food is taken into his hand and the bracha ends just before the food enters his mouth. Hence, the taller the person the longer the time he has to make a bracha! It's quite humorous, it's often true, and it's very unfortunate. We literally have in our hands the recipe for seeing Hashem, and we let it fly off into the breeze when we mumble the bracha under our breath or have our minds on a conversation with a friend. Choose a singlebracha that is going to be "yours," give it the proper frame of mind and this will open your eyes to see Hashem in a way that you never previously experienced!

No comments: