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A Beautiful Fresh Start!

By Rabbi Jonathan Tawil

This week we restart reading the Torah from the beginning – Bereishit.

The first book of the Torah takes its name from the first word – Bereishit – in the beginning.

The first Pasuk of the Torah is filled with a multitude of commentaries, every word deep in its meaning and understanding.

I would like to share with you a novel idea.

The Chida comments that the word Bereishit can stand for the Rashei Tevot of – Bekol Ram Avarech Shem Hashem Tamid – with a loud voice I give constant praise (through blessing) to Hashem.

The Chida explains that it is very important when a person wishes to make a blessing that he does so by moving his/her lips and by saying out loud (in a normal voice) the blessing.

Saying a blessing out loud, enables one to concentrate, and brings out the full essence and meaning of the blessing.

Many times we are caught thinking that we have said a blessing before eating something, only to be told by someone near us that we missed out the Beracha. They never saw our lips move; they never heard anything emanate from our mouths.

By emphasising that the blessing be said out loud this helps ensure the Beracha is successful.

The story is told about Rabbi Zusha of Änipoli, every day after the Morning Prayer; he would go to his private study and call out in prayer to Hashem.

Once his Shamash listened clearly to this prayer and heard what R Zusha was saying.

“Hashem, we have just finished the Morning Prayer, please now give us the sustenance to take us through the day.”

The Shamash heard this and felt pity for him. He decided he would help the Rabbi. From now on he would place the Rabbis breakfast through the side window every morning without the Rabbi noticing.

And so it was, every morning he would pray and shortly after receive his breakfast. One day, someone was passing by and noticed what was going on. He decided that he would try and take care of the Shamash so that the Shamash would not give the Rabbi food the next morning, and then he would be able to see whether the Rabbis prayer was really effective or not.

The next morning the man sent a few people to keep the Shamash busy, and sat and waited to see what would be with R Zusha’s prayer. He was shocked to see, that as soon as R Zusha finished praying a man came in with trays of silver and gold, full of delicatessens for breakfast.

Who was this man?

He waited as R Zusha and the man sat together and dined. Once the man left, he decided to confront him. Who are you and why did you bring R Zusha breakfast? The man answered that yesterday morning, he was crossing a narrow bridge, and there was only room for one person to pass, as he walked he noticed another person walking towards him, he met him and pushed him of the bridge into the shallow water. Only afterwards did he realise that he had pushed none other then R Zusha. He came today to beg forgiveness and hand R Zusha a good meal.

The man was impressed.

We go through our daily lives, and buy our groceries from the supermarket, our meat from the butcher, and bread from the baker, but nowadays we don’t really relate to Hashem’s Hand in all the blessings of our life.

Hashem is behind all these scenes for without Hashem’s help, there would be no food, no taste, and no beauty.

We state in Birkat Hamazon, Hazan Et Olamo …Bechen – Hashem feeds the world with Chen.

What is Chen?

Imagine a world in which all your monthly food intake was taken care of with one tablet. Eat the small white tablet and all your bodies nutrients are taken care off for a month. Sounds good? Perhaps not. The tablet has no taste, doesn’t really appeal to the eye. What about the thousands of different tastes we are able to feel? What about the colour and beauty inherent in every fruit? That would be missing.

Hashem wished to feed the world with Chen – all fruit are wrapped in a beautiful outer coat, the apple is wrapped in red, it looks juicy, the orange appeals to the eye, the Etrog smells nice etc. This is Chen.

Blessing Hashem for the kindness might be difficult nowadays to relate too, but it is our duty, therefore says the Chida, this is hinted to in the first word of our Torah – we must bless Hashem full heartedly. By expressing the words of the blessing aloud, we enable ourselves to connect to Hashem’s Beracha.

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