pinos tz’va’av k’doshim rom’mei Sha-dai

…all of His legions, holy ones, exalt the Almighty


The first section of this brachah concentrated on gaining greater awareness of Hashem through His creations in the sky. In the words of HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l (in his Praise, My Soul):

“After the above statement that, in His kindness, Hashem created everything to cause men to recognize Him, and for this purpose He put the luminaries around His might, it is therefore now made known that because of this purpose He created also the hosts of angels that they should serve as examples by their selfless and rapturous praise of Hashem, so that we should do likewise.”

Starting with the words “Tisbareich tzureinu (May You be blessed, our Rock),” we return to human beings. When we praise Hashem and accept His Malchus, we are doing so in a way that is superior and is higher praise of Hashem. How can human beings praise Hashem in a greater way than mal’achim? Only we have free choice. The mal’achim offer great and constant praise but do so because that is the purpose for which they were created. They have no free choice. We, on the other hand, must overcome many obstacles and challenges to gain greater and greater awareness of Hashem. We are surrounded by media, workplace, higher education institutions, and scientists, amongst others, who don’t recognize Hashem and who are continuously sending out messages that are contrary to awareness of Hashem. When we are able to overcome the bombardment of challenges, and we praise Hashem through greater and greater awareness, this is deemed higher praise, due to our challenges and free choice.

This is similar to a great lesson that we learn from the last mishnah in Avos (perek 5): “L’fum tzaara agra (The reward is in proportion to the exertion).” The world at large places the highest value on results. Gold medals are not handed out for effort or how difficult it was for someone to compete. The outrageous sums of money paid to entertainers, athletes, and in business are not based on effort. They are purely based on results. Hashem has a different value system.

When we make a siyum, we say “Anu ameilim v’heim ameilim; anu ameilim u’m’kablim sachar, v’heim ameilim v’einam m’kablim sachar (We toil and they toil; we toil and receive a reward, while they toil and do not receive a reward).” The Chafetz Chaim asks: How can we say, “They toil and do not earn a reward”? A non-Jew certainly does get paid for his work. The answer is that he gets paid for results, not effort. Even someone who gets paid by the hour will only have a job if he produces favorable results. It’s not about the effort or difficulty. It’s all about the result.

For us, it is the opposite. It is not about the result. We know that results are not in our hands. Results even in learning Torah, performing chesed, and all other areas of life are totally in Hashem’s control. We only get “paid” for choice and effort. The mishnah teaches us that the degree of difficulty and challenge is a major factor in the equation. Those who struggle in life, but who overcome their many challenges and are strong in their emunah and bitachon, will receive greater reward. Their praise of Hashem is greater than others who are not challenged to the same extent. Of course, we are all challenged in different areas, and we all have opportunities to overcome our challenges, thereby praising Hashem in a greater way. Free choice to put forth greater efforts in the face of greater challenges means greater awareness of Hashem, which produces greater praise of Hashem, which results in greater reward in the World to Come. The bliss in the World to Come is in essence the degree of closeness to Hashem we will receive as a result of the level of awareness of Hashem gained on this world through Torah, mitzvos, and overcoming life’s many challenges and tests.

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