Ha’m’chaseh shamayim b’avim, ha’meichin la’aretz matar, ha’matzmiach harim chatzir.

Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes mountains sprout with grass.

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When clouds cover the sky, blocking the sunshine, our mood tends to drop and all appears to be dreary. When the rain comes, our mood generally remains lower. However, after the rains, the grass begins to grow even on mountains that are generally dry, since they are not watered by man, and the animals now have food to eat, even on the mountains.

This pasuk connects to the one before it and to the first pasuk in this Hallelukah. Both of those earlier p’sukim referenced singing (zemer) to “Elokeinu,” which we explained in the tefilah segment of the first pasuk, refers to judgment – when things are challenging and painful. Yet, we still sing praise to Hashem, because we know that all that He does is for our ultimate eternal benefit.

The painful situation is the darkness represented by the dark clouds covering the sunshine. The subsequent growth of grass and other vegetation after the rain represents the ultimate benefit.

[based on the Noda BiYehudah zt”l in his sefer Drushei haTzlach and HaRav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky zt”l in his sefer Tehilos Maharitz]

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The brachah of “Atah Kadosh” is said in every Shemoneh Esrei. This brachah, which is often not understood well, is another opportunity to drive this crucial message of bitachon deeper and deeper within us.

The word “kadosh” is the key in this brachah. Often, the English translation uses the word “holy.” That word leaves us with an ambiguous and perhaps incorrect understanding. The word “kadosh” means “separate and apart” or “perfect.” (It is interesting to note that Merriam-Webster defines “holy” as “perfect in goodness and kindness.”) The word “kadosh, therefore, conveys to us that Hashem is beyond our ability to grasp and that He is perfect in His goodness and kindness. Now let us look at the entire brachah:

Atah kadosh – Your essence, Hashem, is perfect and beyond our ability to grasp.

v’shimcha kadosh – Your running of the world is perfect and beyond our grasp.

u’kedoshim – and Your separate ones, referring to B’nei Yisrael (some say it also refers to mal’achim)

b’chol yom – every day, regardless of whether it was a “sunny” day or a “dark” day

y’hallelucha, selah – will praise You for eternity

Baruch Atah Hashem – You are the Blessed One, Hashem, Who is the constant source of all blessing

HaKeil – the G-d of powerful compassion (the meaning of the Name of Hashem of “Keil” denotes powerful compassion)

HaKadosh – Who is perfect and beyond our grasp (separate and apart).

This brachah, which many of us say three times a day, reminds us that just as Hashem’s essence is perfect and beyond our understanding, so, too, is the way Hashem runs the world and every aspect of our lives: perfect and beyond our understanding. We praise Hashem, regardless of what kind of day it felt like, because we know that even the dark days are from Hashem for our eternal benefit, designed to bring us to what He knows is for our ultimate best.

May we merit to take advantage of the many opportunities embedded within our tefilos to drive trust in – and reliance on – Hashem deeper and deeper within us, which will lead to our ultimate redemption, may it be speedily in our days, b’ezras Hashem.

 

As part of our series on the mitzvos that make up our Yesodei HaTorah, the “foundational mitzvos,” daily recordings of approximately three minutes each day are available. Sign up by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put the word “Subscribe” in the Subject line.

 

To access print versions of previous Tefilah segments, please visit OU Torah’s Search portal, select the Topic of “Tefillah,” and then select “Weekly Tefilah Focus” from the Series list.

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For Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman’s video and audio shiurim, which are based on our Tefilah Focus segments but also include his insightful and inspiring additions, please visit TorahAnytime.com or simply search for “TorahAnytime Rabbi Finkelman.”


You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.

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