Closer and Closer to Hashem
L’hodos l’cha u’l’yachedcha…
…to offer praiseful thanks to You, and proclaim Your Oneness…
You (Hashem) brought us close to Your great Name (“Shimcha ha’gadol,” as explained last week, means Hashem’s creations and conducting the world) in order that we recognize Your greatness and great chesed, which will then inspire us to thank You.
U’l’yachedcha, on a simple level, means to make Hashem One – that is, to recognize that nothing exists outside of Hashem. Anything that exists in the world is from Hashem.
On a deeper level, Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l explains that it means that Hashem alone guides and runs the world – all for the purpose of bestowing good upon His creations.
In this world, we see things as “good” and “bad.” For certain types of good news, we recite the brachah of HaTov v’HaMeitiv, whereas for certain types of bad news, we recite the brachah of Dayan HaEmes. However, in Olam HaBa, we will recite only the brachah of HaTov v’HaMeitiv.
In this world, we are expected to believe that all is for the good, even though there are many times when it is not possible for us to see how the event can possibly be for the good. However, in the next world, we will see how all is truly for the good.
When we say l’hodos, we are recognizing the chesed that Hashem performs for us, and we thank Him. When we say u’l’yachedcha, we are saying that we believe that all of Hashem’s conduct in the world is unified with one purpose: to bestow goodness upon us. We believe this, in this world, even when we do not perceive how a particular event can be good.
Loving All of His Children…All of the Time
Before we proceed to the conclusion of our brachah, we would like to share one powerful thought from the Vilna Gaon. He quoted the Gemara in Chulin 91b, which states that klal Yisrael is more beloved to Hashem than the mal’achei ha’shareis, the heavenly angels. The Gaon states that when we say “v’keiravtanu l’Shimcha ha’gadol,” this is what we are saying: Hashem has brought us closer to Him than the mal’achim are.
The conclusion of this brachah is in the present tense. Hashem is choosing us constantly, even though we may not deserve to be His nation right now. Not only is He choosing us despite our unworthiness, but He chooses us with love even while we are unworthy.
Each morning, we recite the Birchos HaTorah, which contain the phrase, “that He selected us from all the nations.” Imagine if the wisest, most powerful, kindest, most compassionate, most generous, and wealthiest person in the world chose you as his adopted son or daughter. He treats you and considers you like an only child. He tells you that he will take care of you and your descendants for eternity, and He is involved in every aspect of your life. He gives you a special phone number, which only you have, and he tells you that you can call him 24/7.
The Anshei K’neses HaG’dolah, who formulated the Birchos HaTorah and our brachah with prophecy, wanted us to remember each and every day of our lives that today Hashem is choosing us with love. He loves us eternally (“Ahavas Olam”) and abundantly (“Ahavah Rabah”). Our brachah begins and ends with a proclamation of Hashem’s great love for us.
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