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First Blessing 9: Blessings: “Baruch Ata Hashem”

The following is a selection from the siddur of the Ketav V’ha’Kabbalah, written by Rabbi Yaakov Mecklenberg, called Iyun Tefillah. (Please Note: The Ketav V’ha’Kabbalah has the most magnificent meditation, which is six lines published in his siddur, right after the Modeh Ani).

They usually translate baruch to mean ‘praise’ or ‘glorify.’ Then you have those who say it means ‘to expand’ or ‘to grow.’ And there are those who say it is a praise of God, which God includes all blessings, and sends an influence of good to those other than Him. He is the source of all blessing…

So the Iyun Tefillah holds that one has to keep all three understandings of “Baruch” in mind, when saying Baruch Ata Hashem. Personally, I like the explanation of the Nefesh Hachaim. I use the following approach: For the first three blessings of the Amidah, I use the explanation of the Rashba – “You are the Source of all blessings.” In the middle blessings I use the explanation of the Nefesh Hachaim, which is that I have the opportunity to expand Your presence in the world.” My approach to the middle section of the Amidah is that one is in partnership with God.

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