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Rav Schwab: Baruch Sh’Amar

In the conclusion of Baruch Sh’amar,, we say, “Blessed are you, God, the King Who is praised by various forms of praise.” There are two similar meanings of the root Hallel. One is to praise something extraordinary, as in, “the Egyptians praised Sarah as a most beautiful woman, fitting for Pharaoh.” Also, “My mouth shall bespeak the praise of the extraordinary wonders performed by God.” (Psalms 145:21).

However, as explained by Rav Hirsch, Hallel can mean to shine a light on something as in, “When He shines His light on my head.” (Job 29:3). There is another form of the  word which can mean to reflect the light away.

It is in this sense of reflection that we use the word Hallel when expressing praise to God. What we are saying is that we are “reflecting back to Him” all the blessings which He bestows upon us, through our expressions of praise. Our ”praises” of God then, are really an acknowledgment that He is the source of all our blessings.

We recite this blessing with the intention that all our prayers reflect the beauty and love that are inherent in God’s blessings to us.

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