|Zeev Hatorah-Bechukotai: The Fortune Hundred Club|
|Written by Rabbi Shmuel Brazil|
In parshas Bechukosai, the Torah sets forth the Tochacha which contains the blessings and the curses contingent upon keeping the mitzvos or transgressing them. The berachos are in ascending order. It begins with beneficial material rewards followed by spiritual ones. Towards the end, Hashem promises והתהלכתי בתוככם which Rashi comments on that I will walk with you in Gan Eden without you feeling any intimidation. How much higher can one go from here?. Yet the Torah promises further rewards and ends with the ultimate which is ואולך אתכם קוממיות I will make sure that you walk upright. Can this beracha be the icing on the cake following the incredible benefits of Hashem dwelling amongst us and walking in Gan Eden with Him?
For this we need the gemarrah in Baba Basra 88b which explains this beracha to mean that Hashem will fix the dimensions of Adam Harishon by returning him to his missing 100 amos. For after the eating from the Aitz Hadaas, his original stature of 200 amos were diminished as the passuk says ותשת עלי כפכה that Hashem placed His palm on Adam and dwarfed his dimensions 100 amos as Rashi explains in Chagigah 12 that the word kaf is gematriah 100. Now we can understand that the returning and reconstruction of Man to his original level is the ultimate beracha and the finale of the rewards for keeping the Torah.
What is this meaning of this original dimension with the added 100 amos? The Meshech Chachama in parshas Vayechi explains that it enabled Adam to see with clarity the purpose and meaning of every creation of Hashem’s universe. It facilitated him to follow his spirit rather than his body. By transgressing Hashem’s commandment prohibiting from eating the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam lost that definitive clarity which was represented by the tragic loss of his dimensions. It is here where the Meshech Chacahma adds three earth shattering and insightful words that can change one’s life. וכנגדן מאה ברכות .That corresponding to those 100 amos our Chachamin instituted the obligation to recite 100 daily berachos. We are already aware of a source for the 100 berachos as our Chazal have told us that Dovid Hamelech originated the 100 berachos when in his time 100 people died every day until he instituted the rectinging of 100 berachos. However the Meshech Chachmah is adding a new aspect to this obligation and that is the loss of 100 amos.
If we look a little deeper into the matter we will discover that both reasons complement each other. Dovid had an ongoing relationship with Adam Harishon. He was granted 70 years of life from him. It is Dovid and his dynasty that will eventually bring about the ultimate fixing of Adam’s falling. This is hinted in the acronym of אדם – אדם דוד משיח. Adam upon eating from the Aitz Hadaas brought death into the world and caused mankind to lose its original 100 amos. Dovid with his 100 berachos brought life into the world hence making a major push in the process of restoring those 100 amos to man and ending it with his offspring with the coming of Mashiach.
If the 100 amos lost represents the loss of clarity in connection this world with its creator, then it follows that the 100 berachos help in reestablishing this relationship. To understand this better let me relate a story of the Tzemach Zedek when he was a young boy. One time he was playing hide and seek with his companions and it was his turn to hide. After a few minutes when no one discovered his hiding place he exited his hideout curious to know could it have been such a good place that no one could find him? He suddenly realized that at the very beginning of his turn the seekers just decided to leave the area and not even bother to search for him. He was so hurt that he ran crying to his grandfather the Baal Hatanya and bemoaned his fate. His holy Zaidy responded with a most powerful lesson. Hashem created a world in which He too hides hoping its inhabitants will seek Him out. Can one imagine His dismay when He realizes that everyone has lost interest and packed out because they do not want to bother. Do you think that Hashem doesn’t cry and also feel rejected over this?
It is through the 100 berachos that we declare that we are seeking to find Hashem in every aspect and facet of His creation. It is through these 100 berachos that the Yid regains his clarity of realization that the world is a place to constantly reveal Hashem’s hidden presence. In this light we can understand the nusach of the beracha which the Chacahmim established. Each beracha commences in the nochach form אתה addressing Hashem in the personal as if He was in front of us. The second segment of the beracha changes to the third person form המוציא לחם מן הארץ He who brings forth bread from the earth? May we suggest that the intention behind this duel format and nusach is to proclaim the mission of the berachos and that is to draw Hashem out from His hiding place.
The gemarrah learns out the obligation of 100 berachos the passukמה ה' אלקיך שואל מעמך and Chazal darshan that one should not read the word only as מה but as מאה as well. This hints to the 100 berachos that Hashem asks from his Yidden every day. The words that follow this request in the passuk is the avodah of yiras Hashem. This states that the hundred berachos recited is an expression of . יראהwhich contains the identical letters as ראיה seeing with clarity.
There are 45 curses in the Tochacha which is gematriah מה. This is an indication that all of the punishments have befallen upon us because we have not fulfilled the passuk מה ה' אלקיך שואל מעמך It is because we do not make the hundred berachos or even if we do they are not recited with the proper kavanah of recognizing that Hashem is hiding everywhere and waiting for us to reveal Him. The Zohar Hakadosh says that we have in our hands the keys that can protect us from all our tzaros. The keys are called the 100 berachos.
When the Chidushai Harim was a very young child he was once asked where is Hashem? He responded where ever you let Him in. Whether one is at business, home, conversing with his spouse, eating, being challenged with a difficult middah, or yes even in the shul and Beis Medrash, one can take Hashem out from His hiding place and allow Him to enter his activity. The Baal Haturim says that the 100 berachos correspond to the hundred adanim - sockets used in the building of the Mishkan. Yes, by recognizing that Hashem is the sole Master of the world (adanim from the lashon adon) one builds a Mishkan for Hashem by allowing Him to enter your activity. The hundred berachos are just a reminder of life’s mission. They are there to remind us that every Yid must participate in the reconstruction of Man’s original dimensions and regain that clarity of purpose that he once possessed.
Every beracha begins with the word Baruch. The Rishonim explain that it does not translate as blessed but rather as בריכה which is a spring and fountain. The thought one must have while saying baruch is that Hashem You are the source of everything. And even if Your constant presence and involvement in every aspect of my life is not obvious and easily recognizable to me, I hereby declare that You are the king of the entire universe and control the entire heartbeat and pulse of the cosmos. אדם is gematriah מה. Man is valued to the extent of how much מה and berachos he makes as an essential part of his daily life. Let us strive to bring the geulah with our berachos.