Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The meaning of the word "Barukh"

Last week we discussed the issue of Kavana, consciousness, and a level of a deeper understanding, beyond the words’ translation, which helps the person who prays to meditate on each word of the Amida.

First we “say” the word. We have to actually articulate the word and whisper it to ourselves, not just think about it. Once we say the word we need to "understand" its meaning. Then, we need to "stop on that word and delve into its meaning", letting the word to inspire us back.

Let’s illustrate this idea with the word Barukh: Commonly translated as “Blessed” this word involves some difficulties even in its plain understanding. One can immediately notice that we cannot possibly bless God in the sense we bless another human being, wishing him or her well. Neither are we invocating God’s blessing to someone else, like we do in a Misheberakh or in Bircat Cohanim.

When we say Barukh we are acknowledging that God is the ultimate source of every blessing in our lives. Everything we have, beginning with our life, is a gift/blessing from God. Barukh inspires gratitude. And it invites us to find His presence in things that we take for granted. When taking seriously, thinking about Barukh or any other word in the Amida, could take us more than a few seconds.