Thursday, August 9, 2012

Giving thanks for the simple things...even for a morsel of bread

This week’s parsha continues discussing the commandment to bless Hashem after you have eaten and are satiated. Thereafter, the sages instituted the prayer of Birkat Hamazon- Grace after meals- if a person eats a kezayat- size of an olive- of bread.

When the Jews received the Heavenly mann in the desert, they were able to see Hashem’s kindness. When they entered the land of Israel and had to sow and reap their own harvest, they were still  aware of Hashem’s hand in allowing their land to reap results. How great their emunah was in Hashem; despite the fact that they had to work the land, they knew that their efforts were rewarded by Hashem. In our lives, we may devote much of our efforts to our work; however, it is all in Hashem’s hands if our efforts are successful or not.

The first blessing of the Birkat Hamazon allows us to acknowledge Hashem’s kindness upon bestowing us with food, despite the fact that we had to labor for it.

The second blessing is over the land of Israel. In the merit of the brit mila, Hashem gave the Jewish people the land of Israel. Additionally, we thank Hashem for the Torah He graciously gave us, thus the ultimate purpose of the Land of Israel is to observe and perform Hashem’s mitzvot.

The third blessing is for peace in Jerusalem and the Bait Hamikdash. King David and King Solomon established this blessing so that their rulership, their dynasty, and peace would continue. Now, we pray for the rebuilding of the temple.

The fourth blessing was added to honor the Bar Kochba rebellion, where a great miracle occurred.

A person should have the same concentration when reciting the Birkat Hamazon as he does when he is reciting the Shemona Esrei- Amidah, 18 blessing prayer. Additionally, the Grace after Meals should be said with intense joy and happiness for the meal that was graciously given to us by Hashem. We should all strive to keep this in mind next time we are fortunate enough to be nourished and sustained by Hashem.

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