12 Cheshvan 5782 / Monday, October 18, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
dot  Add to favorites   dot  Set as homepage  
    Create an account    |    Sign in
    My Account     Orders History     Help
  My Country:  
  United States   
   My Currency:  
  US Dollar   
Home Page Torah Portion Spirituality and Faith Foundations of Judaism Inspirational Stories Family & Daily Life Holidays and Fast Days Israel and Society
   Heart of the Parsha     Chassidic Pearls     Chana’s Blessing     Parsha Beams             
Orot HaRav Kook  
HomeTorah PortionOrot HaRav KookYitro: Blessings on Miracles
  Advanced Search

Yitro: Blessings on Miracles    

Yitro: Blessings on Miracles

A blessing over a miracle, as our sages teach us, needs to include recognition of the positive effects of its accompanying details...


Translated and abridged by Rabbi Chanan Morrison
Parshat Yitro
When Moses's father-in-law Jethro heard all that God had done for the Jewish people, he rejoiced and said:
"Blessed be God, Who rescued you from hand of Egypt and the hand of Pharaoh, Who liberated the people from Egypt's power. Now I know that God is the greatest of all deities: the very thing they plotted came on them!" (Ex. 18:10-11)
The Talmud derives from Yitro's blessing the rule that we should recite the blessing "Who made miracles for our fathers in this place" when seeing the place where a miracle occurred for the Jewish people. (Berachot 54) Yet, this is difficult to understand. Jethro did not say his blessing when visiting the Red Sea, but when he met the Israelites in the desert. How could he serve as an example for this bracha, said specifically when viewing the location of a miracle?
Appreciating All Aspects of a Miracle
We need to analyze the concept of blessings over miracles. When we thank someone for helping us, we feel most appreciative if the helpful act was done expressly for that purpose. If, on the other hand, the kindness did not require any special effort — the benefactor was planning to undertake this action in any case — then our feelings of gratitude will naturally be less. Thus, when we bless God over a miraculous deliverance, we feel completely indebted and thankful, as the entire action occurred especially for this purpose.
In addition, when an act is caused directly by God, then not only is the overall goal for the ultimate good, but also all details and side-effects that stem from it. Thus, we should be appreciative not only of the miracle itself, but also for any accompanying details. This includes the location of the miracle, which at some point in time benefited or will benefit from the miracle.
This is what the Sages learned from Jethro. A blessing over a miracle needs to include recognition of the positive effects of its accompanying details. Besides thanking God for the overall rescue ("Who liberated the people from Egypt's power"), Jethro also mentioned the details of that rescue: they were saved from the hands of the Egyptian people, and from Pharaoh's hands. For one can suffer at the hands of an evil people, even if the king is kind; and one can suffer at the hands of a cruel king, even if the people are sympathetic. In Egypt, the Jews were the unfortunate victims of the cruelty of both the people and the king.
Furthermore, Jethro recognized that the punishment of Egypt was in like measure ("mida kneged mida"). "The very thing they plotted came upon them." The Egyptians drowned Jewish babies, so they were punished with drowning in the Red Sea. Here was an additional detail that reflected the ultimate justice and goodness of the miracle in all of its aspects.
(adapted from Ein Eyah vol. II, pp. 243-244)
* * *
Rabbi Chanan Morrison of Mitzpeh Yericho runs http://ravkookTorah.org, a website dedicated to presenting the Torah commentary of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, to the English-speaking community. He is also the author of Gold from the Land of Israel (Urim Publications, 2006).

New Comment    New Comment
   See More Articles By Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook zatza”l
   Read more about Orot HaRav Kook

Top of article    Top of article       Email This Article    Email This Article          Share to Facebook       Print version    Print version

 Join the distribution list Join the distribution list
If you would like to receive other related articles or Breslev.co.il features via e-mail, please enter your e-mail address here:


 Related Articles Related Articles

Religious Rage               Vayeshev: The Conflict Between Joseph and Judah               Two Stages of Redemption
 Religious Rage  Vayeshev: The Conflict Between Joseph and Judah  Two Stages of Redemption

  0 Talkbacks for this article     

Add Your CommentAdd Your Comment    Add Your Comment    

In Honor of:    In Memory of:
Like What You Read?
Help Breslev Israel spread the light of Rebbe Nachman
across the globe, and be a partner in making a better world.
Click here to support Breslev.co.il
 Products of the Day Products of the Day
Back  1 2 3  Next
Back  1 2 3  Next
 Most talked about Most talked about
Up  1 2 3  Down
 Most read Most read
Up  1 2 3  Down
 Facebook Facebook
 Mailing List Mailing List
Subscribe Here:   


open toolbar