Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Baruch HaShem” (Blessed is the Lord)

On the whole, blessings are worded in the plural: our God, who commanded us.

That is, they are expressions not of the individual but of the collective, and they are directed toward a general situation.

We might mention here that before his recognition as a great teacher, the Baal Shem Tov used to engage people in the most casual conversation, asking them, “How are you?” “How goes it?” and the like.

When he was asked why he did so, he replied that he only wanted people to say, in formal response: “Baruch HaShem” (Blessed is the Lord).

Every Jew who said this phrase, honoring the Holy One Blessed Be He, raised the throne of the Almighty, making it firmer and steadier.

But in addition to the general contents of blessings, there is at the same time the individual who turns to God and who receives something in return

At least a portion of the blessedness comes back in the performance of the mitzvah.

There is a drawing down of sacred current.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz