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Thought for the Day: Tagging On To David haMelech's Bracha

Halichos Shlomo brings an interesting counsel to help one who is in a quandary about whether or not he needs to make a bracha.  That is to "tag on" to the bracha of Dovid haMelech recorded in Divrei haYamim and also recited in shacharis each morning:
Vayomer Dovid, "Baruch atah HaShem, Elokei Yisrael, Avinu mei'olam v'ad olam."  -- "Blessed/Praised are You, HaShem, G-d of Israel, Our Father from [this] world to the [coming] world."
That is, suppose you can't remember if you made a bracha on that yummy cake you are eating.  The eitza would be to say over that quote and then add one, "u'borei minei m'zonos."  That is, you are saying a pasuk (which you are always allowed to do) but with kavana also for the intent that Dovid has when he said it (a bracha), and then adding on additional praise, thus fulfilling your obligation to not benefit from this world without making a bracha.  Halichos Shlomo made several caveats -- which you should certainly know before actually trying this at home (as well as confirming with your local Orthodox Jewish rabbi) -- but two in particular stood out.

First, this advice should only be taken when there is a real safek about whether or not a bracha is required.  Meaning to say not in a case where the poskim have decided that no bracha is to be made because of "safeik brachos l'hakeil".  For example, taking lulav and esrog for the first time bein hashmashos.  Bein hashmashos is safeik yom safeik laila; therefore the p'sak is that one should take (ie, wave) the lulav and esrog (safeik d'oraisa l'chumra), but not make a bracha (safeik brachos l'hakeil).  The cake example above is not a situation where the poskim have bandied about that situation and come to a conclusion.  It is rather a case where one is simply stuck.  The reason we don't want to use this advice willy nilly is not to denigrate the concept of making a bracha.  Making a bracha is engaging the Creator of the world in a one on one conversation about how much you appreciate how much He does for you.  If you get in the habit if just saying a pasuk and adding some words before you eat, you have relegated the bracha to an incantation.  Not cool.

The other point seems small, but is really huge.  To be a bracha, the statement must include both HaShem's name (which this pasuk does) and malchus (which is ... ummm...).  Says Halichos Shlomo, malchus is there: Avinu -- our Father.  From here we see that a melech is not a ruler who has the approval of the nation.  A melech is a father who is running things for the benefit of his children.

We often note in halacha, "b'rov am hadras melech".  We need to constantly remind ourselves, "banim atem la'Shem."


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