June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

With all respect to Mitchell First, whose expertise in Hebrew linguistics and etymology is exceptional (“The Three Meanings of the Root ‘Bet-Resh-Caf’,” March 24, 2022), I would like to offer what I believe is the true explanation of the phrase “Baruch Atah Ado-nai.”

Rav Chaim Volozhin in his classic “Nefesh HaChayim,” chapter 2:2, writes that “Baruch” means to increase. We cannot increase anything for HaShem, He is perfect. When we say, “Baruch Atah Ado-nai,” we mean, “May God’s glory, may the awareness of God, increase and spread in this world to all humanity.” We are saying, “Please increase Your Presence in Creation.”

My Chumash Rebbe at YU, Rabbi Pesach Oratz, many years ago taught, that in English as well as in Hebrew, the English letters BR, PR and FR, and Hebrew letters Beis, Reish and Peh, Reish and Feh, Reish; all have similar ideas: to sPRead, sePaRate, PaiR, BReak, be FRuitful, FRacture, PaRRy, BRanch, inteRPret, and in Hebrew: BReishis, P’Ru U’rvu, lishBoR=to break, miFoRshim, PeiRush, u-FaRatztah, NiFRad, the Shabbat labor—BoRRer.

How delightful our task in life is to bless HaShem and sPRead His awareness to mankind.

Martin Polack
Teaneck
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