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Dear Mogen David Family,

Ninety-nine percent of Berachot we recite were enacted by the Rabbis. While many of the subsequent actions we perform after making a Beracha are fulfillments of the Taryag Mitzvot (shaking the Lulav, donning Tefillin, affixing a Mezuza, etc...), the actual Beracha itself is Miderabbanan. In fact, the only Beracha which, according to all opinions, is from the Torah, is in our Parasha (other possibilities, debated by the Poskim, are Birchat HaTorah, Birchat Kohanim, Beracha Me'en Shalosh [known as Al Hamichya], and perhaps Zimmun. "V'achalta, V'savata, U'verachta Et Hashem..."--and when you eat and are satisfied, you will bless Hashem--this pasuk in Parashat Ekev serves as the source and chiyuv for the Mitzvah of Birchat HaMazon.

If we study the pasuk above we notice it only refers to a Beracha Acharona, a blessing after one eats. The Gemara in Masechet Berachot Daf 35a inquires regarding the obligation to make a Beracha Rishona, a blessing before we eat. After a number of difficult attempts to answer this question the Gemara concludes the source, surprisingly, is based on Sevara, basic logic: If one is obligated to recite a blessing after one eats and is already satisfied, certainly one is obligated [Miderabbanan] to make a beracha before one eats. In our modern age of material gain and, to our dismay, entitlement, this Sevara seems strange. We are conditioned to say 'thank you' when we receive a benefit, but what is lost in the current generation is the ability to anticipate a favor with a 'please.' The Gemara informs us otherwise. Asking Hashem to benefit from something in His world ("LaHashem Ha'aretz U'meloah") is so obvious it would have been foolish for the Torah to command us to say a Beracha. Even stronger, the Gemara tells us that whomever benefits in this world without making a Beracha is as if they stole from HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Starting this Parasha let us strengthen the Berachot we recite each day, in Tefilla, at meals, after using the bathroom, and before performing Mitzvot. Let us also try to remember the purpose of Berachot--to strengthen our relationship with, and awareness of, our Creator. As the Chachamim promise us: he/she who makes Berachot will receive many Berachot--Ken Yehi Ratzon!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi




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