This blessing serves as an opening for the “Verses of Praise” (Pesukei De’Zimra). In the following passages of praise, we tell of the greatness of the Creator and the way He is manifest within creation, with the aim of arousing our emotions.
As an initiation to these verses, we recite “Blessed is He Who spoke…” (Baruch Sheamar), a prayer which expresses the wonder and awe of creation and how it is continually being recreated by Divine word.
Although creation had a beginning, it is continuous. God creates and recreates this world anew with each moment. This is an empowering thought to contemplate—that each moment gives us an opportunity to return to God in teshuvah, to start anew no matter what our previous errors were.
Thus, the first letters of the opening words Baruch Sheamar V’haya Ha’olam (“Blessed is He Who spoke and the world came into being”)—beit, shin, vav, hei—spell out “return.” We can only return to God through teshuvah if we are fully aware of the continuous renewal of creation. This gives us hope. If time would only flow linearly, then the past would inevitably dictate the present and future, and there would be no hope for us. But, when we are aware of the continuous flow of creation—that each moment represents a fresh beginning—we can pray with unimpaired joy.
Baruch Sheamar contains 87 words, which is the numerical value of the word paz, meaning “pure gold.” As it says in Psalms (21:4): “You set on his head a crown of pure gold (paz).” This, then, is a prayer of the finest quality, and it is also the golden crown of the entire Pesukei De’Zimra.
The word baruch (“bless”) appears thirteen times in this prayer. The number 13, the numerical value of echad (meaning “one”), inspires us to realize the oneness, uniformity and harmony within nature.
During this prayer we gather together the two front fringes of our prayer shawl (tzitzit), an action which evokes the Source of all blessings, God. God’s essential four-letter name—spelled yud, hei, vav, hei—has the numerical value of 26. Each corner fringe of the prayer shawl has 8 strings and 5 knots, adding up to 13, and when we gather the two front fringes together, we hold 26.
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