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Parshot/Festivals

Always see Hashem’s love in what He does for us

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Rabbi Yonatan Landau

Ohr Somayach Savoy

On hearing this, Rav Yisrael declared that he now understood why we recite the “shehakol” blessing before drinking water. The blessing declares that everything came into being through the word of Hashem.

The choice of words seems puzzling: Why such an all-encompassing recognition of Hashem is required for someone thirsty for a glass of water?

Now we understand that we are using the opportunity of thanking Hashem for the water to also recognise the myriad other things that He has given us. The glorious sky, trees, fresh air and all that surrounds us.

Furthermore, this can be taken further if we look at the blessing after water.

We bless “Borei Nefashos” after foods that are not bread or flour based, nor one of the seven species which the Land of Israel is praised for. Therefor it is a very all-encompassing blessing. In it we thank Hashem for creating us with “lackings” and “for all that You created”.

What do these words refer to? This is describing two different types of food that we thank Hashem for.

There are foods that satisfy our basic needs like water, meat, chicken and milk. Then there are foods that are not necessary, but are very enjoyable like mangos, peaches and candy.

When having drunk a glass of water, we seize the opportunity to thank Hashem for not only providing us with what is necessary for healthy survival, but for additional pleasures of life that He bestowed on us.

With a closer look, we see that Hashem didn’t only provide delicacies for us, but He even made their appearance appealing. Imagine if an apple would be grey? What if a mango was black? Would we enjoy it as much?

Look at the amazing array of tastes that the world of food has to offer – not only different species, but different types within a species, each with a unique taste. 

This week’s parshah places restrictions on what we may and may not eat. We only permitted certain land animals, fowl and fish.

In the context of what we recognise when we bless over a glass of water, clearly Hashem does not seek to deny us and make us suffer. Rather, says the Ramban, it is because food can affect one’s spiritual capacity to fulfil his mission and thus He guided us as to which foods help us attain this goal. Hashem should bless us to always see His love and care in whatever He does for us.

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