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Heralded With Blessings

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The opening prayer of Pesukei D’zimra is Baruch She’amar – Blessed is He who Said. It is a prose poem that uses an anaphora, a literary style in which the same word is repeated at the beginning of each sentence.  In this case, the word is baruch, blessed. 

Baruch She’amar is meant to put a person in the mind-frame of praise. A person who must write a speech about someone else, first writes down a list of that person’s accomplishments (let’s see, he wrote a book, cycled around Europe, chaired this committee, etc.).  In the world of prayer, Baruch She’amar lists some of the reasons we humans should desire to praise God: He created the world, He maintains the world,  He rewards good deeds, He has mercy on the earth and on creatures, He rewards those who fear Him, He is eternal, etc.

In addition to being a song of praise, Baruch She’amar is itself a blessing, signifying the sanctity of the prayers that follow. 

Baruch She’amar heralds in the Pesukei D’zimra, and just as a herald stands to announce the king or the king’s visitors, Baruch She’amar is recited while standing.  

The Mishna Berurah (a halachic compendium by  Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan Poland, 1838–1933, a.k.a. the Chofetz Chaim) records an interesting legend about the origin of Baruch She’Amar. According to the Mishna Berurah , Baruch She’amar was composed by the Men of the Great Assembly based on the words found on a message that fell from the heavens, on which this prayer was written.

Copyright © 2013 NJOP. All rights reserved.

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