Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson

To Contemplate the Action or the One Who Acts


Various Rabbis

Gemara: What does he say [as the beracha for bread]? "... hamotzi lechem min haaretz (the One who took out bread from the land." Rabbi Nechemia says: "... motzi ... (who took out ...). Rava explained: regarding motzi, everyone agrees that it means that He took out (Rashi - we require the beracha to be in the past, for Hashem already took this bread out of the land)... The halacha is to say "... hamotzi lechem min haaretz," for we accept the opinion of the Rabbis, who say that hamotzi also refers to the past.

Ein Ayah: There are two possible ways to contemplate the greatness of Hashem in a manner that will bring a person to true love and awe of Him. One is to look in a scientific way at His complete actions, which are arranged in wisdom, kindness, justice, and straightness.
The second way is by having the scientific look lead to an emotional look, so that one yearns to love Hashem and be in awe of His loftiness and glory. It is true that by taking a scientific look, one does not normally come to understand Hashem’s essence. However, by allowing one’s heart to imagine and one’s spirit to desire, a coveting [of a connection] for the One who created all of these elements of nature can sprout forth.
The question is how a person should guide himself in this regard. Is it enough for a person to take an intellectual approach alone, allowing the internal excitement of the spirit to come on its own? Or, must he cognitively focus on the information with an eye toward creating a yearning for a connection to the very essence of Hashem’s glory that is loftier than any knowledge. Such a feeling cannot be known or calculated because it is beyond any calculation.
This is the difference between "hamotzi" and "motzi." Motzi (who took out) relates to the One who acted only from the perspective of His action alone, without getting into His characteristics. This represents our being interested in recognizing the significance of the action alone (in this case, the development of the grain that was turned into bread). By saying hamotzi (the One who took out), with the letter ה serving as an article, we touch on the internal, emotional element of seeking out the glory of Hashem from the perspective of Hashem Himself who did the action. His actual glory is greater than all the grandeur we can picture by contemplating His actions alone. This understanding of the heart is an outcome of the internal light in the nature of the human spirit. It becomes activated when we remove the roadblocks that impede it, allowing it to naturally go up to its glorified place. This experience is referred to by such p’sukim as "My soul is thirsty for You; my flesh yearns for You" (Tehillim 63:2).
We accept the opinion that hamotzi also applies to the past, thus making it true to the simple, external meaning of the beracha, which is to thank Hashem for producing the grain. This is something that all people are able to relate to. Since one does not detract from this basic meaning, there is great gain to adding the ה, thereby arousing those who have wise hearts to contemplate the greatness of their Maker with as clear a view as they are capable of. In that way, they can jump from the action to the One who acted and from the past into the future.
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