Last class, we continued reviewing the second bracha of Shemoneh Esrai and focused on the various ways G-d can and does make salvation sprout. Today, we will complete our look at the second bracha with a reminder and quick discussion on the overall theme of this blessing before moving on to the third bracha next week. As a reminder, the second blessing states:
“You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the Resuscitator of the dead are You; abundantly able to save. [He makes the wind blow and He makes the rains descend]. He sustains the living with kindness, resuscitates the dead with abundant mercy, supports the fallen, heals the sick, releases the confined, and maintains His faith to those asleep in the dust. Who is like You, O Master of mighty deeds, and who is comparable to You, O King Who causes death and restores life and makes salvation sprout! And You are faithful to resuscitate the dead. Blessed are You, Ha-Shem, Who resuscitates the dead.”
Today we will be focusing on the bolded text – “And You are faithful to resuscitate the dead. Blessed are You, Ha-Shem, Who resuscitates the dead.”
As we discussed in the first class on this bracha, the overall theme of this blessing is focused on G-d’s strength and His might. We discuss His power to sustain the living, to support the fallen, and to heal the sick. We mention His might and deeds more than once and discuss the various ways it might manifest in this world.
We also discussed, however, how G-d perfectly blends His strength with His kindness. All of these deeds discussed in the blessing – healing the sick, releasing the confined, and especially resuscitating the dead – illustrate G-d’s strength and kindness. Even making the wind blow and the rains descend shows both strength (the mighty power of wind and rain) and kindness (think about the need of rain for our crops). Of course, the blessing most focuses on – and concludes – by mentioning G-d’s ability to resuscitate the dead. This conclusion makes perfect sense when considering the overall theme of this second blessing – the perfect fusion of strength and kindness. Could there be a greater manifestation of strength than the ability to bring a deceased individual back to life? As we discussed in an earlier class, any mortal has the ability to kill but it is only G-d who can restore life. This restoration is also the greatest possible manifestation of kindness.
Though we have discussed it multiple times over the past few classes, our biggest takeaway from this blessing may be our ability to personalize this act of kindness. Presumably, none of us has yet to experience resuscitation in the classical sense. But, as we discussed in weeks past, we can still think of times we personally have been resuscitated. Every morning when we open our eyes, we have been resuscitated from sleep. And every time we’ve awoken from a spiritual slumber, or general malaise, we have relied on G-d’s kindness. Though the resuscitation may not be as grand or as shocking as revival of the dead, if we look close enough we will find reason to thank G-d for our own personal resuscitation as well.