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Beirach: Reciting Grace

Beirach: Reciting Grace

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The third cup of wine is poured and the following passages are recited:

שיר A Song of Ascents. When G‑d returns the exiles of Zion, it will be as if we had been dreaming. Then, our mouth will be filled with laughter and our tongue with songs of joy. Then they will declare among the nations: “G‑d has done great things for these.” G‑d has done great things for us; we have been joyful. G‑d, return our exiles as streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with joyous song. He who goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, will surely return singing joyously, carrying his sheaves.1

לבני By the sons of Korach, a psalm, a song whose theme is [praise for] the holy mountains [of Zion and Jerusalem]. G‑d loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Yaakov. Glorious things are spoken of you, eternal city of G‑d. I will remind Egypt and Babylon concerning My beloved; [to] Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia [I will say:] “This one was born there [in Zion].” And to Zion it will be announced: “This and this person was born there,” and He will establish it as supreme. G‑d will count in the register of people, “This one was born there;” Selah. Singers and dancers [will praise Jerusalem,] saying: “All my inner thoughts are focused on you.”2

אברכה I will bless G‑d on every occasion; His praise is always in my mouth.3 The ultimate [truth is]: All is known. Fear G‑d, observe His commandments, for this is man’s entire [purpose].4 May my mouth speak the praise of G‑d, and may all flesh bless His holy name forever.5 And we will bless G‑d from now until eternity. Halleluyah!6

One rinses one’s fingertips. In contrast to the custom throughout the year, one does not pass one’s fingers over one’s lips. Before the rinsing, the following is said:

זה This is the portion of a wicked man from G‑d, and the heritage designated to him by G‑d.7

After rinsing one’s fingers, the following is said:

וידבר And he said to me: ‘This is the table before G‑d.’ ”8

Grace is said over a cup of wine and/or grape juice. The cup is held in the palm of one’s right hand. It is held three handbreadths (approx. twelve inches) above the table until the conclusion of the blessing boneh Yerushalayim (“who rebuilds Jerusalem in His mercy”), at which time it is placed on the table. It is raised again at the conclusion of grace, for the blessing: borei pri hagafen (“the Creator of the fruit of the vine”).

This is the portion of a wicked man

Mayim acharonim, the washing before grace, removes the spirit of impurity that comes from occupying ourselves with material concerns. One year, at the Seder, the Mitteler Rebbe asked the Alter Rebbe: “In the Era of the Redemption, when G‑d will ‘remove the spirit of impurity from the world,’9 what will be the function of mayim acharonim?”

The Alter Rebbe answered: “It will be for those who involved themselves in worldly matters with pure intentions. After telling this story, the Previous Rebbe concluded, “Then it will be possible to wash mayim achronim with a silver vessel.”10

When there are three or more adult males eating at the Seder, grace is introduced as follows:

רבותי(Leader:) Gentlemen, let us say grace.

(The others respond:)

May G‑d’s Name be blessed from now and forever.

(The leader repeats that response and continues:)

With your permission masters, teachers, and gentlemen, let us bless Him

(if ten or more adult males are present, he substitutes

our G‑d

#for

“Him”)

of whose bounty we have eaten.

(The others respond:)

Blessed be He

(if ten or more adult males are present, they substitute

our G‑d

for

“He”)

of whose bounty we have eaten and through whose goodness we live.

(The leader repeats this response.)

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe who, in His goodness, nourishes the entire world with grace, kindness, and mercy. He gives food to all flesh, for His kindness is eternal. Continuously through His great goodness to us, we do not lack food; and may we never lack it for the sake of His great name. Because He is G‑d, who nourishes and sustains all, who does good to all, and who prepares food for all His creatures which He has created, as is stated:11 “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living being.” Blessed are You, G‑d, who provides food for all.

In His goodness, [He] nourishes the entire world with grace, kindness, and mercy

G‑d’s life energy is far above material expression. For Him to “nourish the entireworld” on this material plane requires a prodigious dimension of “grace, kindness, and mercy” (the Alter Rebbe).12

נודה We thank You, G‑d, our L‑rd, because You have given our ancestors a precious, good, and spacious land as a heritage; because You, G‑d, our L‑rd, brought us out of the land of Egypt and redeemed us from the house of bondage; for Your covenant which You sealed in our flesh; for Your Torah which You taught us and for Your statutes which You made known to us; for the life, favor, and kindness which You have graciously bestowed upon us; and for the food we eat with which You constantly provide us and sustain us every day, at all times, and at every hour.

We thank You and bless You

The Hebrew word “bless” (ברוך) also has the connotation “drawn down,” as in the Talmudic expression,13 “One who draws down (מבריך) a vine.” Mankind has the potential to draw down G‑d’s Presence, causing Him to be manifest in material things (Ibid.).14

ועל For all this, G‑d, our L‑rd, we thank You and bless You. May Your Name be blessed by the mouth of every living being continuously and forever, as stated:15 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless G‑d, your L‑rd, for the good land which He has given you.” Blessed are You, G‑d, for the land and for the sustenance.

רחם Have mercy, G‑d, our L‑rd, on Israel Your people, on Jerusalem Your city, on Zion the dwelling of Your glory, on the kingship of the House of David Your anointed, and on the great and holy house upon which Your name is called.

Our G‑d, our Father, our Shepherd: the One who grants us food, nourish us, sustain us, and provide us with prosperity. And speedily, G‑d, our L‑rd, grant us relief from all our afflictions. Please, G‑d, our L‑rd, do not make us dependent on the gifts of mortals nor upon their loans, but only upon Your full, open, holy, and generous hand, that we may never be shamed or disgraced.

{On the Sabbath, the following paragraph is added:}

רצה May it please You G‑d, our L‑rd, to strengthen us through Your commandments and through the commandment of the seventh day, this great and holy Sabbath. For this day is great and holy before You, to refrain from work and to rest on it with love, in accordance with the commandment of Your will. May You, G‑d, our L‑rd, in Your good will grant us tranquility; that there be no distress, grief or sorrow on the day of our rest. And show us, G‑d, our L‑rd, the consolation of Zion, Your city, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Your holy city, for You are the Master of all deliverance and the Master of all comfort.

During the following passage, the person leading grace should raise his voice slightly when reciting the phrase zachreinu A-donai.... (“Remember us... G‑d”). Those assembled should answer Amen after the words letovah (“for good”), liverachah (“for blessing”), and lechayim tovim (“and for good life”).

אלהינו Our G‑d and the G‑d of our fathers, may there ascend, come, reach, be noted, be favored, be heard, be recalled, and be remembered before You — our remembrance and notice, the remembrance of our ancestors, the remembrance of Mashiach, son of David, Your servant, the remembrance of Jerusalem, Your holy city, and the remembrance of Your entire people, the House of Israel, for deliverance, well-being, grace, kindness, mercy, good life, and peace on this day of the Feast of Matzos.

Remember us on this [day], G‑d, our L‑rd, for good. Notice us on it for blessing. Deliver us on it for a good life. With the promise of deliverance and mercy, have compassion on us and be gracious to us. Have mercy on us and deliver us, for our eyes are directed to You, for You, G‑d are a gracious and merciful King.

ובנה And rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our days. Blessed are You, G‑d, who rebuilds Jerusalem in His mercy. Amen.

The cup of wine is put on the table.

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, the G‑d who is our Father, our King, our Might, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Maker, our Holy One, the Holy One of Yaakov, our Shepherd, the Shepherd of Israel, the King who is good and acts beneficently to all, each and every day. He has done good for us, He does good for us, and He will do good for us. He has bestowed, He bestows, and He will forever bestow upon us grace, kindness, mercy, relief, salvation, success, blessing, help, consolation, sustenance, nourishment, mercy, life, peace, and all good. May He never deprive us of any good forever.

הרחמן May the Merciful One reign over us forever.

הרחמן May the Merciful One be blessed in heaven and on earth.

הרחמן May the Merciful One be praised for all generations; may He be glorified through us forever; may He be honored through us for eternity.

הרחמן May the Merciful One sustain us with honor.

הרחמן May the Merciful One break the yoke of exile

(alt.

“the yoke of nations”)

from our necks and lead us upright to our land.

הרחמן May the Merciful One send abundant blessing into this house and on this table from which we have eaten.

הרחמן May the Merciful One send us Eliyahu the Prophet, of blessed memory, and may he announce good tidings to us, salvation and consolation.

{Many follow the custom of adding16

May the Merciful One bless our master, our teacher, and our Rebbe.

The following lines are recited even if one’s father is deceased.

הרחמן May the Merciful One bless my father and my teacher, the master of this house and my mother and my teacher, the mistress of this house, them, their household, their children, and all that is theirs; ourselves and all that is ours. Just as He blessed our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov “in all things,”17 “by all things,”18 and “with all things,”19 so may He bless all of us

(when a gentile is present:

the children of the Covenant)

together with a perfect blessing and let us say: Amen.

ממרום From On High, may merit be invoked upon him and upon us to bring an enduring peace. May we receive blessing from G‑d and justice from G‑d, our Deliverer. May we find grace and good understanding in the eyes of G‑d and man.

{On the Sabbath, the following line is added:}

הרחמן May the Merciful One cause us to inherit the day which will be completely Sabbath and rest for eternal life.

הרחמן May the Merciful One cause us to inherit the day which is all good.

הרחמן May the Merciful One grant us the privilege of reaching the days of the Mashiach and the life of the World to Come. He is a tower of salvation for His king and bestows kindness upon His anointed, upon David and his descendants forever.20 He who makes peace in the heights, may He make peace for us and for all Israel. Let us say: Amen.

יראו Fear G‑d, you His holy ones, for those who fear Him suffer no want. Young lions are in need and go hungry, but those who seek G‑d will not lack any good.21 Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.22 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living being.23 Blessed is the man who trusts in G‑d; G‑d will be His security.24

The cup of wine is raised and the following blessing is recited:

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

We drink the cup while we recline on our left side.
The cups are refilled. An additional cup of wine is poured for Eliyahu the Prophet. It is the custom of the Rebbeim to fill this cup themselves.
The prevailing Lubavitch custom is that all the doors between the room where the Seder is conducted and the outside are then opened. The passage beginning Sh’foch (“Pour out”) is then said; those sent to open the doors recite it at the front door. When Pesach falls on a weekday, a lighted candelabrum is taken in hand. There is no need to stand while reciting this passage.

שפוך Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name, for they have devoured Yaakov and destroyed his dwelling.25 Pour out Your anger against them, and let the wrath of Your fury overtake them.26 Pursue them with anger and destroy them from beneath G‑d’s heaven.27

We wait for those who were sent to open the doors to return, and then begin the Hallel.

An additional cup of wine is poured for Eliyahu the Prophet

The commentaries note28 that there is a difference of opinion in the Talmud as to whether one is obligated to drink four or five cups of wine on Pesach.29 Since this dispute is not resolved, they explain, a fifth cup is poured but not consumed. Instead, it is left for Eliyahu, because “the Tishbite will come and resolve all questions and disputes.”30

Without discounting the cleverness of this interpretation, a distinction must be made between the two practices. The fifth cup is a hiddur, the observance of the mitzvah in a manner which reflects precise care, and which is carried out by only a select few. The cup of Eliyahu, by contrast, is an expression of the Jews’ faith in the coming of the Future Redemption. Like that redemption it is relevant for every Jew (the Rebbe).31

All the doors... are opened

Our Sages state:32 “What G‑d Himself does, He commands the Jews to do.” The custom of opening the doors on Pesach night indicates that in the Heavens as well, all the doors are opened. Every Jew, regardless of his conduct throughout the year, has the potential to reach the highest levels. He can leap — the meaning of the word Pesach — to heights totally beyond his current spiritual rung (Ibid.).33

Once the Rebbe Rashab told the Previous Rebbe: “Yosef Yitzchak, [during the Seder,] in particular, when the doors are opened, we must think about being a mentsch, and G‑d will help. Don’t ask for material things, ask for spiritual things.”34

There is no need to stand while reciting this passage

Although this is a time of great inspiration, one must master one’s feelings, calmly sitting rather than rising in excitement (the Rebbe Maharash).35
Footnotes
1.
Psalm 126.
2.
Psalm 87. Our translation is based primarily on the gloss of Metzudas David.
3.
Psalms 34:2.
4.
Ecclesiastes 12:13.
5.
Psalms 145:21.
6.
Psalms 115:18.
7.
Job 20:29.
8.
Ezekiel 41:22.
9.
Zechariah 13:2.
10.
Sefer HaSichos 5702, p. 92ff.
11.
Psalms 145:16.
12.
Likkutei Torah, Korach 65c.
13.
Kelayim 7:1.
14.
Torah Or, Yisro 74d.
15.
Deuteronomy 8:10.
16.
See Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. IV, p. 429. :}
17.
Genesis 24:1.
18.
Ibid. 27:33.
19.
Ibid. 33:11.
20.
II Samuel 22:51.
21.
Psalms 34:10-11.
22.
Psalms 107:1.
23.
Psalms 145:16.
24.
Jeremiah 17:7.
25.
Psalms 79:6-7.
26.
Psalms 69:25.
27.
Eichah 3:66.
28.
See Sefer Taamei HaMinhagim, sec. 551.
29.
See the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch, sec. 481, based on Pesachim 118a.
30.
Tosfos Yom Tov end of tractate Ediyos.
31.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 48ff.
32.
Shmos Rabbah 30:9.
33.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1298.
34.
Sichos Chag HaPesach, 5702.
35.
As quoted by the Previous Rebbe, Sefer HaSichos 5704, p. 81.
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