Rabbi Nissim Lagziel: Express Your Gratitude with Moshiach & Redemption


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    Rabbi Nissim Lagziel: Express Your Gratitude with Moshiach & Redemption

    From the desk of Rabbi Nissim Lagziel, mashpia in Oholei Torah: This week’s parsha, Ki Savo, begins with the laws of bikkurim which include two positive mitzvos, the bringing of first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash and the bikkurim declaration. One of the simple reasons for these mitzvos is the obligation to thank G-d for all that He gave, gives, and will give us, materially and spiritually • Full Article

    By Rabbi Nissim Lagziel


    During a public parade, an elderly man asked if he could approach Stalin and express his heartfelt gratitude to the Supreme Leader. When Stalin generously agreed, he stepped forward and said, “I can’t thank you enough, Comrade Stalin, for giving me a wonderful childhood!”

    One of Stalin’s aides interrupted, “What are you talking about? When you were a child, Comrade Stalin wasn’t even born yet!”

    The old man replied, “And that’s why I’m thanking him!”


    This week’s parsha, Ki Savo, begins with the laws of bikkurim which include two positive mitzvos, the bringing of first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash and the bikkurim declaration. One of the simple reasons for these mitzvos is the obligation to thank G-d for all that He gave, gives, and will give us, materially and spiritually.

    This is alluded to in the wording of the verse and explained even to a young child by Rashi. On the verse that begins the bikkurim declaration, “I declare this day to the Lord, your G-d,” etc. Rashi says, “and say to him – that you are not in ingrate.” The purpose of the mitzva is to acknowledge the kindness of G-d for all that happens to us and to thank Him.

    For precisely the same reason, the Men of the Great Assembly enacted the blessings. As we know, there are three categories of blessings: 1) birchos ha’shevach – blessings of praise; 2) birchos ha’nehenin – blessings over things that give us pleasure; 3) birchos ha’mitzvos – blessings said when doing a mitzva. The main purpose of the blessings of praise and thanks, and even blessings over pleasurable things, is to implant in our hearts the feeling of thanks and to eliminate any ingratitude for all the good things that happen to us and around us.

    But what about Moshaich? Is there is a mitzva to thank G-d for this wonderful good thing, the coming of Moshiach and the Geula? If yes, how? What blessing do we say and when?

    The Rebbe once addressed the subject and said, “If we say the blessing of shehechiyanu upon seeing a friend after not seeing him for thirty days, surely when we merit to see Moshiach Tzidkeinu the first time we will need to make the ‘shehechiyanu’ blessing!” (Leil Simchas Torah 5749; Hisvaaduyos vol. 1, p. 207)

    Just like there is an obligation to thank G-d upon seeing a friend, if you haven’t seen him in thirty days, all the more so should we say a blessing upon seeing Moshiach, because many more than thirty days have passed since we’ve been waiting for him! Interestingly, the topic of saying blessings upon seeing Moshiach isn’t new and isn’t even limited to Chabad Chassidim or Chassidim in general. The first one to discuss this was Rabbi Chaim Palagi [d.1868], one of the great sages of Izmir of all time. In his sefer, Lev Chaim (vol. 2, siman 42) he paskens that one should recite five blessings upon seeing Moshiach. They are:

    1-Boruch Ata … go’al Yisrael – similar to what we recite at the Seder for the Geula from Egypt. Surely we will need to say the same blessing, with much more kavana, for the future Geula.

    2-Boruch Ata … shecholak mei’chachmaso lirei’av – the blessing we are required say when we see one of the outstanding sages of Israel and surely Moshiach is one of them.

    3-Boruch Ata … shecholak m’kevodo lirei’av – the blessing we are required to say upon seeing a Jewish king whose honor is part of G-d’s honor. And surely Moshiach’s malchus is no less than that of earlier Jewish kings.

    4-Boruch Ata … chacham ha’rozim – a blessing that we say when more than 600,000 Jews gather. Believe me, with Moshiach’s coming there will be a larger gathering than 600,000 …

    5- Shehechiyanu.

    Interesting though, we don’t find any mention of these (or any) blessings in the Rebbe’s sichos in connection with Moshiach’s coming and that itself needs a reason! I’ve seen many others who have raised the issue and we will try to sum up what they say (to the best of my understanding).


    The first blessing, go’al Yisrael (He who has redeemed Yisrael), can only be said after the Geula. That means that when we see Moshiach for the first time, that will be too early to say this blessing! We will have to wait until after the third Mikdash is built, the Jews gathered, and a restoration of the fulfillment of mitzvos in Eretz Yisrael before we can say with assurance that the Geula has already come. Then we can say this blessing in the past tense.

    As far as blessings two and three, there are those who cite a story that happened a few days before the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz. On Sunday, 4 Shevat 5710, a group of tmimim from Russia (who had been in France till that point since their escape) came to see the Rebbe. Before they went in for yechidus, they went to Ramash. One of them, later the well-known R’ Sholom Morosov a’h, asked Ramash whether to say the bracha, “shecholak mei’chachmaso lirei’av” when he saw the Rebbe. Ramash said no, since the Rebbe is above this!

    If that’s true for the Rebbe Rayatz, then all the more so for the Rebbe MH”M! Perhaps this would hold true as well regarding the bracha “shecholak m’kevodo lirei’av” that the Rebbe is above this!

    Likewise, they also cite an interesting story about the Chasam Sofer that in a conversation with one of the gaonim of Pressburg (R’ Meshulam) about why the Rambam left out this bracha from his sefer (in the laws of blessings) one of the gaonim said, “This law about the bracha over Jewish sages does not apply nowadays when we don’t have the legal status of a talmid chacham, and in the future, when the earth will be full of knowledge it won’t be a novelty that would require a bracha.” That is, in the future, “all Israel will be great sages and know hidden matters” (as the Rambam puts it in Hilchos Melachim 12, 5). If each of us is considered a great sage, why would we say this blessing?

    As for the “chacham ha’rozim” blessing, perhaps we will address that a different time as space is short.

    Let’s focus on the blessing that everyone agrees needs to be said – shehechiyanu. There is another blessing which is very similar and that is “ha’tov v’hameitiv.” These two brachos are recited over the same events and happenings. The difference between them is that when a single person takes pleasure in something, only he says shehechiyanu. If that pleasure is shared by many, then they should say “ha’tov v’hameitiv” – tov for me and ha’meitiv to others with me.

    If so, it would seem that the right blessing to say when seeing Moshiach is “ha’tov v’hameitiv” and not shehechiyanu because, after all, that will be the biggest pleasure one could have and it includes us all! So why say shehechiyanu?

    Many have discussed this, sefardim and ashkenazim, Chassidim and Litvaks, Chassidim and those who aren’t (yet) Chassidim. Each one has an interesting answer.

    Some say that “ha’tov v’hameitiv” can only be said when a person actually receives “good,” i.e. a financial benefit like rainfall which is needed for the fields or an inheritance divided among family members, etc. However, when seeing Moshiach, a person doesn’t have any benefit yet. He has (lots of) simcha and over simcha one says shehechiyanu, and not “ha’tov v’hameitiv!” In other words, “ha’tov v’hameitiv” is said over a material benefit while shehechiyanu also includes spiritual joy.

    Others want to say that “ha’tov v’hameitiv” is said only on a shared benefit of partners or family members and although everyone benefits and all will rejoice over the Geula, there is no collective rejoicing; each one rejoices on his own over the same event. And there are many other explanations and views. Let’s not forget the main thing. The main thing is that Moshiach should come! Then we will know what to recite and what not. (If we don’t know, we can always ask Moshiach himself!)


    We will end with a story that shows how Moshiach needs to recite shehechiyanu over the fact that he finally gets to redeem the Jewish people from exile and personally carry out his true mission in life. As we know, Moshiach is called a metzora, one who is downtrodden and suffers and yearns for the moment of his hisgalus.

    A story along those lines happened in the time of the Baal Shem Tov. A man was sick for a long time. He was known as a righteous person. When the Baal Shem Tov went to this man’s town, the man gave him money as a pidyon nefesh so the Baal Shem Tov would pray for him.

    One of the talmidim said to the Baal Shem Tov, “Why not ask for mercy on this person? He is a tzaddik.”

    The others around the Baal Shem Tov were surprised that even though the man give him money, it didn’t help him.

    Said the Baal Shem Tov: “It is fitting that he remain sick in bed.”

    The student was shocked and continued to implore him and then the Baal Shem Tov said, “I will reveal to you that in the forest there are hoodlums who want to kill Jews. This man is a tzaddik. Through his suffering he protects Jews. Soldiers have been sent to catch these murderers. In another three days they will bring them to town in chains. Then this man will get out of bed and be healthy.”

    And so it was. When the townspeople went to see the prisoners brought to the town, the man recovered and got out of bed.

    Good Shabbos!


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