Recently I heard a beautiful explanation of the Bracha of Shehechiyanu from Reb Yoel Unger. The Bracha of Shehechiyanu has so many words and could have been made shorter. We say “Blessed are You, King of the World”, then we say “You gave us life (Shehechiyanu), You sustained us (Vikiyamanu), and You brought us to this moment in time (Vahigiyanu lazman ha’ze).” The Bracha could have been shortened to say, “Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the World, who brought us to this time.” Why all these words?
Also, it’s an interesting Bracha. It rhymes: Shehechiyanu, Vikiyamanu, Vahigiyanu Lazman Haze. How are we to make sense of all of this?
Tosofos in Tractate Succah says that the Bracha is made from time to time, it’s a Bracha on the times. We making this Bracha for events that recur in the world. Shchechiyanu for the new holidays and new fruits that come every year, for appreciating the way the world works in cycles. For the birth of a child there is a Schehechiyanu as well. The Almighty sends us many good things, and this is the reason for all the words that we have in this Bracha.
Shehechiyanu ~ Hashem gives us life.
Vikiyamanu ~ and He sustained us all along the way from the time He gave us life until now. Vahigiyanu ~ and He brought us to this time.
This past Motzie Shabbos I made this Bracha over the Chanukah lights. And I cried. How wonderful it is to look back at all the places that I have been and I see that Hashem is still taking care of me. He gave me life, and he has sustained me until this point, and he has brought us to this time.
It was on Motzei Shabbos the we got confirmation that Ahuvah Nava was going to be coming home on the first day of Chanukah. The first day of Chanukah is the 25th of Kislev. The Mishnah Berurah explains that it is called Chanukah because Chanu (they rested) on Ka, the 25th. The Chashmonaiem came into the Beis Hamikdash and they had to disassemble the Mizbeiach that had been used prior and build a new one because the former altar had been used for idol worship.
They reinaugurated the Beis Hamikdash, but this was not the same Beis Hamikdash that they had been thrown out of by the Yevanim. The Yevanim decreed that doing the service in the Beis Hamikdash was punishable by death. And the Bach tells us that the reason the service in the Beis Hamikdash was taken away from them is that they became lax in its service. As Reb Ellie Shus once explained to me, the experience of the Chashmonaim was what can be referred to as the cornered tiger syndrome. When the tiger is cornered, he will fight his hardest. And when the Jewish people were threatened with the loss of the service of the Bais Hamikdash, they fought there hardest. So the House they came in to was not the House they left. The House they came into had been fought for, and was therefore at a much higher level.
My wife and I left our home on the 21st of the month of Chesvan, November 6, Election Day to stay at the hospital. Coming home on the first day of Chanukah, the 25th of Kislev, we know that it was not the same home that we had left. We left the home of a husband and wife and we are inaugurating our home as a family. This is the song of Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habais, Psalm 30, the dedication, the song, that was written to be said at the dedication of the first Bais Hamikdash, a song that is appropriate for all new beginnings.
Yesterday we arrived at our new base camp. It is from here that we will plan our future growth and our future adventures. The Master of the World is ever bringing us higher to new base camps, new opportunities. When it is appropriate for us to rest and camp, may we appreciate those times in our lives, and may we also appreciate those times in our lives when it is appropriate to climb.