Tzav 5769 – Birchas HaChama

Once every 28 years we have a special blessing that we recite called Birchas HaChama. The last time it was recited was 1981 which means that we will be reciting it, B’ezras Hashem (with G-d’s help), this year on Erev Pesach, April 8. As one of my friends said, “This is something I do not want to miss.” It is so rarely said which makes everyone get very excited about this moment. This is actually the first time I am ever going to say it, as last time I was a toddler. People are lucky if they say this blessing 3 times in their lifetime and if they say it 4 times, then they are extremely lucky. It is a very exciting time.

Although it is proper for us to get enthusiastic, we must remember that there are even greater things we can do. This week’s parsha begins by mentioning the Trumas HaDeshen, removal of the ashes from the altar, which happened every night. It states “the fire should constantly burn on the altar”. Literally, we learn that the fire on the altar is not to be extinguished, even during the nights, which was a time period when no offerings were brought. But it can also teach us something else: that a person should always have a fire burning inside of themselves. In other words, a person should always be excited about performing mitzvos. We should certainly get “fired up” about Birchas HaChama, but this excitement needs to brought into our daily lives. Having excitement to say a blessing once every 28 years is not good enough.

I once heard a story of a man preparing himself for Shofar blowing on Rosh HaShana. The man started swinging back and forth with his arms flying in the air. He put his tallis over his head and closed his eyes so he could concentrate on every noise from the Shofar. Someone commented, “if he only did this every day when he says Asher Yatzar (the blessing after going to the bathroom).” It is beautiful that this man has so much concentration on the Shofar blowing, but this is easy. Shofar blowing only happens once a year. Of course a person gets excited over something that does not often happen. The great person, though, is one that gets “fired up” constantly; the person that does not let the fire in his heart be extinguished.

As we recite Birchas HaChama next week, take this excitement and bring it into everyday’s life. Don’t let this moment pass without doing something extra. Take one bracha: either Asher Yatzar or Al Hamichia or Shehakol or Baruch She’amar or any of the other brachos and take upon yourself that you will say it with extra excitement. Or learn two halachos regarding Brachos each day. Or take upon yourself that you will say 100 brachos a day. Or do something else, but make sure you do something. This is a great moment and we do not want it pass without doing something about it. In 28 years we will be saying this blessing again: what will our blessing recitations look like then? We can make them look as bright as the sun if we grow from this experience.

Good Shabbos and Chag Kasher V’Sameach!
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