Baruch shekevanta ldaat gedolim

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 6, 2009
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In the beit midrash, a student suddenly yells, Ive got it. I think I can explain the Gemara! She then does so, brilliantly. Her fellow students are amazed, Wow, did you come up with that yourself?

Well, yeah, kinda, is the modest reply. Her teacher also congratulates her by saying, Baruch shekevant ldaat gedolim and tells her that her interpretation is identical to the one of the great medieval commentators.

Baruch shekevanta (kevant for a woman) means Blessed [is God] for your intention was that of the great intellectual giants [gedolim]. It is a compliment in the form a blessing. When those jointly engaged in scholarship witness flickers of the brilliance of past giants within a colleague, the appropriate response is to thank God for the vibrant link with the past.

The blessing of baruch shekevant/a implies that it was not a mere coincidence that one had independently composed the same ideas as a great luminary, but that paradoxically one had unintentionally intended to do so, i.e. that it was ones kavanah intention. Our creative forces function on the subconscious level and there we may have intentionality of which we are not always conscious.

    Last updated: 12:32pm, March 6 2009