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most times, the beginning of a beracha is Baruch Atah Adonai, etc. which is usually translated as Blessed are You God, etc.

what does it mean to say that God is blessed? (on the surface it implies someone blessed Him therefore He is blessed.)

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Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/12706 –  msh210 May 11 at 21:25

4 Answers 4

Pathways to Prayer understands ברוך (Baruch) to be an adjective similar to רחום (Rachum - source of mercy), meaning that HaShem is the source of all blessing.

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so what are we saying "You Adonai, are the source of all blessing, who commanded us to put on tefilin." doesn't quite fit. perhaps it means the source of everything? –  ray Jun 19 at 18:41

The word ברוך is related to the word בריכה, which means a spring. A spring is a source of water which (from our perspective) is increasing its flow without drawing on any previous source. Baruch Ata means "You are the source" - Hashem is the ultimate Source of all existence, and it is the "flow" of "energy" which He infuses into Creation which sustains and maintains it.

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would you say this is the pshat? –  ray May 12 at 7:38
    
@ray I'm not sure exactly what you mean with that word. I think it is a rigorous way of defining the word, and I think it happens to fit nicely with the idea of the Nefesh Hachaim, which I would have brought if it wasn't in another answer, of bringing out life from the Source of life. –  YeZ May 12 at 18:45

In Nefesh Hachaim Sha'ar 2:2, Rav Chaim Volozhin understands blessing to be a request for abundance. He explains that by saying Baruch Atah Hashem, we are effectively requesting for God to manifest himself with greater abundance in this world. I am not a kabbalist, and do not truly understand what this means, but there you go.

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Rabbi Yosef Albo, in Sefer Ha-Iqqarim / The Book of Roots, ma'amar sheini, perek 26, elaborates a definition:

ברוך שם משותף, יאמר על מקבל הטוב והשפע מזולתו...ויאמר על נותן הטוב והשפע לזולתו...וזה כי ברכה שם נאמר על ריבוי ותוספת טוב ושפע, וכשיאמר על המקבל ברוך פָּעוּל....וכשיאמר על הנותן יהיה ברוך שם התואר

Barukh is an amphibolous term, used [both] for one receiving good and influx from another...and for one giving good and influx to another....and this is because brakhah is a term denoting increase and addition of goodness and influx, and when it is used for the receiver, [the form of the word is to be construed as] a passive....and when it is used for the giver, [it is to be construed as] an adjective.

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