Kitzur Tefilat Amecha #52-53

[adapted by Rabbi Shmuel Jablon from Rav Aviner's three-volume commentary on the siddur "Tefilat Amecha"]

One of the ways in which we describe Hashem in the Shemoneh Esrei is El. This is one of Hashem’s names, and relates to Chesed. Therefore, in the Shemoneh Esrei, after we twice describe Hashem as El, we say that he does “good Chesed.” By saying this now, when we are praising Hashem, we are recognizing that everything we have in our lives is due to Hashem’s Chesed and mercy. We are not entitled to any of it. Without this Chesed, nothing would remain.
We describe Hashem’s Chesed as “good.” Can there be Chesed that is not good? There are certainly things that may appear to us as good, but turn out to be bad. For example, if a parent gives a child too many sweets, the child may think it is good - but it’s really bad. But all of Hashem’s Chesed is good. Sometimes we don’t see the “big picture” and feel that things are not good. But eventually, even if it takes many years, it becomes clear that Hashem has indeed done Chesed for us. The Gemara in Pesachim notes that in this world we say the blessing of “Dayan Ha-Emet” for bad news and “Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv” for good news. But in the world to come we will only say “Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv” as we will recognize that everything Hashem does it truly for the good.

The first blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei ends with our blessing Hashem as the protector of Avraham. Despite all of the difficulties and challenges Avraham faced, he was protected. He experienced many miracles. The Rambam says that the closer someone gets to Hashem the more Hashem protects him. Avraham was so close to Hashem that Hashem always protected him. This protection carries down for all generations, even if it is at a different level then Avraham had. Klal Yisrael, as a Nation, has this protection, and we need to be thankful to Hashem for this special gift.