When the Skulener Rebbe was imprisoned in Rumania, he determined to use his time wisely. He began to review all the daily prayers, to insure that when he would pray he would do so knowing the full meaning and intent of every word. When he reached a certain phrase, “Baruch gozer u’mekayem (“Blessed is He who decrees and fulfills – from the Baruch She’amar blessing), he was a bit puzzled. Generally, when we talk about a decree, we are referring to what we perceive of as a negative, seemingly evil phenomenon. Why then do we thank Him for carrying out evil decrees?”I will not leave this prison cell, even if I am freed, until I uncover the meaning behind this phrase.”

The Skulener pondered this phrase for days and days, attempting to ascertain exactly what was the intent of this prayer. He even announced, “I will not leave this prison cell, even if I am freed, until I uncover the meaning behind this phrase.”

Finally, insight came; revelation dawned upon him. The word “fulfills” does not refer to the Al-mighty who issues the decrees — the subject of the verse. It refers to mankind, the object. G‑d enacts the decree and also gives (or has given) us the strength to endure it, to withstand the trial. In understanding this verse, we must read it, “Blessed is He who decrees and enables us to fulfill.”