QUESTION: The verse says, "All of the nations shall praise Hash-m... for He has shown His abundant kindness to us" (Tehilim 117). The Gemara asks why the nations thank Hash-m if He showed His kindness to us. It answers that the verse means that the nations should thank Hash-m for the wonders that He did with them, and certainly we must thank Hash-m for the wonders that He did for us, because with us He has been extra benevolent.
What does the Gemara mean? What kindness did Hash-m do for the nations that obligates them to praise Him?
(a) The RASHBAM (DH a'Gevuros) explains that Hash-m constantly does wonders for the world at large. All people throughout the world benefit from Hash-m's kindness, as He provides them with sustenance, life, and all of the marvelous elements of the world that provide them with their needs and give them pleasure. Since they benefit, they should also thank Hash-m. How much more so must we thank Hash-m, for His kindnesses to us are abundant.
(b) RASHI says that the nations should thank Hash-m because they saw that Hash-m did great wonders for the Jewish people. The MAHARSHA, however, points out that the wonders of Hash-m were done in order to save Yisrael from the evil plans of the nations. Why, then, should the nations thank Hash-m for those wonders?
The BRISKER RAV (Chidushei ha'Griz Al ha'Torah, Tehilim 117) explains that there are two types of blessings that can be recited on a miracle. The first type is a "Birkas Hoda'ah," a blessing of thanksgiving, which is said by the beneficiary of the miracle in order to thank Hash-m for what he has been given. The second type is a "Birkas ha'Shevach," a blessing of praise. Even a person who did not directly benefit from the miracle should say a "Birkas ha'Shevach," a blessing of praise, when he sees something awe-inspiring. For example, one who sees lightning or an exceptionally beautiful natural wonder should recite this blessing.
The nations are required to recite this second type of blessing, a Birkas ha'Shevach. That is what the verse means when it says, "Halelu Es Hash-m Kol Goyim." The Gemara says that how much more so must we bless Hash-m, because besides the blessing of praise at the awe-inspiring miracle, the Jewish people are also obligated to recite a Birkas Hoda'ah, for they are the direct beneficiaries of that miracle.