A Brief History Of The Tradition Of Blessings

('רגלי חסידיו ישמור (שמואל א' פרק ב' פסוק ט

('רגלי חסידיו ישמור (שמואל א' פרק ב' פסוק ט

We all send blessings cards for birthdays, holidays, new year evenings and promotions at work: Nowadays we might use much more “sophisticated ways” and tools like email, sms, Facebook or twitter account, send videos or music files, but the principle is the same:

We bless people and we wish them the best, using any way we can: paper card, E- card or voice massage: In Jewish communities we bless every Saturday night Shavua Tov שבוע טוב to bless the coming week.

But what is the source of the tradition of  blessings? A previous midrash says that when God wanted to bear the universe, all the letters appeared and stood in front of him for an audition. This letter said:”Within me you will bear the universe”, and that letter said:”Through me you should create the universe”.

Each and every letter offers a sensible reason why God should bear the universe with it. God, who is infinitely patient, listens to all of them and their cases, when finally he decides to bear the universe with the letter Bet בּ because the word blessing בְּרָכָה starts with letter Bet בּ. (compare with this)

What this midrash is trying to tell us is that if we want to start anything in life, that we want it to exist and to continue, we have to think first, if our idea is blessed, if it can benefit the other, because that is the reason of creating the universe: to benefit the other.

This is the reason, for blessing in every occasion or opening, or making a toast: to simply withdraw a thread of grace on what we do, to create continuity.

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About Eti Shani

Eti Shani was born in Israel and has been teaching Hebrew for more than 10 years with a special interest and experience in ancient Hebrew scriptures and culture. She's also the author of a series of books for novice and intermediate Hebrew learners.

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