Why Does G-d Need So Many Blessings?

Friday, 28 July, 2023 - 12:27 pm

Did you know that Jewish law mandates reciting at least 100 blessings daily? Multiply that by the number of people who follow that law, and that’s hundreds of millions of blessings each day. Did you ever wonder why G-d needs those blessings? Shouldn’t it be reversed? Maybe Hashem should bless us 100 times a day. What’s the deal with all those blessings?

First of all, I would argue that blessing G-d is important for us to develop our “gratitude muscles.” Each time we bless G-d, we recognize that the source of life and everything in it, is Hashem.

Over the next two weeks, I would like to offer a deeper peek at the text of the blessings.

The opening of each blessing is “Baruch Atah Ado-nai Elo-heinu Melech Ha’olam” Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the Universe. If it’s blessing before a Mitzvah, we add “asher kideshanu bmitzvotav vitzivanu” Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to…

Why do we refer to G-d in three different ways, You, L-rd, Our G-d? Why do we call G-d King of the Universe? Despite the popularity of the British Royal family as a curiosity, monarchism is not exactly a form of governance that is heavily embraced. How does Hashem sanctify us with His Mitzvot?   

Let’s explore the meaning of each of these words.

Baruch – literally means blessed. The three root letters of Baruch are: Bet, Reish, and Chaf. A deeper meaning of Baruch are the two words that are etymologically related. Mavrich, which is an agricultural term that means to take a branch and bend it down to the ground to strengthen the tree. In modern agriculture it is called “layering.” The second is Breicha, or pool (of water). In this context, Baruch means that we are calling on Hashem to draw from His pool of beneficence and bend those blessings in a Divine flow towards us so that we can experience them in our daily lives.

Atah – literally means you. In this context we refer to the aspect of Divinity that transcends the association with a name. We address His Essence and ask that the Divine flow (in both applications) come from His Essence.

Ado-nai – is actually a substitute for Y-H-V-H – the ineffable name of G-d. Here we ask that the Divine flow from His Essence, come to us by means of the Divine Manifestation that transcends the act of creation. This allows the Divine flow to remain potent and powerful.

Elo-heinu – this name of G-d comes with the most empowering and uplifting suffix. In Hebrew placing a nun/vav at the end of a word, makes it plural possessive. Our G-d. Hashem allows his name/identity to be wrapped up in ours. Hashem wants our connection to be personal. The great transcendent G-d who is all powerful, is my G-d. As we say in our festival prayers, Your great and holy name You have proclaimed upon us. How wonderful it feels to know that Hashem is proud of His association with us.     

G-d willing next week we will explore the second half of the text. In the meantime take a moment to contemplate these profound ideas before you rattle off a bracha – blessing to G-d.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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