A Bracha, (a blessing), what is a blessing?
By Jeffery Kanter
We Jewish people have been making blessings for thousands of years.
But what is a blessing. Are we giving a blessing to G-d for what
he has given us?
When we give a blessing to a friend, it's like wishing that good
things should happen to him. Is this the same towards G-d? Can
we do such a thing? What is it that G-d lacks, that our blessing
can do something?
To answer these questions, there is a famous story about Rabbi
Elimelch, the Rabbi of Lesinsk who lived about two hundred years
ago. Another Rabbi came to visit Rabbi Elimelch, who was known
far and wide for being a Tzaddik, (a pure and righteous man).
As they sat together conversing, the visiting Rabbi, who
was a distinguished scholar, yet did not achieve the level of holiness
and saintliness that Rabbi Elimelch had reached.
"Tell me, Rabbi Elimelch, we both are scholars, well versed
in the Jewish law. Yet you have reached a level of saintliness
and holiness far beyond me. Explain to me, please, what is the difference between us? What is it that you possess that I don't?"
Rabbi Elimelch pointed to the bowl of fruit, set before them on
the table. "When you want to eat an apple, do you make a
blessing to G-d?"
"Certainly I do!" the visiting Rabbi answered.
"Ah, that's the difference. You see, when I want to make
a blessing to G-d, I eat an apple. When you want to eat an apple you first make a blessing. That is the difference."
What this story is coming to tell us is that blessing is a method
that we can use to become close to the creator of the world. True,
it thanks him for His goodness. But it can also bring us to a
higher level of consciousness in being aware of G-d.
||The visiting Rabbi used the blessing to thank G-d for His goodness,
which is quite acceptable and commendable. But Rabbi Elimelch
used the blessing in a different way. He used it to get close
to G-d. The apple was just a medium for being able to do this.|
We too, when the opportunity comes for making a blessing, we can
use it to increase our awareness of the Supreme Power of the universe.
The more blessings that we make, the more we can increase our
That's the point of making a blessing. It is like we do something
for G-d; we cause him to be with us down here on earth instead
of hidden up there in the heavens.
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For more of the same, see our Torah Insights Archives
from the November, 1997 Edition of the Jewish Magazine