The Tabernacle Times
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November 2018 ......................... Cheshvan - Kislev 5779 ......................... Volume 13 Issue 11

Hebrew Berachot (Blessings)

Angela Kunkel
by
Angela Renee Kunkel
 
If you enjoy something in this world without saying
a blessing, it is as if you
stole it.

~Talmud Berachot 35A

Brachot (blessings or benedictions) are the fundamental components of prayer. The verb root berech means to “bow” or bend the “knee” and thus indicates an act of submission to the Holy One. Maimonidies, one of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time, classified blessings into three categories: (1) those recited before “experiences of
Universe, who remembers the covenant, is faithful to the covenant, and fulfills His word.
On seeing the ocean or the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in thirty days:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has made the great sea.
On seeing trees blossoming for the first time
in the year:

Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has withheld nothing from His world, but has created in it beautiful creatures and trees for human beings to enjoy.
On seeing beautiful scenes of nature:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has [created] such things in
His world.
On seeing unusual people or animals:
Who makes [all] creatures different.
enjoyment,” such as food and drink; (2) those recited for the privilege of performing religious commandments, such as hearing the shofar, wearing the tallit, and kindling the Sabbath lights; and (3) those that “express petition, thanksgiving, or praise” in public or private worship, such as Grace after Meals.

Every blessing begins with “Baruch-Ata-Adonai” (“Blessed are You, G-d”) and is a statement of recognition. It states, “You, G-d, are the source of all blessing.” This statement is a humble reminder that it is not “my power and might of my hand” that has gained me this wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:17). It is expressing our dependence on the Holy One, acknowledging that He is the source from which everything comes to us.

Our Father Abraham was an inspiration to us all by inspiring his guests to ‘give G-d a try’! According to the Midrash, when Abraham pitched his tent in Beersheba, he placed it in the middle of an intercity highway. With the majority of travelers passing by, Abraham made sure he was noticed. His tent was open on all four sides so that anyone and everyone knew they were welcome and could stop and enjoy a royal feast. At the end of the feast the guests would want to thank Abraham for his hospitality. Abraham would reply, “HaShem provides our food and sustains us moment by moment, to Him we should give thanks”. Abraham would exhort his guests to bless G-d. Those who complained and did not want to recite the blessing were asked for payment for the meal. However, after the reluctant learned how much a steak, loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine cost in the middle of the desert they often conceded and offered blessing to HaShem.

Legend or tradition cites that we should recite at least one hundred blessings each day. The Midrash explains this based on the verse in Leviticus 1:2, “When any of you (mi-kem) presents an offering of cattle to the L~rd”. The Hebrew word “mi-kem” has a numerical value of 100 (mem=40; kaf=20; mem=40). It is taught that the biblical verse includes the word mi-kem to teach us that whoever fulfills the obligations to recite 100 blessings each day is considered as if he or she offered a sacrifice.

The Rabbis formulated blessings for practically every aspect of human existence from common experiences of daily life to unusual occurrences. On my first journey to Israel, I had the pleasure to have met a Jewish man who explained, “to truly understand the heart of a Jewish person, you must understand how he prays”. It was on that occasion I purchased a Siddur (Jewish prayer book). I spent several hours that evening reading my new prayer book and felt a variety of emotions. I became fully aware of how important it is to acknowledge the One who is the source of all goodness. This brings me to the list of blessings in the Siddur relating to sight, sound, and smell. Perhaps this section is there to help us appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the world around us.

Blessings on Pleasures, Sights, and Sounds

On wearing new clothes:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who clothes the naked.
On smelling fragrant shrubs or trees:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who creates fragrant trees.
On smelling fragrant herbs, grasses or flowers:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who creates fragrant plants.
On smelling fragrant fruit:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who gives pleasant fragrance to fruits.
On smelling persimmon oil:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who creates pleasing perfume.
On all other scents:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who creates the various spices.
On seeing the wonders of nature, such as lightening, and on the 28-year solar cycle:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, Author of creation.
On hearing thunder or experiencing a hurricane:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, whose power
On seeing a rainbow:

Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the and might fill the world.
            (Continued at top of next column)

  On hearing good news from which others as well as oneself will benefit:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who is good and does good.

Siddur

On hearing bad news, and said by a mourner before the ritual tearing of the garment:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, the true Judge.
On seeing an outstanding Torah scholar:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has given of His wisdom with
human beings.
On seeing an outstanding secular scholar:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has given of His wisdom with
human beings.
On seeing a Monarch or Head of State:

Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who has given of His glory to
human beings.
On seeing 600,000 Jews together in Israel:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who knows all secrets.
On seeing Jewish settlements in Israel:
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who establishes the border of
the widow.
On seeing the place where miracles occurred
to Jewish people:

Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in this place.
On seeing the place where miracles occurred to oneself or one’s family (insert relevant words):
Blessed are You, L~rd our G~d, King of the Universe, who performed a miracle for me (my father / my mother / my ancestors) in this place.

The Holy One is the source of all things. Everything we can see, touch, hear, taste, smell, and experience are due to the Creator of the Universe. In the Book of Luke, chapter 5, a man brings a paralyzed man on a stretcher in hopes Yeshua can heal him. The crowds of people were gathered around the Messiah so much so that the man could not get to Him. With much faith the man lowered the paralyzed man from the roof, stretcher and all, right down in the middle of everyone, right before the Messiah! Yeshua healed the paralyzed man in front of everyone, including the skeptical Torah Scholars and Pharisees. The paralyzed man took up his bed and went on his way glorifying G~d. Verse 26 states, “Astonishment took hold of them (the Torah scholars and Pharisees), and they glorified God and all were filled with awe, saying, “We’ve seen incredible things today!” After witnessing this amazing event, the unbelievers became believers and literally offered brachot (blessings) to G~d.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of Hebrew blessings listed in the Siddur. Blessing HaShem for each detail of our daily experience points to a deep inward appreciation for the good things He provides for us throughout our day. Yeshua said, our heavenly Father knows the very number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). If our eyes are open to the Holy One’s grace, we too will notice His provision even in the smallest details of our lives and we will thank Him for His care. Reciting blessings is a means of expressing your gratitude for the gift of life that the Holy One has freely given to you. Engaging the mind with the awareness that the Holy One is the Source of all that is good is a means of increasing your joy in this life. That is what the Hebrew blessings are
all about.


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The Tabernacle in Branson The Tabernacle is an outreach of Tabernacle of Praise Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Tabernacle is led by Messianic Rabbi Jeremy Storch and is located in Branson, Missouri. If you have questions or comments, please email us at: info@TheTabernacleInBranson.com. Visit The Tabernacle Website at www.TheTabernacleInBranson.com