Tag Archives: blessings

Brachot

From the Mailbag (reworded).

We have brachot that we make at every moment in the day. We make brachot (blessings) on food that we enjoy eating, and on seeing a beautiful sight like a rainbow, on circumcising a baby and on celebrating a marriage, and even on exiting the bathroom. When we meet a king or queen there is an appropriate bracha to be made, when it thunders and lightnings – there’s one for that too. There seems to be a bracha for almost everything we do in our Jewish lives. So how come we don’t have a bracha for sex?

Good question. Anyone?

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Rub a Dub Dub, Thanks for the Grub….

It’s a funny little line, but at bensching time growing up when we were amongst friends, we would jokingly say “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub, Yaaaaay God!” I am sure this falls way short of the grace after meals that we are supposed to say. It’s up there with making fun of the mezuman – “rubber tires never break” or “rub my thigh with a rake” – typically puerile stuff. My kids have tried it a time or two at the Shabbat table and gotten a lot of grief for it. It IS offensive AND inappropriate. Just because I said it in my not-so-misspent youth doesn’t make it right.

Lately I have been trying to improve myself, and instead of taking on something that I know I cannot keep to, I have decided to work on Brachot (blessings) and not using my mouth for foul language and Lashon Horah (evil speech, gossip).

My KoD is a wonderful inspiration on the Brachot front. I have never seen him bite into something or drink something without making the right bracha. It would never occur to him to forget. It is ingrained in him to thank God for everything he eats and drinks. I am an FFB (frum from birth) and have had brachot said around me forever. Yet, somehow, it does not occur to me a lot of the time. I wonder why this is. I will remind the boys to wash for bread, and bensch after. I will remind them to make all their brachot and when they come out of the bathroom I will nudge the little one to say that special bracha. But when it comes to me, I constantly forget. I am trying so hard to remember, and to be mindful. I find if I am mindful of everything I am doing, I am more likely to make a bracha. But sometimes in our helter skelter oh-so-busy lives, we shovel food in on the go, and do not stop to think.

How can I get myself to remember all the time? I asked the KoD how he does it. After all he is not an FFB and as an adult he had to train himself at some point. He told me that he doesn’t perceive it as a choice. You want to eat – you have to thank God first. It’s that simple. (Trust a man to be so logical!!) Sometimes I am not even sure which bracha I am supposed to say – but the kids seem to be knowledgeable on that front, and if not the KoD for sure knows.

So, do you have any tips and pointers for me?

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Dear Lord

Here I stand, at the holiest place that we can access, the Western Wall, the Wailing Wall, the Kotel. I am humbled to be stood here in front of you. I am grateful and thankful for all that I am, all that I have, for I know it comes from you.

 

I remember 16 years ago coming here to pray to you. I was so young and in such deep and throbbing pain and wanted so much. All I craved was a normal life. I asked you to send me a husband, and children, and a happy life. I stood here and cried while praying for those blessings. I cried from the heart, I bared my soul. I wanted a happy life so I could forget the pain. Dear Lord, that is exactly what you sent me. You sent me a man with whom I fell deeply in love, we married, and you blessed us with the four most perfect children parents could ever have hoped to have. The pain receded. Along the way I forgot to thank you for answering my prayers, for giving me all that I had ever wanted. For that I apologize, and I thank you, here, today, now for all that I have.

 

I stand here today 16 years later, my life in the last three years has radically changed. So much has happened, so much turmoil, so much more pain, so much suffering, yet still so many blessings, so much joy. In even my darkest hour I knew you were there, however I turned away from you. I could not accept that the power of your decision was there to help me, to improve me, to make me stronger, to make my life better. Yet even as I turned from you, you were there holding my hand, cradling my head on your shoulder, drying my never-ending tears. Even though I had forsaken you, you never forsook me, never. You waited patiently until I opened myself back up to you.

 

When I had no faith left in the world, or in myself, you had faith, you believed, you knew I could turn it all around. You knew I had what it took, it just took time for me to see it. You never left my side, never showed disappointment at my lack of faith. You have been an understanding and forgiving G-d, who strengthens me every day. You gave me the will to continue – how can anyone ever begin to understand the enormity of such a gift?

 

Hashem, you have healed me many times, but this last time, my spirit was so broken that it took a truckload of miracles on your part. Every day that I have is a miracle. To be able to wake up to face a new day without dread, but with joy and gratitude, – to me that is a tremendous miracle. I have a love for life now that I never could have imagined existed. I will never forget where I was, for because of that I appreciate where I am today.

 

Dear Lord, today I brought my 13 year old son with me to pray. Look at him standing there, so tall, so proud, so moved by this experience. You blessed him with life, you gave him me as a mother, and you gave me the inner strength to raise him and his brothers to be God fearing Jews, to practice the way of your People. I hope I never let you down.

 

Look, God, look at him. He is the future of Judaism, he is the way forward, and that is only because of the gifts you have blessed us with. Because of your constancy and strong presence in our lives, he and his brothers are able to believe with a full heart and soul. They have no doubt in their minds about your truth.

 

Thank you oh Lord for the abundance of your gifts, for the scope of your generosity. The mere fact that I stand here, at the Kotel, in Israel, with my eldest son, speaks of how much you have given me. I have been able to bring my son to his land, to soak up the holiness in this place, because you pulled me through, because you healed me, because you helped me to see my inner strength and grow with it.

 

In the zchut (merit) of the blessings you have showered us with, I ask you to bless these people that I am davening for. Some are looking for their beshert, some need a refuah (healing), some just need guidance in their life, and some just need to feel your presence a little stronger in their lives. I wish for them that they feel the way I do, that even if they are faced with challenges, that they know that you, our God, will pull them through. I wish them the knowledge that all that you do is for the good.

 

There are things I want to pray for, for myself, but this time all I ask is continued health and happiness for my family. I know you will send me what I need when the time is right, and that you know what is right for me. Just please give me the continued strength to raise my boys in the right way. They are my life and our future.

 

Hashem, we teach our children that you are everywhere at every time. I think that in the past I have forgotten that, or even taken it for granted. It has been so important to me to come here to thank you, to pray to you, for even though you are around me always, here the power of your shechinah (divine presence) is at its most awesome.

 

When I leave here today, I will back away from the wall as tradition dictates, I will not turn my back on it, just as you have never turned your back on me. I relish your presence in my life, I welcome it. I thank you for the opportunity to bring my son to bask in your glory. I pray that you can read my soul, for my words, well, they feel as if they lack the necessary depth to say what I have needed to say.

 

Dear Lord, hear my prayer, bring us all home, may all of your children find peace. Amen.

 

Your daughter,

Hadassah

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