using every opportunity

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-siddur4Fiddler on the Roof teaches us that there is a blessing for everything in Judaism (including the czar)! One can come to the same conclusion with careful analysis of a siddur or halachic work that discusses blessings.

The Koren Siddur, for example, actually lists some of the rarer blessings to be found in siddurim, including the blessings over: seeing a rainbow, hearing thunder, seeing lightning, coming to a place where a miracle has occurred, etc. We also discover that many of the morning blessings were initially intended (and many still do this) to be recited while performing certain actions, such as the blessing over the body after using the bathroom, the blessing over crowning Israel with glory when covering one’s head, and so on.

 

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Part of the wisdom behind halachot of blessings is to instill in us an appreciation of our lives and teach us that there is a response required from us whenever we encounter even the most basic aspects of our existence. This is at the core of the middah of zerizut (diligence, enthusiasm). Nothing that comes into our lives should be ignored or avoided. We are required to encounter and, in that encounter, to respond. This principle applies to many spheres of our lives. In the sphere of the mitzvah of blessings, it shows up through the requirement to see God as worthy of blessing for nearly everything.

Granted, there is no blessing for showing up to work on time; showing up to work on time is a part of diligence. But there is a direct relationship between our diligence in blessing God and our diligence in daily responsibilities. Halachah, in general, removes the veil between the spiritual and physical, and reminds us that creation is good and that we are empowered to make it holy. Our daily lives do not become holy by us making them more “spiritual.” They become holy when we acknowledge God as Lord over them, in all their physicality and messiness. In this light, we can see that the more we are diligent to bless and thank God for the world around us, the more likely we are to engage the task at hand. May we all grow in our capacity to use every opportunity to bring holiness and goodness into the world around us!

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