Monday, October 26, 2009

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What a Blessing!

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Question:

“How do you say blessings on food with more kavana (concentration)? What are some useful kavanas (intentions) to have in mind when saying blessings, to help achieve a spiritual experience (i.e. to attain awareness of G-d), and to avoid having them become rote?”

Answer:

On a number of occasions, such as when performing most mitzvahs, before and after eating, and on certain other occasions of pleasure, we recite a blessing. Almost all of these blessings include G-d’s Name. Typically, they will begin with the words, “Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe .…”

Why do we say these blessings? Are we really giving G-d a blessing, as it seems? Does G-d need, or want, our blessings?

The reason we say these blessings is not to give G-d a blessing, but rather, to give ourselves a blessing.

If you would say to someone “Boy, you are so good,” you are recalling the goodness that that person represents to you. You reflect on, and to some degree experience, that goodness.

When we address G-d by saying, “Blessed are You …” we are trying to reflect on, to fathom, just what a blessing the nature of G-d really is. We are trying to imagine the blessings that come from even the slightest awareness of His Presence. Obviously, G-d is listening; why else would we be talking to Him? It is also obvious that He is very close to us, or we would be screaming those blessings so He could hear.

The popular saying, “You are what you eat,” is talking about your body. What you fill your body with turns into your very flesh and bones.

As for your experience in being, that is shaped by what you think. For instance, if you were to think of negative subjects, your experience of life would become negative. Conversely, when you think of holy subjects, you begin to experience holiness.

When you try to approach G-d’s nature by conceiving of His greatness, you begin to approach G-d, blessed be He. This is why we say the blessings.

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