Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Jerry brought with him into our marriage an old Hebrew "Daily Prayer Book." We use it for various purposes: it is used at Chanukah during the lighting of the candles; it is where Jerry lists the birthdates, death dates, anniversaries and Hebrew names of all the families, his as well as mine.

In the back of this book there is a section called "Blessings on Various Occasions." I am always inspired to read how many things the Jews considered blessings. These blessings should be read in Hebrew, but since I can't do that, I’ll share with you a few of my favorites – in English.

On hearing thunder, witnessing a hurricane, or an earthquake say: Blessed art thou, - the Eternal, our God, King of the universe, with whose power and might the universe is replete.

On smelling fragrant fruits, say: Blessed art thou, - The Eternal, our God, King of the universe, who hath given fragrance unto fruits.

On seeing a person who has recovered from a dangerous illness, say: Blessed be the Merciful One, who hath given thee back to us, and not given thee unto the dust.

He who takes new clothing says: Praised art thou, Eternal our God, King of the world, who clothes the naked.

And a special one: On seeing a giant, dwarf or other lusus naturae, say: Blessed art thou, - the Eternal, Our God, King of the universe, who producest various formed creatures.

I constantly need to be reminded to see the good and to avoid being critical. I love reading blessings, no matter the source, and a glance into this little prayer book helps keep me focused on the good stuff that is all around me.

At at Hanukkah, which this year falls during the Christmas season, Jerry lets me read the Hanukkah blessings each night:

"Baruch atah Adonai, eloheynu melech haolam, asher kidshanu bimitsvohtav l'hadlik neyr shel Chanukah." (Praised are you, God, Creator of the Universe, Who has made us a spiritually unique people and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights.)

"Baruch atah Adonai eloheynu melech haolam sheh ahsah nisim l'avotaynu, bayamin hahem bazmah hazeh." (Praised are you , God, Creator of the Universe, Who prompted courageous deeds by our ancestors in days of old at this season). Amen.

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