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#Blessed ??? by Pastor Steve

“God Bless You”

It is a phrase often heard when someone sneezes. Sometimes, you might say it when someone has done something good for you. I use the phrase a lot when closing my email correspondence. What do you think you are saying – or conferring? – on or to someone when you say those words? In a way, it is a phrase that has lost its meaning . . . similar to “love you” or “how are you?” or other such common phrases.

Believe it or not, the phrase comes from the Old Testament. Knowing a little more about those words might give you cause to use this phrase in a different way, with a smile on your face, and with many other folks you encounter.

Rabbi Moshe Rothchild wrote a meditation on Deuteronomy 28:3 that I would like to share with you. Read it and be blessed by it!

"’You shall be blessed in the city, and you shall be blessed in the field.’

Deuteronomy 28:3

“I bless you that you should find your soul mate. You should be blessed with good health. We all want blessings in our lives. But what does blessing really mean? Is it simply what we say when we really want something to happen? Is it a good wish?

“Let’s start by looking at the Hebrew word for blessing, bracha.

“The very first time we see this word in the Tanach is in Genesis 1:22 when God blesses the fish and birds, ‘And God blessed them saying: Be fruitful and multiply…’

“The blessing repeats itself a few verses later when God blesses man to be fruitful and multiply as well.

“Based on these verses, blessings or bracha seems to be related to increasing or multiplying—to have more than what you have.

“This makes sense because when we bless someone, we often wish a great increase for that person.

“Let’s go a little further.

“The word bracha is related to another Hebrew word breicha which means a water cistern. These two words share the same root letters but they are pronounced differently.

“What was a water cistern (breicha) in the ancient world?

“The cistern was the place where water was gathered and from there it would expand out to provide water for multiple uses—drinking, farming, cleaning, cooking etc. It was the source of the water that provided for many.

“Like a water source, a bracha bursts forth to provide nourishment and sustenance to all who receive it.

“When we bless someone, we are acknowledging the source of blessings, namely God. We do not bless people with good health or happiness. We bless people that the source of all blessings, God, should give them good health and happiness.

“Another Hebrew word related to bracha (blessing) is the word berech which means knee. What is the relationship between these two words?

“When we offer a bracha and recognize God as the source of all blessings, we are, at the same time bending our knee in recognition of God’s greatness and submitting to His will.

“Blessings are a way of connecting everything in our lives back to God, the source of all.”

I hope this short Hebrew lesson and meditation by Rabbi Moshe was what you needed to hear, today.

God bless you,

Pastor Steve

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