Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blessings for Manna

Birkat Hamazon, do you say it? Do you even know what it is? In Eikev G’d promises the Israelites that the will enjoy abundance and affluence and then instructs them to give thanks to G’d for the good land they had been given after they have eaten their fill. Birkat Hamazon. The blessing of sustanace is viewed as a daily shield that help guards us from forgetting the past, self satisfaction and haughtiness according to Nachamides.

Practicing Brkat Hamazon teaches us that offering daily thanks helps us remember and build our personal relationship with G’d. We not only feed our bodies but also our soul. It also reminds us that we are not solely responsible for our successes. In this day and age it also reminds us that we depend on others to grow, harvest, deliver or prepare the food we eat. When we feel gratitude for what we have enjoyed (ie a good meal) then our enjoyment is enriched and deepened. Gratitude gives us the greater ability to enjoy the simpler things in life. And finally, as we continue to give thanksgiving for our blessings it turns our eyes from ourselves to the world around us. It reminds us that there are those who are not so fortunate and are hungry. This can be a call to action for many, a call to our souls to help repair the “broken world”. Tikkun Olam.

For most of us a good meal is not hard to find, but a sense of spiritual fulfillment may be. It is only when we renew our personal relationship with G’d that the sense of spiritual fulfillment, a transformation of gratitude into real and true joy for our good life, allows us to work hand in hand with G’d to bring that goodness to others in need. So, in reality, Birkat Hamazon is a call to higher purposes, turning any meal into a moment of spiritual joy, clarity and gratitude.

So, as you eat your meals today, tomorrow and in the days to come, remember Who blessed us with Manna, Who walks besides us daily, and Who wants to work hand in hand with us as we strive to help those who need it. What are you grateful for today?

The challah cover shown is created by artist Barbara Fisher . "For an artist with a trained eye, an awareness of beauty is as close to the surface as breathing and feeling. It is part of my soul. Being a Judaic artist, I derive a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that the things that I make will be used for holy objects. Everything that I design, receives scrupulous attention. Every square inch is studied and worked on until I know it could not be any other way."

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