A. Every time we say a b’rachah we are showing our gratitude. We are saying “thank you” for our history and destiny, for our values and visions, for our talents and energies, for love, inspiration, and life itself.
Let’s take three examples:
1. Hamotzi – the blessing for bread – acknowledges that the Creator has granted us a world that has the capacity of feeding all His creatures.
2. Asher Yatzar – the blessing said after using the toilet – recognises that our bodies enable us to move and live.
3. Hadlakat Nerot – the blessing for Shabbat and festival lights – shows our appreciation of physical, intellectual and emotional light.
The wonder is not why there are so many blessings, but why we don’t say them with enough feeling and joy. The idea of constantly thanking the Creator is enshrined in a famous rabbinic statement, “A person is duty-bound to say a hundred blessings every day” (Men. 43b). The poet George Herbert wrote: “Thou that has given so much to me, give one thing more – a grateful heart.”
Yet another rabbinic saying tells us, “A person is duty-bound to say a blessing upon evil just as on good” (Ber. 9:5). One way of looking at this rule is that something which appears evil can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Another possibility is that if God thinks we can handle evil He knows what He is doing and we must acknowledge His wisdom.