Sedra Devarim, 120 Words – It’s Easy Giving Blessings

It’s easy to give a blessings, unless you are Moses.

That’s because Moshe Rabbenu knew what a blessing is and its true value.

A mother found her daughter’s lost contact lens in 2 minutes whilst the daughter could not find it after an hour’s searching. She explained it thus – “You, dear, were looking for a piece of plastic, I was looking for $500.”

The Jews were unhappy with the blessing given by Moshe Rabbenu, “May Gd multiply you a thousandfold.” They thought he was reducing Gd’s blessing, that they should be too many to count. [Rashi Devarim 1:11]

So, whats the problem? Was Moses incapable of saying, “May you be so numerous as to be uncountable as the stars in the sky”?

But uttering words is not a blessing. A blessing is the potential that is a reality in the mind of he who blesses. Otherwise it is an empty blessing, a hollow greeting, a forced smile, a fair weather friendship.

When we feel that the blessing is the true vision of what others see in us, we are empowered and invigorated. We want to pursue those blessings, we are prepared to give our all to realise these hidden potentials.

We however, did not appreciate the blessing of Moshe Rabbenu, we did not want to accept the responsibility implied in MosheRabbenu’s blessing, we did not want to exert ourselves to attain those lofty ambitions. We did not want to get up that early in the morning, every morning.

What captivated us was the bigger blessing, the blessing that outreached us, that did not test our mettle, that did not carry with it the implied responsibility that now we need to do something to pursue and attain that blessing.

As we approach the Days of Awe and the sombre days that precede them, a time of the year when we seek to become inspired – let us remember, take small steps, make small commitments. Make a commitment to say the prayer of Aleinu by reading every word from the Siddur, twice a week. Or commit to reciting Birkat HaMazon similarly, twice a week. Or commit to eating one meal a week which is 20% less than one normally eats. Or commit to denying yourself one item per week and contributing the equivalent to Tzedaka.

And may we be blessed to attain and progress in our service to Gd.