Foundation of Blessing

Two of the most oft used blessings in Judaism are those for bread and wine, said before meals, on Erev Shabbat, and when sanctifying the festival day, even when bread and wine are not the main entrée. Why?

Historically, for the ancient Israelites, bread and wine was the foundation of meals. Bread, usually what we would identify as a flat bread, was inexpensive and easy to prepare; wine was readily available, safe, and consumed by the entire family (Lam. 2:12).

These are but two of the 100 traditional blessings, at least, said daily. Why 100?

Saying a blessing, even an informal off the cuff word of thanksgiving reminds us, and causes us to recognize the blessing and goodness of God that surrounds us. It fosters a disposition of gratitude.

In the wilderness Tabernacle, there were 100 sockets into which support columns were set. The sockets were a foundation of strength and support holding up the place where the people of God met with Him.

In Hebrew socket is אֲדָנִים/adonim, which is a strong foundation or support. The rabbis made an interesting connection. אֲדָנִים/adonim, socket, shares a root with אָדוֹן/Adon, Lord; from which is derived אֲדֹנָי/Adonai, Lord, used in the usual construction of Hebrew blessings: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ
‎הָעוֹלָם, “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe…”

A blessing must include the name of God; so each day, at least 100 times a day, the name of God is spoken, and we are reminded that the foundation, and source (בְּרָכָה/bracha) of blessing is the Lord. He is the One who upholds and strengthens this earthly tent of His presence (I Cor. 3:16).

Each day, as we say blessings for life, and the sights, sounds, and miracles around us, we remind ourselves that we are connected to the socket; and in Him, we are strengthened: “I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Next time you say a blessing for food, a beautiful sight, or miracle, remember that you are set in the socket, and He, the Lord, is upholding your life. Amen.

Be well. Shalom.