The Wisdom of Many Worries

Everyone has stress. Have you ever had one or two unexpected things pop up that lead to a day or days of stress or inconvenience? Maybe: your car broke down? your hot water heater stopped working? an unexpected financial issue? With the “extras” piled on, you just want things to get back to “normal.”

There is an old Yiddish blessing that says:

‎זאל איר זיין ברוך מיט פילע דאגות/zal ir zeyn brukh mit file dagus.

Meaning:

“May you be blessed with many worries.”

At first glance this sounds terrible, but there is wisdom here. To have “many worries” was to be living a normal life with regular, daily cares. In other words, your life had not been overwhelmed by one terrible concern – a death, or serious illness as examples.

Messiah Yeshia/Jesus tells His followers to “not worry” about tomorrow because today has enough worry of it’s own (Matt. 6:34). He is not diminishing the significance of our daily concerns, rather, He is redirecting our focus.

Today will have its troubles, but trust in the One who made today; and be grateful for the normal day:

‎זֶה-הַיּוֹם, עָשָׂה יְהוָה; נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בוֹ

“This is the day that the Lordhas made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).

Messiah is directing our day, with its ups and downs, to Himself.

Be well. Shalom.

Blessed into Blessing

The כֺּהֲנִים/cohenim, the levitical priests, served God in place of the firstborn sons of Israel, called to that service after the sin of the golden calf. They would minister before the Lord and the people, as intermediaries between heaven and earth. Adopted as firstborn sons, by their service, they would raise up and continue the Father/child model of discipleship.

Perhaps the longest continually spoken blessing in the world was given by God to Aaron, and his sons. It has been spoken for some 3,500 years; in both the synagogue and the church.

Called the בִּרְכַּת כֺּהֲנִים (birkat kohanim), the priestly blessing, it is at heart, a short blessing reminding God’s people of His protection, His grace, and His fatherly embrace that lifts us up in and for peace.

It reads:

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ

יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ

יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

“The Lord bless and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His face upon you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).

The Torah specifies that God is doing the blessing, while the priests speak it:

וְשָׂמוּ אֶת-שְׁמִי, עַל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַאֲנִי, אֲבָרְכֵם

“And they will put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them” (Num. 6:27).

According to tradition, a blessing increases what we already have, and the priestly blessing connects today to tomorrow. We have life today, may He increase it for tomorrow.

As Messiah Yeshua/Jesus was ascending to heaven, Luke records, “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven” (Lk. 24:50-51).

Here we see Yeshua blessing His disciples by “lifting up his hands.” In rabbinic literature, the priestly blessing is also known as nesiat kapayim, the “lifting of the hands.”

Yeshua, our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), lifts His hands in blessing over “the congregation (ecclesia) of the firstborn who are written in a scroll in heaven” (Heb. 12:23), among whom He is the Prince and perfecter (Heb. 12:2), the “firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Ro. 8:29; cf. Col. 1:15, 19; Eph. 1:10-12).

As Peter explains, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession …” (I Pet. 2:9). You have been chosen, adopted (Ro. 8:14-15) into heavens priesthood, to serve Him here and now, connecting heaven to today and tomorrow, to build up the lives of those around you.

Your position at birth matters not. Born-again by faith in Messiah, all who call upon His name are now adopted, repositioned, and set for ministry, priestly service, to speak words of His blessing, coupled with actions of blessing delivering His provision (Jas. 2:14-17).

If you are reading this, you are blessed. Yes, you are. You are also an adopted and renewed priest in Messiah, part of that congregation of the firstborn, now doing a priestly service before the Lord and before people (Ro. 12:1; 15:16).

In Jewish tradition, for grace after meals there should be bread on the table, as a sign that God will again increase and safeguard what we have, food.

What bread is on our tables? What bread is before us? The Living Bread from heaven, Yeshua. The source of all blessing, life, and peace. May He continue to increase His presence in our lives, so that we continue to be a blessing in the lives of others.

You have been blessed into blessing. May it be, כן יהי רצון, “according to His will.”

Be well. Shalom.

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.