“And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.” (Deuteronomy 33:1). We have said that the Creator is the blessing just by the fact that He is God, and all the blessings come from Him because He is good and all kinds of goodness emanate from Him.
The main manifestation of His blessing in His Creation is the Torah, which He bestowed on the children of Israel as the bearers of His goodness. Israel is the focal point, the axis in which God’s love for His Creation is anchored and expanded, as it is written in the Torah itself: “Indeed, He loves peoples, all His holy ones in Your hand; centered at Your feet, bearing Your words. The Torah that Moses commanded us is [the] inheritance of the congregation of Jacob [Israel].” (33:3-4). The Torah is our inheritance as legacy and identity for Israel to bear in the world.
We have reiterated time and again that the Torah is Israel’s identity, and is our “Constitution” for us as individuals and as a Nation. We are blessed to be granted an identity from the Creator Himself for us to live, to fulfill and to hold as our greatest and most sublime blessing, from which all blessings emanate. Are we fully aware of our inheritance? Do we really comprehend and assimilate our identity? These are the questions we must ask ourselves as individual Jews and as collective Israel. The answers begin by knowing the One who bestows our heritage and identity, as our highest knowledge of the Creator in our consciousness. This knowledge is the means to receive and live God’s blessings, the Blessing He is.
In our individual and collective awareness of God’s goodness we indeed are blessed. In this realization we recognize goodness in all that God created, as well as in ourselves, thus we can also be good and do good. God’s blessings are as multidimensional as human consciousness is, and for Israel our multifaceted identity is comprised by twelve qualities, traits, talents and skills destined to bring up their highest potentials in contrast to the lowest potentials represented by the negative aspects of consciousness. In this context we understand and assimilate the blessings Moses gave to the Tribes of Israel before his death.
Let’s recall that in our daily Jewish prayers, we bless the Creator for His blessings to Israel: “Grant peace everywhere goodness and blessing, grace, loving kindness and compassion to us and unto all Israel, Your people. Bless us, our Father, all of us as one with the light of Your face; for by the Light of Your face You have given us, Lord our God, the Torah of life, and love of kindness, and righteousness and blessing and compassion and life and peace; and may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel at all times and in every hour with Your peace. Blessed are You, Lord, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.”
No wonder this is the blessing to close the Amidah, the standing prayer before God, because it encompasses all the blessings Israel receives from Him. We must remark that peace also comprises God’s blessings for Israel. We have mentioned that the word shalom means much more than peace. It also means eternity, totality, wholeness, and completion in time and space. These are also the meanings of olam, usually translated as world or universe.
Let’s note that the qualities indicated in this blessing — goodness, grace, loving kindness and compassion– are some of God’s attributes revealed to Moses (Exodus 34:6-7), and contained in the Torah as God’s instruction to Israel. Let’s be aware that we received these blessings in order to be these blessings. Let’s bear in mind, soul and heart that there is no point to be blessed if we don’t become the blessing. As we said above, the greatest blessing is God’s Torah as our inheritance, legacy and identity.
We have to become and manifest who we are, our Essence and true identity which encompass the attributes the Creator wants us to integrate in every aspect of our life. These are love’s ways and attributes as the material manifestation of God’s love for us and all His Creation.
The most refined qualities with the highest potential for goodness are the foremost blessings: “And of Levi he said: ‘Your Tumim and Urim belong to Your loving kind man [the High Priest] (…). They shall teach Your ordinances to Jacob, and Your Torah to Israel; they shall place incense before You, and burnt offerings upon Your altar. May the Lord bless his army and favorably accept the work of his hands; strike the loins of those who rise up against him and his enemies, so that they will not recover’.” (Deuteronomy 33:8,10-11). The priesthood is the guardian and protector of our inheritance, legacy and identity as the qualities that sustain the awareness of our permanent connection with God.
“And of Joseph he said: ‘His land shall be blessed by the Lord, with the sweetness of the heavens with dew, and with the deep that lies below, and with the sweetness of the produce of the sun, and with the sweetness of the moon’s yield, and with the crops of early mountains, and with the sweetness of perennial hills, and with the sweetness of the land and its fullness, and through the contentment of the One Who dwells in the thorn bush. May it come upon Joseph’s head and upon the crown of the one separated from his brothers’.” (33:13-16). In order to fully assimilate this blessing, we must recall Joseph’s story and what he became for his brothers and the rest of his family.
Joseph represents the redeeming love that transforms, unifies and harmonizes the negative lower aspects of consciousness such as jealousy, hatred, envy, resentment, remorse, judgment, distrust, fear, cruelty, indolence, indifference, negligence, violence and destructive thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts. Joseph represents the power of love as wisdom, understanding, knowledge, truth, prevalence, honor, righteousness, and regency. These traits are the blessing of life, as the land in which we dwell every moment; and they represent the sweetness from the highest levels of consciousness as the dew and rains from Heaven which are the contentment of the Provider of all blessings, the One who dwells in His own fire, His own love.
As we receive the blessing and become the blessing, we realize our gratitude to God and we thank Him for the inheritance He has bestowed on us. This realization is the meaning of Judah, which means I will thank [God] because in our gratitude to Him we fulfill the destiny He wants for us: “May this [also be] for Judah. And he [Moses] said, ‘O Lord, hearken to Judah’s voice and bring him to his people; may his hands do battle for him, and may You be a help against his adversaries’.” (33:7). Judah’s leadership as regency gathers and unites all Israel to fight the battles to enthrone the Divine Presence in the material world, and make all peoples know that God is King over all His Creation.
We must honor God’s blessing by honoring the Torah as our eternal inheritance, legacy and identity: “This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper. Did I not command you, be strong and have courage, do not fear and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9).