Yoseph Janowski
By the Grace of G-d

Blessings — It’s personal

What is a blessing?

We wish goodness for the person being blessed.

But what does it mean when we bless G-d?

The Talmud (Brochot 7a) notes, that Rabbi Yishmael, the high priest, related, that once when he entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, he saw G-d sitting on a lofty throne. And He said to him, “Yishmael my son, bless Me,”

“So I said to Him. May it be Your will, that Your mercy override Your anger, and that Your mercy be revealed over Your attributes, that You act mercifully toward Your children, and You do for them beyond the strict law.”

“And He nodded His head to me.”

A lawyer’s family went to a private audience with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The lawyer went with, just to be with them. The Rebbe’s secretary insisted he should also write a note to give the Rebbe. So he wrote a question that had been bothering him for a while: Why does G-d care about little details?

When they went into the Rebbe’s office, and the Rebbe read his note, the Rebbe looked up at him and said, “I don’t understand your question.”

Thinking that maybe the Rebbe didn’t understand what he wrote in English, he started to explain the question in Yiddish. But the Rebbe interrupted and said, “It’s not for G-d, it’s for us.”

He relates that the Rebbe opened up for him a whole new way of looking at things. G-d is doing all this for us, giving us a way to come closer to Him.

(To see the video, you can type in Google search: Lubavitcher Rebbe. I felt I was in a dark room and someone opened the light)

When I was a Yeshiva student, I used to go into the Rebbe’s office on a yearly basis, around the time of my birthday. Sometimes it would be to ask advice, sometimes it was just for a blessing.

One time, the Rebbe told me, “Tzuzamen mit di simcha fun dein yom moledes iz der Aibishter freilich mit dir” (Together with the happiness of your birthday, G-d is rejoicing with you.)

I walked out feeling elated. I felt that G-d is a very personal G-d, that He is sharing in my personal happiness.

Blessings. They are in the eyes of the beholder.

About the Author
The author lives in Toronto, Canada. He has written for