Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “I express gratitude and bless my existence.”

Every blessing has its own particular focus.

There is a blessing for bread and a different blessing for vegetables; they are not interchangeable.

There are also blessings for various mitzvot.

All blessings have a certain structure consisting of a fixed core, which addresses the Divine Presence, and then a diverse content defining the object to be blessed.

They all declare the same thing in many ways.

I express gratitude and bless my existence, my condition of the moment, my food, or my performance of a mitzvah, and I adjust the contents of the blessing to suit the circumstance.

The core, “Blessed Art Thou, O Lord,” is the essence of the blessing, its underlying message.

The point of a blessing seems, therefore, to be the declaration of a certain relation to God.

All the rest is detail relating to a specific situation.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz