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Why Do We Have to Say Blessings?

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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Painting by Elena Flerova

     I always encourage my Shabbos guests to ask questions. I explain, “There is a reason for everything in the Torah. If you do the mitzvahs without understanding why you are doing them, you are only doing the physical mitzvah, and you are losing the main spiritual benefit of the mitzvahs, the awareness of G-d’s Presence that should accompany a mitzvah.” 

     After pressing them like this, they try to ask the most difficult questions they can think of, but almost always they ask simple questions. One yeshiva student asked a question that surprisingly baffles most Jews. “Why do we have to say blessings? Does G-d really need to have us bless Him?” (The blessings begin with the words, “Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d…”)

     “When you hate someone,” I asked, “really hate hate hate that person, where is that hatred?”

     “In you,” He replied correctly.

     “And when you love someone, really really love him? Where is that love residing?”

     Again, he replied correctly, “In you.”

     “And, when you bless G-d? Where does that blessing rest?”

     He smiled when his “difficult” question was so easily answered. When we think of the greatness of Hashem, how He is the reality of all blessings, we fill our minds with thoughts of His greatness.

     G-d wants to bless us. He wants us to be holy. But He wants us to earn these blessings, so He has given us His mitzvahs, and their blessings.

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