Blessing 19: Accessing Our Blessings
We just asked God to place Shalom, Tova, Bracha, Chen, Chesed and Rachamim, (Peace, good, blessing, favor, kindness and compassion). Now we say: “Natata Lanu….. u’Tzedakah, U’Bracha, V’Rachamim, V’Chaim V’Shalom” – “You gave us… righteousness, and blessing and compassion, and life and peace…”
How does this make sense? We ask for it at the beginning of “Sim Shalom”, and in the next sentence we proclaim that God has already granted us these blessings?
This points us to a very basic rule in Jewish thought: In order to receive a blessing for which you consciously pray, you must first appreciate the elements of it that are already yours.
For instance, there is a verse in Daniel which states that God gives wisdom to those who are wise. The Gemara asks: if God is going to give the gift of wisdom to someone, He should give it to those who are foolish! They are the ones who need the wisdom!
The Gemara answers that this is not so. If God were to give the gift of wisdom to those who are foolish, they would waste their new found wisdom in the beer-halls, in the saloons and in crookedness, rather than using the wisdom in a positive way.
The obvious question is, if you were to give them wisdom, wouldn’t they be able to figure out how not to waste it in foolish ways? What does it mean that if you gave them wisdom, they would waste it?
The answer is that before they can receive wisdom, they must first appreciate the value of wisdom. They must first appreciate what wisdom is.
The same principle is at work here. We ask for Shalom, Tova, Bracha, Chen, Chesed and Rachamim, (Peace, good, blessing, favor, kindness and compassion). Then, we immediately say that we appreciate what these things are and we even recognize that we have them. So that when You grant them to us, we will be building on what is already there. We will be building on Torat Chaim, on Tzedakah, Bracha, Rachamim, Chaim and Shalom. Of course they are there. We want more. It is only through our appreciation and recognition of what is already there that will be able to properly use the gifts that we are asking for from God.
Think about where you already have these blessings in your life. You want Bracha (Blessing)? Look, and realize where there is Bracha in your life. You ask for Rachamim (Compassion)? Find how God has shown you compassion. You want Chaim (Life)? Recognize the value of your own Chaim! You ask for Shalom (Peace)? Treasure the peace that you have, see how much you yourself are striving towards Shalom, towards being a “Shalem” a whole human being.
It is crucial to connect to the blessings we have, to perceive the intonations of the blessings in our life, in order to receive more.