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First Blessing 11: Blessings: Flowing Springs

Blessing continued:

The Artscroll Siddur, page 108, you will find a prayer to insert in Shema Koleinu that is based on the Ba’al Shem Tov’s concept of blessing as a spring The prayer to insert is in the shaded area, and is called “The Prayer for Livelihood”. We ask for blessing “from the flow of the Heavenly spring.”

We find the idea of spring and prayer in the Book of Judges in the story of Achsah:

Achsah was the daughter of Caleb ben Yefuneh. She was given to Otniel ben Kenaz as a reward for capturing the city of Kiryat Sefer. He did not support her, because he wanted to learn Torah all day. So she went to her father for financial support, and Caleb gave her “B’reicha Elyona”, The Upper Springs.

Her husband, Otniel ben Kenaz, was actually named Yavetz. Why was he called Otniel? Because God would answer his prayers all the time. From whom did he learn to pray? From his mother. Because when she was pregnant with him, she had a very difficult time. She said to God, “I don’t understand. You created pregnancy so we could experience this wonderful joy of creating life. But You ruined it with all these complications. I just want You to know, I’m not enjoying it the way I could be.” So God said, “I’m very sorry.” From then on, she didn’t experience any pain whatsoever, and when the time came, the baby just slid out.

Therefore, when Otniel ben Kenaz prayed, he said: “Give me many children, make sure I’m wealthy, and make sure that all my friends are nice to me. Make sure that my head never hurts, and my eyes never hurt. And take away my Evil Inclination that prevents me from reviewing what I have studied. If you give me all this, then all will be fine. If not, I’ll be miserable.” God said, “OK, OK, whatever you want.” Since he was so skilled at praying he was named Otniel, meaning, “God answered me”.

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