Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BlogElul: Blessing

When I was at BCI several summers ago, I remember a Beit Midrash session when we were asked to learn about the person sitting next to us and then offer them a blessing. Then, we switched, and the other person received the blessing.

What does it mean to give a blessing, or to receive one?

When I think about blessings, I think about Friday nights here at the Academy. After we sing Shalom Aleichem it is our minhag for House Teams to bless the students in their House. Different staff members take different approaches to this- some do one communal blessing in English with good wishes for the week to come. Others offer a blessing to the House as a group using the traditional Hebrew words. It has become my own minhag recite the traditional Hebrew words for each individual student in my House. I like this partly because I like ritual that has a history. I also like this because it is the one time during the week that my attention is directly focused on one student at a time. Throughout the week I find myself with very little time for intentional personal attention for my students on an individual basis. For me, this is a way to connect with each of my girls in a positive Jewish way.

When I moved to the Academy, my dear friend took it upon herself to bless all of the Fellows. I am the only Fellow from that year still working at the Academy, and the tradition has continued. Having my friend bless me is often a very much needed reminder for me to make sure to acknowledge the blessings in my own life, and that there are people who care about and watch out for me.

Giving and receiving blessings has enriched my Shabbat experience since moving South. When do you experience blessings in your life? What do you think it means to give a blessing?

1 comment:

  1. Each Friday afternoon we take a moment to bless the children in our Pre-K class. I totally understand what you are saying about those precious moments with each individual child. It is meaningful to them, but it is also meaningful for me.

    Since my Tracy died, I try to find blessings in tiny moments each day. Trying to make sense of crazy/stupid things that happen in life is so challenging, but if I can find joy and blessings each day, I find it easier to keep moving.