One of the things that I love about Judaism is its sanctification of the mundane. You’re about to eat a strawberry? There’s a blessing for it. What about a handful of grapes? There’s a blessing for that, too. How about if you see a rainbow or survive a dangerous situation or just wake up to experience another morning of life? Yup, you guessed it. There are special blessings for those, as well.
I didn’t necessarily appreciate these formulaic blessings growing up, but there is an incredible mindfulness that comes with pausing and appreciating the small things in life. My favorite blessing is the Asher Yatzar, a paragraph that expresses gratitude for the health and functionality of our highly-complicated digestive systems. The blessing is recited multiples times each day, after each use of the bathroom. The opportunity to wake up in the morning and empty my body of its contents is one of the greatest simple pleasures in life, and whoever came up with the Asher Yatzar was damn smart!
As an aside, the runner-up for my favorite Jewish blessing is recited at the end of the Shemoneh Esreh (silent devotional prayer). It is called Elohai Netzor and the translation is roughly as follows: “God, please guard my tongue from evil and stop my lips from speaking deceitfully.” It is a daily reminder against gossip and slander, and was the blessing that I held most dear growing up. A good reminder for us all.
posted by ayo