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100 Blessings a Day

 

Recently, apropos of something else, my Rabbi mentioned that there is a custom in Jewish life to try and say one hundred blessings a day. Of course, I had to look this up right away. Despite a childhood in Jewish day schools, I had never heard of this one – which means nothing, really, because there’s too much for any one person to learn in a lifetime, let alone in elementary or high school.

There are text-based reasons for the choice of one hundred as the magical number of blessings, but that’s not what interested me. I tend to think you can find text based excuses for anything if you try hard enough. But the idea of one hundred blessings sounds whole and beautiful and challenging enough to encourage the kind of gratitude Oprah used to talk about with her gratitude journals. Saying a blessing is more than just gratitude, it’s a way to make yourself aware of the world around you.

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“Only a hundred blessings? Not a problem.”

The more Orthodox websites said that you could meet your hundred blessings a day quota simply by saying the three set prayer services (morning, afternoon, and evening prayers), plus blessings over meals and handwashing, and you’re golden. But, what if you are a liberal Jew and not up to praying three times a day? Can you still reach an adequate blessing count?

I feel too resentful saying many of the blessings in Hebrew, especially in the formal language of the prayer book, but what if I could make up my own blessings, about the many things that really do jar me from the mundane into the extraordinary every day?

If you are somewhat compulsive in the handwashing arena, you could knock off dozens of blessings a day on that. You could get a lot of blessings in by hanging out with a friend who has allergies and saying Gezuntheit (God Bless You) every time she sneezes. You could eat many small meals a day, to have the chance to say blessings over food over and over again: Thank you God for this Jelly bean that I am about to eat; Thank you God for this piece of chocolate that has saved me from yelling at strangers in the parking lot.

How about: Thank you God for this medication that lowers my blood pressure and keeps my heart pumping; or, Thank you God for this crossword puzzle that allows me to not think about Donald Trump for ten whole minutes; or, Thank you God for the smile on my puppy dog’s face when I say the word “chicken.”

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“Chicken?”

Trying to come up with one hundred blessings a day forces you to think about what you really feel grateful for on a daily basis. There are formal Hebrew blessings for tons of things: for fruit, bread, wine, and cake; for thunder and rainbows; and for the ability to go to the bathroom (Blessed are you, Lord, Our God, King of the universe who created man with many openings…if one of them were to be ruptured or blocked it would be impossible to survive).

Here’s one of mine:

Thank you God, the Universe, and Mother Nature, for the water I drink, the food I eat, the bed I sleep in, and the puppies who make me laugh every single day.

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Amen.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

119 responses »

  1. Love the bathroom blessing! Marvellous.

    Reply
  2. With everything I am going through with my Zush, how funny this post caught my eye. Thanks for making me more aware to do this! I realize my time with Zush may be limited, which is why I take pictures of the the girls together whenever we walk: I should work more prayers in then!💕

    Reply
  3. so sweet & profound! its not for nothing that even 12 step programs emphasize gratitude

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  4. A great list of blessings…and the pups are awesome blessings! Joyful laughter! God bless.

    Reply
  5. What a wonderful post! Thank you!

    Reply
  6. I love all your ideas of ways to get extra blessings in. Haha! I do wash my hands a lot…

    Reply
  7. Rachel: Unless you keep all forms of media and your own brain turned off, good luck on the not thinking about D.T. for ten minutes. [Kind of like the ‘It’s a Small World’ song. It simply pervades…;-] Love the 100 blessings concept. Even if I do fall short, it should still center me on what’s important. Good post. Of course, including your dogs is always a plus. Cute guys!

    Reply
  8. Reblogged this on Kimberly Townsend Palmer and commented:
    One hundred blessings a day. I’m in. I’m in!!!!!!!

    Reply
  9. I loooooooove your dogs!!! And you are one of my daily blessings!!!

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  10. This is such a lovely post, Rachel. 100 blessings to you.

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  11. Very nice. Makes one realize that we should count our blessings every day. I usually do, but I don’t think I get to anywhere near 100 a day, I’ll try it though,

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  12. Reblogged this on Toni Andrukaitis and commented:
    This is a beautiful tradition that would make each day such a joy. Counting our blessings each day, yet a hundred times, no less.

    Reply
  13. A little late reading this but certainly glad I did.
    I love the idea of 100 blessings. It would help us focus on the things that are important and the things that make a difference in our lives.
    Thanks for writing this post

    Reply

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