Be a Blessing
Yael Eckstein | October 24, 2023
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great
and you will be a blessing.” — Genesis 12:2
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Lech Lecha, which means “go to yourself,” from Genesis 12:1–17:27.
In the Jewish tradition, parents bless their children every Friday night as we begin the Sabbath meal. We place our hands on the heads of our children and recite the priestly blessing, “May the LORD bless you and keep you; May the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; May the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (based on Numbers 6: 24-26).
As a child, this was always a special moment for me. I felt loved and cared for when my turn came to receive my weekly Shabbat blessing. But now, as a parent, I cherish this tradition even more. When I bless my own children, it is a beautiful moment of connection with each child, and I feel enormously grateful to have the ability to bestow blessings upon them.
The truth is that while every person wants to be blessed, there is something even greater than receiving a blessing—and that is to be a blessing.
Be a Blessing
In this week’s reading, God blessed Abraham, saying, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great…” God promised that Abraham would be blessed, famous, and the father of a great nation. However, the verse concludes with the best part of all: “…and you will be a blessing.”
While most people go through life asking, “How can I become blessed?” the question that we should be asking is “How can I be a blessing to others?”
When we bless others, it means that we have so much blessing in our own lives, that we can share some with others; we can lend and not borrow. When we bless others, we receive a joy that, ironically, is even greater than when we are the recipients of blessings from others.
There are few things more gratifying than witnessing the happiness of someone else because of something that we did for them. Most significantly, when we bless others, we please God, and God blesses us even more in return.
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