These Are My Blessings

The Fellowship  |  December 23, 2018

Yael Eckstein hugging a young girl and smiling.

This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. — Deuteronomy 33:1

One of the founding principles of The Fellowship is God’s eternal promise He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.” This is one of 18 devotions exploring the concept of blessing, barak, which means, “to increase,” or “bring down Divine abundance.” To learn more, download our complimentary copy of Rabbi Eckstein’s teachings on being a blessing to others.

What are my blessings?

This is the question we need to answer as we read the opening verse of chapter 33 in the book of Deuteronomy. It is the final Torah portion that the Jewish people read as part of their yearly journey through the five books of Moses.

This portion is called V’Zot HaBerachah, which means, “this is the blessing,” as in “This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death.” This reading not only marks the end of the Torah, but also the end of Moses’ life. How does he spend his final moments on earth? By giving blessings to each tribe of Israel.

The Jewish sages note the fact that the verse speaks in such definitive terms: “This is the blessing.” In contrast, when Jacob was on his deathbed and gave blessings to the tribes, he simply told them to listen and then he proceeded to bless them. Likewise, the verse in Deuteronomy could have simply said “and Moses blessed the children of Israel.”

The fact that the verse says — and the portion is called – “This is the blessing,” leads the sages to conclude that the blessings proclaimed by Moses are specifically revealed and obvious. A person can point to these verses and say “this is the blessing.” Each tribe received a unique blessing that would be noticeably present at all times and help each tribe fulfill their mission.

Jewish tradition teaches that just as every tribe had a specific role to play, each of us has a personal mission. Just as every tribe had blessings to help them, so, too, we are given the gifts we need to fulfill our purpose.

I once heard the following advice for discovering one’s mission in life: Imagine that you find yourself standing in an open lot. You have no idea how you got there or why you are there. Then you notice a bag next to your feet with your name on it. You open it up and find blueprints, a hard hat, and tools. Not far from you is a heap of building supplies. You conclude that you are a builder, and you are there to build a building.

Discovering our personal God-given mission works the same way. Look at the blessings that you have been given. What can you point to and say definitively, “This is my blessing”? Are you great with people? Are you a talented writer? Have you been given a beautiful voice? Has God blessed you with an abundance of time, wealth, or patience?

Our unique blessings are our personal tools for life. When we discover our tools, we will know what we should be building. And in so doing, we will spread and share our blessings with others.

Download Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s inspirational booklet, Building Bridges of Blessings, to learn how you can be a blessing to others.