Parshat Eikev: Birkat Hamazon – Appreciation and Individuality.

15 08 2014

count your blessings button

Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi spoke on the radio about message of Birkat Hamazon which we read in this week’s Parsha, in 8:10.

She discussed the importance of Hakarat Hatov-showing appreciation. Through appreciating what you have been blessed with, you realise how you are unique and what your Ýiud’, your specific role is.

Hakarat Hatov plays a key role not only in our Avodat Hashem, but also in our emotional and mental wellbeing. You find people who appreciate what they have and don’t just spend their time comparing themselves to others, are happier and more fun to be with.

There is an additional aspect to Birkat Hamazon that we should also bear in mind. The word, ‘Kol’ – all, everyone or the collective, as opposed to the individual, comes up repeatedly in the Birkat Hamazon that Chazal formulated.

What is the significance of the word ‘Kol’ – all, everyone, or the collective?

The idea is we should see our Brachot inextricably linked with what they call in psychology the ”other” – the community, the nation. When we see ourselves as part of the ‘Klal’, what Rav Soloveitchik termed, ‘Knesset Yisrael’, then we can fully realize our own potential and live a life of Brachah. The food we eat isn’t just ours, but it equally belongs to our fellow Jews as the source of the Brachah of food and sustenance is Hashem.

As Hegel postulated, humans are social beings. We cannot realise our individuality and become who we really are, if we are alone and detached from our community. It’s only when we interact with others that we can fully appreciate all the Brachot we have been blessed with.

Shabbat Shalom,

Benjy Singer.


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