A Blessing On Your Head
The Bible tells us that the Jewish people have a patriarch by the name of Abraham. According to tradition, he lived about 3800 years ago. God made a promise to Abraham that his descendents would be an eternal nation. If you have been following this column or the other articles, videos and audios on this website, you would know that we are, in fact, eternal. We have survived against unspeakable odds while nations and empires greater than us have disappeared off the face of the earth.
In this week’s Bible portion, God makes an even more astounding claim. He tells Abraham that He will bless those who bless the Jewish people and curse those who curse us. We have been chosen by God to be His messenger and He is telling the world that He will go out of His way to protect us (as long as we don’t forget to deliver His message).
Has this also come true? Let’s take a look at a few examples:
In the Middle Ages, Spain boasted the most powerful navy in Europe. It controlled the trade routes and sent its explorers around the world. The 1300’s was known as the Golden Age of Spain, not only for the Spanish but especially for the Jews. In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. When was the last time you heard of Spain as a world power?
In the early 1500’s , shortly after the Inquisition, the king of Poland invited the Jews of Europe to come to his country to help build the economy. He issued a warning that anyone who harmed a Jew would have to answer personally to the king. Then came the Chmelnicki pogroms of 1648 and 1649 killing over 350,000 Polish Jews. Poland has since been defeated in every war it has ever fought.
Germany was the most sophisticated, technologically advanced country in Europe in the 1700’s and 1800’s. As Jews became emancipated and more prominent members of society, German anti-Semitism eventually came to the forefront. By 1935, the Jews had become totally disenfranchised. Germany lost World War I followed closely by World War II.
The Jews of America have had unprecedented rights and freedoms. America continues to be the number one economy of the world. If we continue to give Americans reason to bless us, we have every reason to expect that God will continue to make good on His promise.
On a more personal level, the Bible gives us a way to bless each other. It is called the Blessing of the Cohanim. (The Cohanim today are the priestly class, direct descendents of Moses’ brother Aaron, who was the first Jewish High Priest).) It goes as follows:
“May God bless you and guard you.
May He cause His face to shine upon you and sanctify you.
May He raise His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
It is the blessing that parents give to their children on Friday nights. If your children are blessed, then you are surely blessed. It is also recited every day during the morning prayers and twice on Saturdays.
It’s what I call, The Bless Express.
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