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Rabbi Kalmar's Message - Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei March 12/13, 2021

One year of Covid-19 and Counting our (100) Blessings

It’s hard to imagine that it has been a full year since we first really stepped into the world of COVID-19.  This week’s parsha, Parshat Vayakhel Pekudei, was the first parsha that we were all home for the shutdown.

In Parshat Pekudei we find

כז  וַיְהִי, מְאַת כִּכַּר הַכֶּסֶף, לָצֶקֶת אֵת אַדְנֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ, וְאֵת אַדְנֵי

הַפָּרֹכֶת:  מְאַת אֲדָנִים לִמְאַת הַכִּכָּר, כִּכָּר לָאָדֶן.

And the hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil: a hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket

The Chidushei HaRim (R. Yitzchak Meir Alter, first Rebbe of the Gerer dynasty, 1799-1866) quotes the Baal HaTurim (R. Yaakov ben Asher, 1269-1343) who makes a connection between the 100 sockets that held up the mishkan and the 100 blessings that a person is supposed to make every day.  The Talmud and Shulchan Aruch state that making 100 blessings a day is an obligation.

The Chidushei HaRim suggests that just like the sockets hold up the structure of the Mishkan, the making of blessings holds up the framework of the human being.  A person needs to make those blessings in order to keep themselves together.

What is the nature of a blessing?  It is the admission that everything in this world comes from God.  Before we enjoy or appreciate something significant – we say a blessing, we recognize God’s presence in our lives and his blessing of our existence.  When making a blessing, says the Chidushei HaRim, we are recognizing the true master – the Adon Kol, the Adon Olam.  So too the word Adanim, the sockets, are from the root of Adon – master.  

Hence the 100 blessings that we are to make every day act as the 100 sockets holding up our inner Mishkan, the temple we build inside our souls.

The idea is that when we make a blessing, we are recognizing and realizing how lucky we are to be blessed with food, with health, with the ability to pray and with many other myriad good things in our lives.  I suggest that we take stock of all the blessings that we have had this past year.  Not that we should discount any of the hardships, tragedies and setbacks of the past year.  Rather, we should just acknowledge the good.  And we should make an effort to say our brachas with a little more kavannah, concentration.  If we were counting our blessings, or more accurately if we were counting out the words of our blessings, and we got a dollar for each one, how carefully would we parse them out.  So lets think about what we are saying and to Whom we are saying it.  

And as hard as this past year has been, I am hopeful  that we are at a turning point.  With many people getting vaccines and returning to the world, and perhaps with a week of warm weather, I feel that the world at large is favoring us with a sunnier disposition.  Let us count our blessings, and take the time to show our appreciation for Hashem’s wonderful world. 

Good Shabbos

Wed, May 18 2022 17 Iyyar 5782