Sunday, June 23, 2013

Deficiencies and Difficulties.

My favorite blessing after eating is Borei Nefashot--and no, not because it's the shortest. Nor is it because saying it means I ate a salad, as opposed to, say, pasta or bread. Rather, I am partial to this short and sweet bracha for its poetic rhythm and its standout feature: a reminder to thank G-d for both problems and solutions.

Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, the blessing goes, Who creates numerous living things with their deficiencies ; for all that You have created with which to maintain the life of every being. Blessed is He, the life of the worlds.

Take a second look at that middle part, which essentially says: G-d created all of the creatures of the Earth with a need for nutrition, as well as hunger pangs that will drive them to need to eat, but He also created a wide array of food perfectly suited to each of them.

It's no secret that holidays--Jewish and non-Jewish alike--revolve around food. Many times, a person's favorite holiday will even be based on their favorite dish(es) being served on that day. So while we could wonder why G-d didn't just create a world in which humans and animals never felt hungry and could survive and thrive without food, would you want to live in such a world? Having just spent a Shabbat full of the aforementioned pasta, cinnamon rolls, guacamole, and limoncello gelato, my vote is NO.

Sometimes life is hard. Situations can be out of our control, and problems arise that seem at first glance to have no deeper meaning or purpose. In such times, everything we need to know is in the Borei Nefashot: There is no challenge that does not have a G-d-created remedy. And it is by feeding any deficiency in our lives or ourselves with strength, with determination, with prayer, with calm surrender, that we are sustained. Science tells us that when a particle of matter collides with its opposite--a particle of anti-matter--a burst of energy is created. Trust that G-d has provided you with both the problem and the solution in order to propel you forward into the person you are meant to be.


P.S. Please support your local Food Bank to help those affected by hunger.