As we approach the Passover holiday, it’s a wonderful time to be aware that one of Judaism’s most nourishing aspects is that it promotes mindfulness. From the moment we greet the day to the moment we drift into dreaming, Judaism invites us to take notice. While we might think that we recite blessings for God’s benefit, the real power of saying berachot (blessings) is the impact it makes on us: the speakers. Blessings are little mindfulness meditations that bring the richness of the universe into sharp relief. When one of our storied sages taught us to say one hundred blessings a day, I think he was actually limiting the number rather than being overly demanding; once we start counting our blessings it can be hard to stop.
Being mindful has the effect of slowing down time, of enhancing our enjoyment and appreciation of life. While many of us joke about wanting the Pesach Seder to “be over already” the truth is that we know these precious moments in time are what remain vivid for us years after the fact. Blessing, whether through the prescribed formulas or the words and meditations of our hearts, is Judaism’s way of attuning us to life’s holiness. They help us grasp the vastness of a moment, a person, a prayer.
This Pesach season may each of us in The Davis Academy community be blessed in our coming and our going. May we be blessed in our matzo ball soup and maror, in our telling and retelling, in our kvelling and even in our yelling. May we be mindful of our children and our parents, our brothers and sisters, our guests and our hosts, and may our doors be thrown open for Elijah and whoever may come. As we prepare for the many moments that await us, may our blessed mindfulness find favor in God’s sight.