by Rabbi Michael Schwab
In life, consciously or unconsciously, we often search for how to bring good into the world and positivity into our lives. This can seem to be a challenge because we sometimes perceive that there is so much that is not in our control and that evil forces abound. Yet, we do indeed possess a significant power (amongst others) to bring goodness into our lives and into the lives of others. And what is more, we can use this power as often as we wish — the power of blessing. In this week’s Torah portion when Jacob knows he will die, he calls his family together and blesses his children and grandchildren. When the Jewish people are assembled together in front of the mishkan, their portable sanctuary, God blesses them through the priests. We use these words in the name of Jacob’s blessing to his grandsons on Friday nights to bless our children, at weddings to bless newly married couples and at various other moments to bring hope and positivity into the lives of those present. Yet we need not wait for such special occasions and we need not use only these traditional words. We each have the power to bless others at any moment, sharing our love, positive reflections on the character of others and the hopes and dreams we have for them. Giving blessings is a powerful way to roll back darkness and to create space for the goodness we all want in our lives and in the world. May we all realize the potential for blessing in each other and in ourselves as well. Amen!