Imagine reciting 100 blessings each day—that’s what the TalmudThe rabbinic compendium of lore and legend composed between 200 and 500 CE. Study of the Talmud is the focus of rabbinic scholarship. The Talmud has two versions, the main Babylonian version (Bavli) and the smaller Jerusalem version (Yerushalmi). It is written in Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic. teaches (Menachot 43b). According to tradition, we should say these blessings over experiences ranging from waking and eating to wearing new clothes or starting a journey. There is even a prayer for smelling a freshly mown lawn. Why? Blessings remind us that our lives are full of moments waiting to be lived fully. The act of thanking God for creating fragrant grass turns an everyday occurrence into something holy. When we pause to say a blessing, we draw attention to life’s ordinary moments, elevate them, and imbue them with meaning. Ritual serves the same purpose. Just as saying a blessing before eating helps us appreciate the gift of food and the labor behind it, so too, a ritual for the first day of school makes us grateful for health, growth, and the comfort of seasonal cycles. We can make the every day holy with a ritual as simple as tucking a child into bed each night with a story and a kiss. We can also create more elaborate rituals to mark transitions such as moving into a new home, starting or ending a job, or making changes in personal relationships. Jewish rituals old and new help us sanctify our precious and singular lives.
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