The sense for ‘the miracles which are daily with us,’ the sense for the ‘continual marvels,’ Is the source of prayer. There is no worship, no music, no love, if we take for granted the blessings or defeats of living. No routine of the social, physical, or physiological order must dull our sense of surprise at the fact that there is a social, a physical, or a physiological order. We are trained in maintaining our sense of wonder by offering a prayer before the moment of food. Each time we are about to drink a glass of water, we remind ourselves of the eternal mystery of creation, ‘Blessed are You…by Whose word all things come into being.’ A rival act and a reference to the supreme miracle. Wishing to eat bread or fruit, to enjoy a pleasant fragrance a or up of wine; on tasting fruit in season for the first time; on seeing a rainbow, or the ocean; on noticing trees when they blossom; on meeting a sage in Torah or in secular learning; on hearing good or bad tidings—we are taught to invoke God’s great name and our awareness of God. Even on performing a physiological function we say, ‘Blessed are You…who heals all flesh and does wonders.’
Suggested Discussion Questions:
1. According to Heschel, what is the purpose of reciting blessings?
2. In what ways do you take the wonders of the world for granted? How can we work to see their beauty and renew our appreciated for our surroundings?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)