Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Brochos Dialog

Do you talk to yourself? I don't, but occasionally the old id and superego will have a little back and forth. For example:

ID: Num num, Hungry. Going to eat bread and cheese

Superego: Don't forget to wash and say "hamotzi"

ID: God no care. God no need hear me chant dumb words. God big. Me small. Him not petty. Him great.

Superego: Yes, of course that true. But we don't say brachot to benefit God. We say them to benefit ourselves. He doesn't need our praise, but we need to be reminded of our dependence on Him. Brachot are a way to remind ourselves of God's presence and to bring Him into our daily routine...

ID: OK, done, thanks to this conversation I have been reminded of God! Eat now!

Superego: Well, its also a good character trait to say Thank You to the one who provides you with things.

ID: Thank you God. Eat now!

For me the problem isn't with the (supposed) idea behind brachot but with the format. Saying thank you and recognizing God are fine, but why can't we do it in our own words? If we don't believe the words have any special, magical, properties why must we use the prescribed formula? Also, my hunch is the explanations for brachot suggested here by the Superego were developed after Jews started saying brachot. See, I think we originally thought God wanted to hear blessings or received some benefit from them just as we originally thought God benefited from sacrifices. [ עֹלָה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ-נִיחוֹחַ לַיהוָה] As time passed, and doctrines developed, it became untenable to think of God as desiring anything from us or benefiting from anything we say or do. 

But rather than drop brachot, they were reinterpreted.

 Search for more information about brachot


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