That was the question posed to me this morning by J, our new Pre-K student at the Broadman-Kaplan Early Childhood Center.
It was asked in the context of my grabbing my lunch bag to take out to the car, as I was leaving for work.
So, I asked him, what blessing do you mean?
And he recited for me, with reasonable clarity “Baruch atah adonai, elokeinu melech haolam, borei minei mezonot” which translates to “Blessed art thou, our Lord, King of the Universe, who creates various types of foods.” We recite blessings every Friday night, and many Saturday afternoons, over wine, and bread, to celebrate the Sabbath, but we fail, as a family, to regularly bless every morsel of food that we eat.
And here we are, after the second day of school with his new teacher at the ECC, L Dahan, put to shame by a 4-year-old who asks “Don’t you say a blessing over your lunch, Mommy?”.
This same teacher taught our older son, S, now in first grade, who has never displayed any interest in religious observance, although, presumably, unbeknownst to us, he may have said this blessing before eating his lunch all year long. We had no idea.
But this is J – our Torah-loving, mezuzah-kissing, little religious fanatic (we hope not, but, he does love ritual). And he picked up on the whole blessing before eating idea in two days!
I admit, I don’t say a blessing at every opportunity. In Judaism, there are many opportunities to recite a blessing – on seeing a rainbow, on seeing the new moon, on seeing lightening, on seeing anything wondrous, on eating food, on drinking, on bodily functions working properly. And many more. I love the notion of making an observance of the miraculous in the everyday, but I don’t follow through. For one thing, I can never remember the Hebrew (yeah, i know, that’s a trivial answer). But, I’m lazy. Maybe like S. But J, he’s different – he really likes to take that extra, seemingly unnecessary step.
I look forward to learning from him…