Webster’s Definition: (noun)
1a: the act or words of one that blesses; 1b: Approval, encouragement. 2: a thing conducive to happiness or welfare. 3: grace said at a meal.
Noun: approval that allows or helps you to do something; help and approval from God; something that helps you or brings happiness
Transitive verb. To make something or someone holy by saying a special prayer; to ask God to care for and protect someone or something; to provide a person, place, etc. with something good or desirable.
1: to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word; 2: to hallow with the sign of the cross; 3. To invoke divine care for <bless your heart> — used in the phrase bless you to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed; 4a: praise, glorify <bless his holy name>, 4b: to speak well of: approve; 5: to confer prosperity or happiness upon; 6: archaic: Protect, Preserve; 7: Endow, Favour <blessed with athletic ability>.
Jewish Hebrew Definitions
bracha – blessing
brachot – blessings
“Abracha can also be said when someone experiences something that makes them feel like uttering a blessing, such as seeing a beautiful mountain range or celebrating the birth of a child. Whatever the occasion, these blessings recognize the special relationship between God and humanity.
Brachot (the plural form of bracha) are meant to acknowledge God as the source of all things. They are very easy to recognize because all brachot begin with the words “Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu melech haolam,” which means, “Praised are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe.”
There are three kinds of brachot:
- Blessings said when you experience something pleasurable, such as food.
- Blessings recited when performing a commandment.
- Blessings that praise God or express gratitude.”
“The phrase “kneel down” is the Hebrew verb ברך (B.R.K), the very same word translated as “bless.” The concrete meaning of ברך is to kneel down. The extended meaning of this word is to do or give something of value to another. God “blesses” us by providing for our needs and we in turn “bless” God by giving him of ourselves as his servants.”
“The function of a berakhah is to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. Berakhot also have an educational function to transform a variety of everyday actions and occurrences into religious experiences designed to increase awareness of God at all times.”
Who Blesses Whom?
Many English-speaking people find the idea of berakhot very confusing. To them, the word “blessing” seems to imply that the person saying the blessing is conferring some benefit on the person he is speaking to. …Yet in a berakhah, the person saying the blessing is speaking to G-d. How can the creation confer a benefit upon the Creator?
This confusion stems largely from difficulties in the translation. The Hebrew word “barukh” is not a verb describing what we do to G-d; it is an adjective describing G-d as the source of all blessings. When we recite a berakhah, we are not blessing G-d; we are expressing wonder at how blessed G-d is.
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