Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 9th Berakha: Grant us livelihood with dignity

The 9th berakha of the Amida, barekhenu or barekh alenu, is the blessing in which we ask haShem Almighty to bless us, providing our livelihood (parnasa).

The text of the blessing deals specifically with dew, rain, the year's crop, the harvest and the products of the earth. We ask haShem to grant us His natural blessings and protect our sources of livelihood from weather inclemencies and other natural disasters.

And although this berakha seems to refer exclusively to the agricultural aspect of economy - because it was conceived for the livelihood of the people of Israel, which, from its beginnings in their land, dedicated mostly to agriculture- it alludes to our general financial and economic success, and implies our requests for God's intervention to bless the sources of our livelihood, whatever they are.

We specifically ask God Almighty to send rain in the way of 'blessing' (tal umatar librakha), whenever is needed for the land and not in excess.

Rain coming on its due time, is God's blessing promised to the people of Israel in the Shema Israel (be'ito -I will give you rain at its time...). We also learned in the second part of the Shema that rain in Israel -the land- is conditioned to Israel's -the people- behavior. God Almighty established a pact, a sort of cause/effect dynamics between the People of Israel and Israel's skies. Heavens of the Holy Land are not governed by the rules of nature but by God's direct intervention/retribution.