Friday, March 14, 2014

A Blessing After a Meal

Photo courtesy of Gail Rubin
If we eat without thanking the source of our food--it is like stealing-Rabbi Min Kantrowitz

The tradition in Judaism is to offer thanks and a blessing both before and after the meal. Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, a speaker at the 2014 spring colloquium sponsored by Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Albuquerque, shared with us a traditional blessing sung after a meal. (At left she plays the tune for the blessing on her recorder).

The blessing is based on Deuteronomy 8:10. The English words came from Rabbi Hanna Teifert Seigel

There are four parts to the blessing, and each one begins with the words v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta (you will eat, you'll be satisfied and you'll bless).

Our very first action after we finish eating is to express gratitude.

v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta

 We ate when we were hungry
And now we're satisfied
We thank the Source of Blessing,
for all that S/he provides

Then we express a sense of yearning

 v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta
Hunger is a yearning
In body and soul
Earth, Air, Fire, Water
And spirit make us whole.

This is followed by a recognition of connection to the Earth

 v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta
Giving and Receiving,
We open our hands
From seedtime through Harvest
We're partners with the land

Finally, we share this sense of wholeness (shalom) with all creation

 v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta
We share  in a vision
Of wholeness and release
Where every child is nourished
And we all live in peace.

 v'Achalta v'Sabata u'Veyrachta

(Rabbi Min Kantrwitz is director of Shutafim: New Mexico Jewish Community Connections, a program of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico).

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