Looking to See: The Blessings of Thriving

We learn in the Talmud:

Rabbi Meir said, ‘A person is obligated to bless 100 blessing every day, as the Torah says: ‘Now Israel, mah– what does God ask from you, but only to fear Hashem your God, to go in all God’s ways, and to love God, and to serve Hashem your God, with all of your heart and with all of your soul. To guard the commands of Hashem and His statutes which I command you today, for your good.(Deut. 10:12-13)  (Menachos 43b)

Instead of Rabbi Meir reading  Mah– meaning what he reads it me’ah– meaning 100. But, why say 100 blessings every day?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting at the Positive Judaism Summit at UPenn Hillel.  There we discussed the benefit to our wellness of having a regular gratitude practice. This seems rather intuitive. Having a gratitude practice makes us attune ourselves to good things in the world. The process of looking helps us see. 

The wisdom of Rabbi Meir got much deeper when I thought about it within the context of the theme of yesterday’s conference which was “From Survive to Thrive: A New Approach for Jewish living in the 21st Century”. What might Rabbi Meir say about Positive Psychology?

Looking at Rabbi Meir’s proof text we see something very revealing. We start with fearing God but end with loving God. We start in trying to follow an invisible God’s ways and end with leading in service. Maybe the key to moving from survival to thriving is this move from fear to love. Similarly it is critical to move from following the invisible to leading in service to others. We can make this shift daily by conditioning ourselves with the spiritual technology of 100 blessings. In so doing we habituate ourselves to thrive. 

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