Jewish tradition bids us to offer 100 blessings a day. This is not about the numbers; there is nothing magical about one hundred. The one who recited 99 blessings is not spiritually derelict. The secret is not in the numbers, but in the underlying ideology of blessing.
The Mishnah exhorts us to pray when we see lightening, mountains, deserts, the ocean, a long lost friend and myriad other things as well. Each category has its own formulated blessing, reminding us of the Author of all. This is not the enterprise of accumulating blessings; it is training in cultivating appreciation.
If you bless one hundred things a day you recognize that in each day there are one hundred marvels (at least) spread before us as a banquet of beauty in God’s world. Religion at its best takes on the task of combating the ennui that life brings; it is a struggle against believing in the ordinary. Every sunset is the sky on fire, every rainbow a promise. A blessing turns our hearts heavenward, and for a moment, our daily lives are renewed by wonder. A hundred times a day.
Rabbi David Wolpe’s musings are shared in My Jewish Learning’s Shabbat newsletter, Recharge, a weekly collection of readings to refresh your soul. Sign up to receive the newsletter.