Parshat Bereshit Genesis 1:1-6:8
Of all the Torah portions throughout the year, Bereshit is probably one of the most familiar ones in the Jewish community. And for this reason, we have heard many wonderful stories and have learned many lessons about this portion.
This portion, which begins our entire Torah, talks about how the world was created. God creates the world in six days. On the first day God makes darkness and light. On the second day God forms the heavens, dividing the “upper waters” from the “lower waters.” On the third day God sets the boundaries of land and sea and calls forth trees and greenery from the earth. On the fourth day God fixes the position of the sun, moon and stars as timekeepers and illuminators of the earth. Fish, birds and reptiles are created on the fifth day; land animals and then the human being on the sixth. God ceases work on the seventh day and sanctifies it as a day of rest.
As we can see, there are so many wonderful things God created. And for me to fully appreciate these wonders each and every day, I find it powerful to say a blessing as often as I can when I encounter these creations.
Below I share a few of the blessings one can say when they see something miraculous. I encourage you to take a moment at least once a day to appreciate the miraculous world around us.
For seeing the large-scale wonders of nature, such as mountains, hills, deserts, seas, long rivers, lightning and the sky in its purity: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, oseh maasei v’reishit. “We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who makes the works of creation.”
For seeing the small-scale wonders of nature, such as beautiful trees, animals and people: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, shekacha lo beolamo. “We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, that such as these are in Your world.”
For seeing a rainbow: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, zocher hab’rit v’neeman biv’rito v’kayam ma-amaro. “We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who remembers, is faithful to, and fulfills Your covenant with and promise to creation.”
For flowers and herbs: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, borei isvei b’samim. “We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who creates fragrant flowers and herbs.”
Rabbi Donni Aaron is a Jewish educator at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.