A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baruch Ha-Ba

Channah and I welcomed our new baby into the world on Monday morning. A beautiful, huge tiny person, great sleeper and good eater. Pretty overwhelmed right now by the shower of blessings raining down. How to become worthy of that? . So, baruch haba, in the words of the traditional welcome.

(Bradley Shavit Artson wrote a great article on the meaning of baruch. In the context of the beracahot that we say over food or events, we usually translate it as "blessed" but that raises a theological puzzle. If God is blessed, who is doing the blessing? Obviously, humans - but if we stop blessing, is God no longer blessed? Artson argues that the word actually means bountiful, or abundant. So, "You are bountiful God, the one who brings bread from the earth." In the context of Baruch Ha-Ba, which we say to welcome someone (including a new baby), "blessed" makes more sense. I can't find the article online, but for those who care, Journal of Conservative Judaism, Winter 1994).

Reb Zalman encouraged Channah and I to "coo" possible names to the baby and mark his reaction so his neshama can weigh in on the decision. So, we will choose together in advance of the bris on Monday.

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