Saturday, June 27, 2015

100 Blessings a Day

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
G!d said to [Abraham]...I will bless you...and you shall be a blessing! --Genesis 12:1-2
And now, Israel, what does G!d want of you? Only that you remain in awe of Yah, so that you will follow all G!d’s paths and love G!d, serving Yah with all your heart and with all your soul. --Deut. 10:12
The Hebrew in the verse from Deuteronomy contains 99 letters, but the sages teach that it can be said to contain 100 letters when the word "ask" (shoel) is written as it should be written, that is, with its "vav." Rabbi Meir teaches that a person is obliged to recite 100 blessings every day based on this verse. How does he get to 100 if there are only 99 letters? The commentators tell us that instead of reading “ma” (what?), he reads the word as “mea” (100).” (Menachot 43b)

For this list, I've created a list of 100 blessings, culled from the weekday prayer services and blessings for various occasions. If one recites all the blessings traditionally said throughout the day, one would repeat all the blessings of the Amidah three times, so the journey to 100 blessings would be different. But I wanted to find 100 separate ones that could potentially be said in a day. So, that's how I got to my list - some of my decisions were, of course, arbitrary.

The translations have been culled from a variety of sources, but all of them I adapted to some extent. And for the tetragramaton, G!d's name, yud-hey-vav-hey, I used throughout the name Yah instead of Adonai. The reason for this is to avoid the gender inherent in the word Adonai, which stems from adon, meaning "lord." I also like the name Yah as it gives the sense of "breathe," and I appreciate Rabbi Arthur Waskow's teachings about G!d as breathe

One may, of course, recite 100 blessings of the day out of our imagination and from our heart, the blessings we are feeling at 100 moments throughout the day. It is an exercise I invite us all to try out for a day. And in the meantime, here is my list of traditional blessings, also for you to experiment with and dabble in, as they touch your heart.

Note: Due to the technical limitations of this blog site, the best way to include this long list was to insert the text as a series of images. Click on the first image to fully open it, and then you will be able to go from image to image by clicking on the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. If you would like to have the entire file as a pdf for easier reading, please email me at, and I will gladly send it to you.

Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as a Nature Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is the President of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network

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