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What is this idea of Rebbes providing a blessing?

by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort

Question: 

It also seems that Rebbes of the past are highly revered, almost idolized. What is this idea of Rebbes providing a blessing? I thought only some Christian sects (Catholics, Orthodox Christians, etc.) believed in having a man/human provide a blessing. Can you enlighten me to the Jewish perspective of blessings? 

Answer:

Unfortunately, this is another example of a Jewish concept borrowed by Christianity, then becoming associated with that religion, while it in fact originates in Judaism. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses—giants of the spirit, all highly revered in Jewish tradition—regularly blessed their children/students. If you look in the Torah you will find many instances of righteous people bestowing blessings upon others. We can even find evil people doing so, like Balaam! A blessing is one individual conferring upon another his/her wishes that G-d’s goodness should be bestowed upon the other. We are taught in the Talmud that “When a righteous person decrees, G-d fulfills.” This is because G-d’s manifested love for the righteous makes Him want to fulfill the righteous individual’s wishes. Additionally, we realize that G-d loves each and every one of us, so He has a desire to bless us anyway. Sometimes however, we may need that added “push” given to the Almighty by the righteous individual’s request.)

Furthermore, the Sages teach: “al tehi birchas hediot kala b'aynecha,” or, “let not a layman’s blessing be light in your eyes.” Meaning, whoever wishes you well, take it. Everyone’s got the power to give.



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Chassidism » Rebbe » Chassidic Masters

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