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7 (berakháh) The

7 (berakháh) The “Blessing” We have examined the possible concrete meaning of a specific term which instead is traditionally assigned a spiritual value: the “kevòd”. Such a shift in value has occurred in relation to the term for “blessing”. Within both Western and Eastern contemporary culture, the concept of “the blessing” invokes a set of gestures, formulas or rituals through which one invokes the protection of some supernatural, extraordinary force such as God , deities, spirits, entities and/or energies of various kinds. Some examples of conveying “blessings” are thought to be the laying on of hands, drawing gestures and figures in the air, and the pronunciation of spiritual, magical or shamanic words containing value or power. Above all, we know very well the most popular and superstitious aspects 116

associated with these practices. In the ancient Semitic culture there was nothing of this; before revising this process as one of spiritual orders, “the blessing” (berakhàh, ) was something real, material, objectively existing and verifiable; it was a concept expressing concreteness and referring to actions that had direct effects – not magical! – over its recipient. Bestowing “The blessing” was a real task, which produced direct and immediate results. This concrete aspect perfectly matches with the vision, we are introducing here, of very material “gods”, creators of flesh and bones just like their creatures. This concept of “berakhàh” is very well documented by various passages in Old Testamentary books that tell the story of the Jewish people and their relationship with what we call “deity.” Each time we read of a blessing in the oldest books of the Bible, this is accompanied, preceded or followed by a sort of explanation. Essentially, it always contains the concrete content, it always explains what that blessing refers to, in which way, and especially for what purpose a person, a territory, an army or a people are blessed. We note that the blessings do not relate to the soul, the spirit of the man, his alleged divine element, or his afterlife. All these concepts are completely absent from the original parts of the Old Testament, which in fact deals with the earthly events of people who had contracted an alliance with an Elohìm. Indeed, the blessings were about land productivity, animals' fertility, human labor, women's fertility, or winning a battle. Here are a few examples: In Genesis (1:22), after creating fish and birds, the Elohìm blesses the animals to be fruitful, able to multiply and so to replenish the land and the seas. In Genesis (26:3-4) Isaac decides to leave the country hit by famine and plans to go down to Egypt to seek for food for himself and his people. 117

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