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    100 a day – Ekev

    cigaretteCigarette smoking is now quite rare. When I was a boy things were different. Smokers who were trying to wean themselves off the habit used to boast, “I’m down to being a ten-a-day person”.

    Judaism of course has a strong tradition of declaring smoking to be a major risk to life and health, and some people say they got off the habit by not smoking on Shabbat and extending the no-go zone by a day at a time.

    There actually is a Jewish daily count, 100 a day, not of cigarettes but of blessings. In this week’s reading, the Torah says, “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you?” (Deut. 10:12), and Rashi follows the Talmud in reading mah, “what”, as me’ah, “a hundred”.

    100 times a day a person should make a b’rachah – not such a difficult exercise if you start with the thrice-daily Amidah, add the b’rachot before and after food, and of course the early morning blessings at the beginning of the Siddur.

    It is not really necessary to keep a score card and tick off how many blessings you say, but what each of us should be doing is to fill the day with moments when we think of God and His boons, moments when we do good deeds, moments when we deliberately quell the temptation to do the wrong thing.

    As we make decisions throughout the day, we should ask ourselves, “Is this action a b’rachah? Am I bringing credit to myself, my parents, my community, and my God?”

    May we all fill our days with making blessings – and being a blessing.

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