Monday, March 18, 2013

#BlogExodus: Blessing

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In her working life, my sister spends much of her time and energy designing, developing and delivering a proprietary training program that uses works of art to help professionals in a variety of fields--medicine, law, law enforcement, nursing, college administration, building management and others--enhance their observation and communications skills.  This past Friday evening, she found herself at the Aspen Wye River Conference Center for the launch of a multi-day gathering for young business leaders from three different countries: Israel, Egypt and Turkey.  Her training with the group was scheduled for most of the day on Saturday.

During the opening reception, while chatting with one of the Israelis about how he met his wife, she noted, after hearing his tale, that it was bashertAs my sister tells it, when she used that Yiddishism, the guy nearly dropped his fork.

And so it was that a little while later, when the Israelis produced two candlesticks and a bottle of Manischewitz for an unscheduled and unscripted welcome to Shabbat, my sister--whose attachment to Judaism is a fraction of mine--was invited to recite the blessing over the candles.  

Although she probably hadn't even thought about it in years, I imagine it was like riding a bicycle and that as she struck the match, the words--engraved in her being--just rolled off her tongue: 
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam
Asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'zivanu l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat
Is it possible that by beginning the gathering with impromptu blessings over candles and wine, these Israelis--intentionally or not--set the tone for a positive and productive time together with their international cohorts?

We'll never know, of course, but I'd like to believe it is so.

Inspired by Ima on (and off) the Bima, this post is one in a series marking the days of the Hebrew month of Nisan leading up to Passover 5773.