Brachot Bricks

In the midst of Moshe’s long list of advice to the Jewish people, he stops to summarize in simple terms: “What is it that Gd asks from you” (10:12)? Although it is certainly a reasonable question- is that not what Moshe has been explaining -and will continue to explain- until his death?


The Gemara (Menachos 43) sees within this question a hint to a principle we may be familiar with. Instead of reading the word “Mah” as ‘what’, the rabbis say it can be read “me’ah” (‘100’) -adding an aleph- and changing the question into the following statement: “100 is what Hashem is asking from you”. Meaning, as the Gemara derives, we each have an obligation to recite 100 blessings every day, a concept later codified into Jewish Law (Orach Chaim 48). What is the significance of this obligation, and what does it have to do with Moshe’s final speech before passing away?


The Chassidic masters find another “100” in the Torah as a corollary to this concept. Way back in the building of the mishkan, the verse (38:27) says that there were 100 total base sockets (“adanim”), which made up the foundational stones, in which the walls of the mishkan stood. Much like these sockets, the 100 brachos we make each day serve as the foundation of our worldview, they each build -within us- our very own, personal Temple.


Some go as far as to say that in the times of the Beis Hamikdash there was no obligation to recite 100 blessings a day. Taking it a step further, this means that the blessings serve as our constant recognition that Hashem is in our lives. When the Temple stood, it was clear to all who experienced it that Hashem was with them. In our exile, we have unfortunately lost that constant recognition, and the brachos serve to keep us “grounded”, to build our foundation.


In a similar way, Moshe, the ultimate messenger between Hashem and the Jewish people, is about to pass. Hinted to in his question is this message to the Jewish people: Don’t forget Hashem in your lives even after I leave. No particular Jewish leader is solely responsible to connect with G-d; we all have to appreciate our personal relationship with Him. When we pray, before and after we eat, after we go to the bathroom- we can’t forget to add a brick to our personal Temples.