These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

And You Shall Be A Blessing

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Rachel Opatowsky

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There is something about Pardes, genuinely… inspiring. Not only are the teachers animating and knowledgeable, but the material is rich and ever-evolving. We are delving into the text of our ancestors and the books of our people. I became artistically stimulated during one of the sessions of Family Relationships in Genesis with Howard Markose when reading about Abraham.

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According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was told by G-d to abandon his current life and travel to an unknown place. Although it was a daunting task, he whole-heartedly accepted the challenge, and left his homeland. Abraham agreed to fulfill the request, and G-d blessed him and his family. “And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and [you shall] be a blessing (Genesis 12:2).”

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It is an amazing concept that each individual is a blessing. Regardless of religious observance, every descendant of Abraham has the ability to be a blessing by fulfilling commandments and bringing light into the world. It is no coincidence that the symbol of Pardes is a pomegranate which, according to tradition, has 613 seeds representing the commandments in the Torah. By partaking in Pardes, we move one step closer to making the world a better place and being able to illustrate how we are a blessing.

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