Author: Irene Lipson
Publisher: Lederer Books, a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Paperback, 127 Pages
Most of us, when we pray, ask for God to bless us. The ancient practice, however, is that we first “bless” God. In fact, the majority of prayers and blessings in the Siddur begin with the words, “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe.” Several of the Psalms include the admonition to “Bless the Lord.”
In this book the author, Irene Lipson, expresses the importance and life-transforming result of blessing God. She shows, from an understanding of Jewish culture and idioms often missed by those of us who grew up in a Western Christian environment, the use of b’rachot (blessings) by Yeshua in the Gospel records. She observes, “As we look at this aspect of Yeshua’s life, we can learn new ways of drawing nearer to God and of being more like Messiah. We can practice the presence of God by praying the traditional b’rachot as Yeshua did.”
Mrs. Lipson starts with three chapters focusing on the beginning phrases of the traditional blessings: “Blessed are You,” “Lord our God” and “King of the Universe.” With a solid understanding of these as a foundation, she then takes a detailed look at twelve familiar Hebrew blessings.
The purpose of each chapter is not to teach how to recite some particular blessing. In fact, not every blessing or prayer discussed is printed in full in Hebrew. Rather, the focus is on why we bless God, and on recognizing how our lives are enhanced because of what God has done. The author offers this insight into the meaning of “Blessed are You:”
It is still amazing that an omnipotent, infinite and eternal God can desire to receive our blessing. How can he see us as having any significance? Why does it matter to him whether we bless him or not? [Binyamin] Forst suggests that the answer lies in relationship, and that every relationship requires communication. When we make a b’rakhah we are affirming that the relationship we have with God is one that he has forged. The relationship is dependent on his goodwill, for without that goodwill we would be utterly alone and destitute.
Consider these blessings:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created joy and gladness.
Mrs. Lipson then reviews ten areas of our lives where God brings joy.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who remembers His covenant.
In exploring this blessing, the author recognizes the Covenant God, the Remembering God, the Trustworthy God, and finally Yeshua as the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
In the introduction to this book, Irene Lipson describes herself as coming “from a non-Jewish background and found, or was found, by Yeshua (Jesus) within the church. Then I met Eric Lipson, a new Jewish believer in Messiah… Together, Eric and I set off on the adventure of maintaining a Jewish lifestyle in Messiah Yeshua.” What she presents in this book is not just a collection of her own thoughts and experiences. She reveals a solid foundation both Biblical and traditional Jewish sources that validate the authenticity of what she writes.
You do not need to know Hebrew to benefit from this book; you just need a desire for a more intimate relationship with the Hebrew God as you seek to bless the King of the Universe.
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