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Being a Blessing

When God tells Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) to leave his land, birthplace and father’s home and to go to the land which shall be indicated, God promises him, “I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you and magnify your name, and you shall be a blessing.” 
 
One understanding of “you shall be a blessing” is that Abraham would be regarded as such by the people around him. They would feel grateful for having Abraham in their lives.
 
But the Italian commentator Ovadia Seforno (1470-1550) understood that God’s intention was for Abraham to be a blessing for God, as if God was saying “I will bless you, and you will bless me.” 
 
How could Abraham, a mere human being, be a blessing for Almighty God? “By practising introspection and acquiring perfection, and teaching knowledge to the people around you.”
 
According to Jewish tradition, God sees us as God’s partners in the universe enterprise. God’s presence in our lives benefits us, but by carrying out God’s plans for us, ultimately, God’s situation is improved as well.
 
How fortunate we are for this opportunity! Let us always strive to be seen as a blessing to God, and to all those around us.
 
Shabbat Shalom!