At The End of the Day, Bless
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
The final parsha of the Torah is Parshat V'Zot Haberacha. This Parsha is not given its own Shabbat, but is read on Simchat Torah, as we complete and then begin anew the yearly cycle of Torah reading and Torah learning. In this final Parsha Moses blesses the people. When he is finished blessing them, each according to their strengths, he goes up to the summit of Mount Nebo, sees the land promised to the people and there he dies. The Midrash says that Moses merits a death by a kiss from God. After his death, the people mourn for Moses for thirty days, and the chain continues with the leadership of Joshua.
As a learner and as the writer of this blog, I am always moved and saddened by Moses' death. Perhaps his final lesson to us, after the many lessons we have already learned, is to remember to bless each other with words of encouragement. It is to notice the good in people and not to take people or actions for granted.
To listen to this poem
At the End of the Day, Bless
At the end of the day
don’t forget the blessings.
When the room is quiet
and the light is dim,
Let blessings be the last thing you think of at night.
The sweet music of a lullaby
as you close your eyes;
for a blessings are stronger than curses.
finding the good in them,
and naming the goodness you found;
this is the holy work each of us can do.
before you dream
remember that you are a blessing
to yourself, to others.
And you have the power to bless;
to notice others
and the smallest actions of the everyday
and to name them;
to say the words aloud,
for the words of blessings
hold weight when they are said aloud.
Find the best in those around you.
Delight in the best of other
Even those with whom you find fault,
even they are deserving of a blessing.
Even if it is not easy for you to say the words;
For the power of blessing
is the power of love
and love fuels our existence.
Hunt after blessings in your life
in the small corners,
in the big events,
in the everyday
and in the everyone.
For finding the good is better than blaming.
Pointing to the good is better than criticizing.
* * * At the end of his days,
at the sunset of his life,
Moses found the good in his people.
The curses were behind him.
Blessings were what the people heard.
Blessings filled their ears.
At the end,
before he closed his eyes
for the final time
He blessed and blessed
and blessed some more,
like honey flowing from the rocks.
As the words of blessing left his mouth,
Moses grew lighter and lighter.
He knew that he could leave this world.
He closed his eyes
knowing that he had lifted others up
and with that knowledge,
Moses received one tender kiss goodnight;
one final blessing.
So, before you sleep.
As your eyes grow heavy,
and your breathing calms,
count your blessings
for blessings are the language of love.
And so it is.
Another Torah cycle is complete and a new one begins.
I am most grateful to you, my readers. Wherever you are, your encouragement has inspired me. Here is my own small blessing for you.
May your eyes find the good in people.
May your ears hear good news.
May your hands be productive.
May your heart be full.
And may your feet always dance.
This is the blessing with which Moses, God’s agent, bade the Israelites farewell before he died.
Deuteronomy 33:1 (Translation from Sefaria)
וְזֹ֣את הַבְּרָכָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בֵּרַ֥ךְ מֹשֶׁ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לִפְנֵ֖י מוֹתֽוֹ׃