Jewish Journal

Transitions and Blessings

by Rav Yosef Kanefsky

June 24, 2010 | 6:13 pm

It’s that time of year again, when we pass through the tunnel of transition.The kids have completed another grade in school, and proudly pronounce themselves members of the grade that they’ll be starting in September. Their unrelenting march toward adulthood takes a seemingly sudden lurch forward, and the house moves even closer to not having any little kids living in it anymore. As parents, even if we do not ourselves work by the academic calendar, we nonetheless seem to age by it.

Though we rise each morning and ritually thank God for the new day, we don’t, I don’t think, have a prayer in which we thank God for the days that have already been. The annual season of transition always turns my heart toward seeking one. To find a prayer through which I can thank God for the for all of the sweet times that now exist only in the past, the ones that comprise my collection of heart-warming memories.

It occurred to me during this year’s season of transition that there is a phrase in the bentching (the blessing after eating) that can certainly do the trick, that can reasonably be understood as a thanksgiving for all the precious moments that have been. “We thank You God…. for the life [and grace and kindness] that You have bestowed upon us.” As I recite these words these days, they sound like they refer to the life that has been bestowed prior to today. An expression of gratitude for all of the sweet moments that have been so far.

The season of transition brings excitement with it as well of course. The promise of wonderful times ahead. But even the bittersweet recognition that another chapter of life has closed, is cause for gratitude and blessing.

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