Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about a Jewish blessing, the berakhah. (Please note, I am not sharing an opinion about religion, just stating facts relating to a topic pertinent to the episode.)
In the forty first episode of The Simpsons, Like Father, Like Clown (Season 03, Episode 06), Krusty finally drops by to have dinner with the Simpsons to thank Bart for saving him from wrongfully going to jail for a crime he didn’t commit in Krusty Gets Busted (Season 01, Episode 12). At the dinner, Krusty is asked to say grace and begins reciting in Jewish:
Homer: “He’s talking funny-talk!”
Lisa: “No, Dad, that’s Hebrew! Krusty must be Jewish.”
Homer: “A Jewish entertainer? Get out of here!”
As Krusty goes on to tell us:
Krusty: “Well, okay. First of all, my real name isn’t Krusty the Clown. It’s Herschel Krustofsky. My father was a rabbi. His father was a rabbi. His father’s father– Well, you get the idea.”
Krusty is upset at the recollection and the rest of the episode focuses on Bart and Lisa’s efforts to reunite Krusty with his estranged father.
Bart: “Krusty, are you all right?”
A tearful Krusty:”Yes, it’s just that saying the berakhah brings back a lot of painful memories, the old days, my… my father…”
Homer: “Hey, Krusty, you going to finish that meatloaf or what?”
But have you ever wondered what a berakhah is? (Please note, I am not sharing an opinion about religion, just stating facts relating to a topic pertinent to the episode.)
In Judaism, berakhah is a form of blessing or thanksgiving recited in public or private at certain occassions, such as prior to eating. The function of a berakhah is to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. Berakhot (plural of berakhah) typically start with the words “Blessed are You, Lord our God…” (Barukh Attah Adonai…). One who hears another recite a berakhah answers with amen.
There are three major categories of berakhah:
- on pleasurable experiences (birkhot ha’nehenin) such as before eating food or smelling fragrances.
- when performing a commandment (birkhot hamitzvot) such as the lighting of Sabbath candles.
- in praise, gratitude or recognition of God’s justice (birkhot ha’shevach v’ha’hodaya) such as upon seeing awe-inspring natural phenomena, or upon hearing very good or very bad news.
Blessings over food are intended to sanctify the physical act of taking nourishment, those recited before performing a commandment serve to prevent the performance of the activity in an unthinking, rote way, and the blessings of praise serve to remind people of the presence of God in all situations.
Now that we’ve learned more about the Berakhah, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Have you ever heard of Berakhah? Did you remember Krusty coming over in this episode and speaking Hebrew? What’s your favourite Krusty-centric episode? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you. (Please note, I am not sharing an opinion about religion, just stating facts relating to a topic pertinent to the episode. I ask that you try to keep opinions about religion out of the comments.)