There are moments of beauty that take our breath away. Flipping through Instagram, I gasp as I see a photo of a gorgeous friend. Ellie, my middle daughter reaches for her camera to snap a picture of the sunset and declares, “That’s so pretty!” We stop at a waterfall while hiking to admire the view.
In Judaism, there are all sorts of brachot (blessings) said for any number of reasons. We say them upon waking, when we eat, when we are reunited with old friends, and countless other times throughout our days. There is also a bracha for beauty.
When we see natural beauty — something or someone so gorgeous that it takes our breath away, we recite a bracha which translates to, “Blessed are you, our G-d, King of the Universe, who has such beauty in His universe.”
Some people can go their whole lives without ever reciting the bracha. Some people find cause to say it on a regular basis.
My middle daughter is rarely without her camera. It’s always so interesting to me to see what draws her eye. She once pointed out a fire escape to me and said, “Oh look! The color of the wall against the metal and the way the shadow crosses it—it’s just so gorgeous.” While I was cursing the sudden drop in temperatures earlier this month, she was photographing the frost on her car window and remarking on how wonderful and delicate it looked up close.
Though there is much in the world that is ugly, it’s wonderful that we can have our breath taken away by beauty—whether that beauty is a person we find gorgeous, mountains, or the way the shadow falls on a fire escape.
“Blessed are you, our G-d, King of the Universe, who has such beauty in His universe.”
Dorothy-Ann Parent (better known as Hyphen) is a writer, a traditional Jew, a seeker of justice, a lover of stories and someone who’s best not left unattended in a bookshop or animal shelter.