#BlogElul via the Movies 9 – May the Force, May the Odds

Jews love blessings. It is part of our core. Many of our blessings are done with special objects such as candles or bread in front of us, but we don’t actually bless the object. We thank God for the opportunity, for the sacred moment or opportunity. Jewish blessings typically begin with Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam – Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe. But they don’t have to. For example, The Priestly Benediction or Yivarech’cha from Numbers 6: 24-26 is a quintessential Jewish blessing. Jacob shares blessings with his sons before he dies and Moses with the Jewish people as a farewell.

Blessings are usually short. A classic blessing is “Ad Meah v’Esreim Shanah” – May you live until 120 years. 120 years is how is Moses lived. When I shared that recently with an advanced senior, she wasn’t interested, so I offered her the alternative version that differs by one letter in the Hebrew: “Ad Meah c’Esreim Shanah May you live until 100 and may it be like you were 20 years old. She liked that more.

In our daily lives, we fill our conversation many short and simple blessings without even thinking about it. Here are a few…

Good luck, be well, God bless you (after sneezing), all the best, feel better, many happy returns, sleep tight, break a leg, drive safely, and have a nice day.

What about the movies? Two short blessings have completely seeped into regular consciousness – one a classic and one recent.

Classic: May the Force be with you! – Intended as a religious statement of George Lucas’s hybrid religion for a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away. Just substitute “God” for “Force” and you get the nature of the blessing. It is so well known, it is #8 on the AFI top movie quotes. Word play off the phrase also led to May 4th being Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”).

New: May the odds be ever in your favor. – Originating in Suzanne Collins’ book The Hunger Games, it has found a wider audience thanks to this year’s blockbuster film. It has a vague religious connotation, but is essentially a short form blessing of luck and hope. Religiously rewritten, it is again “May God be with you.” Unlike the above, which is only said by good guys, this is a universally used phrase of the nation of Panem from powerful and citizens, from “good guys” and “bad guys.” It’s also sometimes linked with the oxymoronic, “Happy Hunger Games!”

Do you have a favorite movie blessing? Is there a short, memorable phrase wishing the best to others that has stuck with you? We’re at a time of year when blessings are much desired to help us begin the new year. Share you favorite movie blessing in the comments.

As we enjoy this 9th day of Elul, this blessing for all of us: Live long and prosper.

#BlogElul is the brainchild of @imabima who blogs at imabima.blogspot.com. For the 30 days of Elul, the spiritual preparation before the Jewish High Holy Days, many Jews will be reflecting on the themes of the season. My posts will all be through the lens of movies. You can see all the themes in the graphic. Follow all the other excellent postings through Twitter at #BlogElul along with related items #Elulgram and #PopCultureElul.


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