King David instituted the directive to say 100 blessings per day. This is how he stopped a plague that was killing 100 people per day. Isn’t it enough for a Jew to fulfill 613 commandments? Why add another 100 blessings daily?
The 613 commandments are the lights, the source of which is in the Torah of light that preceded the world. These commandments can remain floating above reality or they can crash into reality and break something. A Jew’s role is to illuminate reality and make it a dwelling place for God in the lower realms. To accomplish this, the lights have to be brought into vessels. The kelim (vessels) the numerical value of which is 100, are created by means of 100 blessings.
When the lights do not have any hold on reality, when the 613 commandments do not settle into the soul and into the world – something breaks. The person falls, sins, and is punished. When a person sins by not performing a positive commandment or by transgressing a prohibition, he has to return to God. This brings healing and rectification to the person and the entire world. The numerical value of teshuva (return to God) is 713. This is the addition of 100 kelim (vessels) to orot (lights, numerical value of 613). It is the addition of 100 blessings to the 613 commandments.
What is the mechanism by which a blessing works? How does it engender rectification? The first blessing in Creation was “Be fruitful and multiply.” This means that a blessing really means growth and addition, giving birth and renewal. The breakdown stems from studying the Torah or fulfilling commandments without renewal inside. In this case, a person feels paralyzed in himself, stuck and trapped. He also despairs, feeling reality as constant and unchanging – as if the Torah and commandments exist parallel to reality, but are not able to renew or change it. In truth, the Torah is “the Torah of light” and all its 613 commandments are lights. These lights can remain in the unconscious. But every time that we say “Baruch” (blessed), we draw the light down into our consciousness. We discover the lightning that illuminates the intellect with genuine Torah innovations and new ideas regarding what action needs to be taken in reality, to rectify and change it.
This flash of lightning has to be apprehended and applied. Otherwise, it will disappear into the super-conscious, like many fleeting ideas that pass through our heads and then disappear without ever being implemented. Blessings create vessels for the lights and turn them into actual innovations in reality.
The blessings themselves, however, need fertile ground in which to create growth and innovation. First, a person has to be inner-oriented: He has to know how to differentiate between the primary and the less important. He has to grasp everything from his inner perspective and not be drawn to sparkling externalities and their cheap imitations. An internal-oriented person is sensitive to true flashes of insight and has the power to internalize them. In addition, he needs clarity – inner peace and a proper comprehension of the issue, be it in Torah study or in other matters – which prepare a clean and appropriate place for the revelation and absorption of new ideas.
After these preparations, the lighting-blessing develops and adds dimensions from the initial point of the flash of wisdom, to a line and a complete, fully perceived idea and through to a three-dimensional entity that can be grasped in reality. It descends from above to below and bursts forth in new directions, empowering us with confidence and the emotional ability to apply the new ideas in reality and to show the world that “Blessed are You, God, our God, King of the world!”