The Strangest Creatures

September 22, 2010 | By

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It seems like there’s a blessing for everything in Judaism. When you eat fruit, you can say one blessing. When you smell a fresh flower, there’s another. And when you see a two-headed snake or a spiky pufferfish, there’s yet another blessing you can recite.

Wait. What?

The blessing for seeing exceptionally strange-looking people or animals is found in the “blessings” section of many prayerbooks. It starts out the same way most other Jewish blessings do:

Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam…
Blessed are you, God, ruler of the world…

and then finishes:

…mishaneh ha-briyot.
…who makes creatures different.

It’s certainly not the sort of thing most of us learned in Hebrew School. But it’s a surprising and pleasant way to remind ourselves that everything has a purpose in this world–even pufferfish.

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