My 5 second rule

No, not the one about food falling on the floor.

In Elul I started holding my food or beverage of choice (usually iced coffee) in my hand for at least five second prior to making the appropriate bracha.  This has allowed me to have more patience and also lets me think a bit before actually making a bracha.

Recently I’ve expanded this rule to my cell phone.  When I get a text I make myself wait at least five seconds before even reaching for my phone because I want to remember that I’m in charge, not my phone.

9 thoughts on “My 5 second rule

  1. shaya g

    By waiting to reply to texts, it also gives me time to send a text I’ve processed and thought about better. rather than respond off the cuff and maybe say something that can be easily misunderstood or harsher than u really meant.

  2. Yishai

    Good idea. The question is, what to do during those five sections? So many options! Some ideas…

    1. Contemplate how Hashem has created this food or drink and allowed you to consume it, and thank Him for that.

    2. Close your eyes and try to cultivate a feeling of yearning, love and awe for Hashem.

    3. Pray that you say the blessing with full intent and joy and emuna and thank Hashem (R’ Shalom Arush style).

    4. Meditate on the fact that G-d exists, that He is present everywhere, and seek to feel His loving presence around you (Bilvavi style).

  3. micha

    … I meant that my post provides sources for more options for kavanos beyond 1-4.

    But I truly believe that part of the reason why tefillah is enigmatic is because Anshei Keneses haGedolah and its other authors wanted multiple layers of meetings that speak to us at different times in our lives.


  4. Neil Harris

    Usually I’m spending the five seconds counting: 1 Mississippi,2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, etc. 🙂

    Seriously, I try to think that what I am about to make a bracha on should help nourish me so that I am attempt to be more of an Eved Hashem.

  5. micha

    This is weird. I wrote a comment which clearly hit the system as our host got a “micha has left a new comment on your post” email. And my PS to that post (2 above this one) made it to the web page, but the long one didn’t.

    Fortunately, RNH noticed and included my entire comment an email. So, here it is — take II. I’m adding to Yishai’s list:

    5. Any one of the above as the mood hits, so that it doesn’t become another routine and empty itself of meaning.

    You might also be interested in my blog entry on berakhos and what they mean. Opening:

    Today’s topic: How to make your morning coffee the religious high point of your day.

    After Shema, which is Torahitic, what is the next most important tefillah? Bentching is also deOraisa, but the text was written by man. But neither Shema nor bentching are said nearly as often as we say the formula for a berakhah in general. Chazal expected us to strive for a minimum of one hundred berakhos each day! What a powerful statement that the sentiment expressed is central to Judaism, that we must reinforce it 100 times daily.

    Shehakol in particular is worth looking at, since first, it is among the more frequently made berakhos, and second, because it is so difficult after running through its syllables so many times since we were so young to say Shehakol slowly and with thought. If we start slowly, say by choosing the first Shehakol of the day, we can add so much to our avodas Hashem (service of G-d) by taking the process of tefillah and continue it from shul into the rest of our lives. Take a few extra seconds over that first cup of coffee to say the words meaningfully before picking it up and putting it to your lips.

    Subsequent section headers: Origin, Meaning [of the root /ברכ/ in this context], A Survey of Translations, Structure, Kavanah.

    So much for the resubmit. Now you can understand my clarification and its reference to “my post”, as well as my reinforcing my opening point so that it didn’t get lost behind everything that followed.


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