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Benedictions. Formulas of blessing. Among Jews, according to the Talmud, the formulation of benedictions goes back to the time of Ezra. According to R. Meir, every Jew has a duty to pronounce one hundred benedictions every day (B. Men. 43b). Special benedictions are grouped in three categories: (i) birkhot ha-nehenim, blessings for enjoyment (e.g. before and after meals, over fragrant odours); (ii) birkhot hamitzvot, blessings on performance of commandments; (iii) birkhot hoda'ah, blessings of gratitude (e.g. on witnessing natural phenomena, such as thunderstorms, rainbows, earthquakes, or on ritual occasions). Everything in life, whether it gives rise to sorrow or to joy, has its ultimate source in God.

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