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Bless you

Posted by Nitzan on June 09, 2005

I happened to read the postings explaining why people say "bless you" after a sneeze.
I heard a source in Jewish Tradition that "in the beginning" a person would never be ill - rather when his time came he would sneeze and die. Apparently his soul would "escape" his body with the escaped air.
The first person to ever be ill was Jacob (In Egypt, after being reunited with his son Joseph). He asked for the mercy of G-d so that a person would know he is about to die, and make preparations.
G-d added illness and since then sneezes are less fateful. But until today when someone sneezes we reasure him in our reply.
In Hebrew the reply is 'health'
I suppose "bless you" is short for "may you be blessed with a long and healthy life"

Hope this was educational...