Massive Blessings (Naso)
To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings. -Mary Baker Eddy
In the Torah reading of Naso, we’re introduced to the famed Priestly Blessing, the Birkat Cohanim, that to this day are pronounced by those of Cohen ancestry in the synagogues on a daily basis (in Israel) and on the holidays (in the Diaspora). It has also become a beloved custom for parents to bless their children every Friday night with the Birkat Cohanim blessing by placing their hands on their children’s heads right before the Shabbat meal. The Birkat Cohanim blessing reads as follows:
“May God bless you and protect you.
May God deal kindly and graciously with you.
May God bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace.”
The Bechor Shor on Numbers 6:24 wonders as to the details of what “bless” actually means in this context. What does God’s blessing entail?
He then proceeds to provide us with a nice list of what God’s full blessing encompasses and what it is that the Cohens are pronouncing upon us or what a parent is wishing upon their children when they state this formulaic blessing.
For God to “bless” you, means that he will grant you children, a healthy body, intelligence, longevity, and greatness. It means that these blessings will accompany you at home and during your travels, whether you are coming or going, whether in the city or the fields, whether in your basket or your kneading bowl. It means you will be blessed with happiness, that you will be happy with your portion in life. All of these elements comprise a blessing and a blessed life.
The second part of the first verse of the blessing asks for God to protect you. It is asking for God to protect you from evil; that all of the blessings that have been granted should remain untouched, undisturbed, unharmed, complete; that the progeny, health, wisdom, long life, and accomplishments should remain strong and unblemished without any evil corrupting it; that we should remain happy with our lot in life, for ultimately it is God who provides or withholds what we would consider blessings and it is God who takes them away.
May we appreciate all of the blessings in our lives and may God continued to grant them and protect them.
To all friends of Israel. Thank you.