Parsha: Naso Borkat Cohanim (2023)

One of the most special and memorable moments from childhood, is standing huddled together with my siblings under our Father’s Talit, hearing the Birkat Kohanim (priestly blessings.

The Birkat Cohanim, (Priestly Blessing) is a major theme mentioned in this weeks parsha and is one of the most spiritually uplifting moments in Jewish life, as the entire congregation is embraced in a “divine hug.”

The blessing is made up of 3 parts.

The final and third blessing is:

ישא ה׳ פניו אליך וישם לך שלום

“[May] Hashem lift up His face to you, and give you peace “

Perhaps this is the most personal and empowering of the 3 blessings.

In this blessing, we focus on how G-d cares for us on an individual level.

Sometimes we can feel unnoticed, and alone.

Do we really make a difference?

In this blessing we emphasize how we make a difference, and what we do, Really. Does. Matter.

There is a lovely story about a crowd of people who have gathered on a hill by the sea to watch a great ship pass by. There is a young child who is his hands waving vigorously. One of the men in the crowd asks him, “What are you doing?”

He says, “I am waving, so the captain of the ship can see me and wave back.” “But,” said the man, “the ship is so far away, and there is a crowd of us here. What makes you think that the captain can even see you?” “Because” said the boy, “the captain of the ship is my father. He will be looking for me among the crowd.”

The knowledge that G-d turns His face toward us – that we are not just a random (indiscernible) face in a crowd, but that G-d relates to us on a personal level , this is the most profound and ultimate source of peace. He understands our inner struggles, and celebrates in our personal victories, over moments of challenges and struggle.

In fact, the day we were born, is the day G-d said “The world needs you, and can cannot carry on without you.”

To quote the Maggid of Mezritch, (1704-1772) “The spiritual worlds wait to hear a Jew discussing matters of Torah. The angles of Heaven are waiting to hear us praising G-d. The earth that we step on has been waiting since Creation for someone to walk on it and recite Psalms or discuss a Torah matter with a colleague.”

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Zalman And Esty and Family