This week’s Parsha, Parshat Naso, discusses the Kohen’s commandment of blessing the Jewish people. Hashem said to Moses, “speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel...” In the times of the Torah, the Kohanim would recite this blessing every day in the Beit Hamikdash. Although there is no Beit Hamikdash nowadays, Birkat Kohanim is still used in many ways: Kohanim say it in the repetition of the Amidah, parents say it on Friday night in order to bless their children, and it’s often said by the bride and groom under the chuppah on their wedding day. This moving blessing is one of the most spiritual parts of our lives as Jews.
The first verse of the blessing, “May Lord bless you and protect you”, refers to material blessings. According to many commentators, such blessings include things like food and physical health. The next blessing is “May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.” This deals with moral and interpersonal blessings which refers to Chen. Chen (grace) is what we show to other people and hope they show us in return. In this section, the Kohanim are praying to Hashem that He should give us some of His grace in order for us to live without animosity and envy. These characteristics are what break relationships apart.
The third line of the blessing is considered by many to be the deepest of all: “May G‑d turn His countenance (face) toward you and grant you peace". What makes us special and stand out? What makes us more than just a face in the crowd out of the seven billion people on this earth? We stand out because we are Hashem’s children and He is our parent. Every parent cares about their children and Hashem does this by turning His face toward us.
By knowing that Hashem cares about us as a parent cares about their child, we can find inner peace within ourselves. We don’t need to do anything specific to prove ourselves to Hashem or to receive His blessings. We just need to know and understand that His face is turned toward us at all times.
By: Dominique Behar (11th Grade)