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Truly Blessed

By: Ms. Avichayil Arfe

This week's parsha contains a very famous set of pesukim that we hear daily: "May God bless you and guard you. May God cause His face to shine to you and favor you. May God raise His face towards you and grant you peace." (6:24-26), These pesukim are known to us as Birchat Kohanim.

When first looking at these pesukim, it seems like a nice bracha- that God wants to protect and grant peace toward everyone. However, when looking closer, the first pasuk, May God bless you and guard you, seems a bit out of order. Shouldn't God first protect and then bless? Why is He first blessing and then protecting?

Rashi is confused by this, but offers an answer. In Parshat Bechukotai, Bnei Yisrael is blessed with almost everything. Rashi says that "May God bless you" is referring to your blessings - that your possessions and what you own will be blessed. Parshat Bechukotai is blessing us with possessions. and in Parshat Naso, these items will flourish and prosper. Once a person has acquired a lot of possessions, he then becomes the pin point target for robbers or thieves. Therefore, the second half of the pasuk concludes that Gd will guard you. Gd will  protect a person and his acquired possessions. 

When looking at the tense of Birchat Kohanim, it is written is singular and not plural form--why? Hashem knows that we each have different requirements and needs. For example, a general blessing for rain may be good for a farmer, but for someone who travels, that may be seen as an annoyance. Therefore, Hashem blesses each one of us individually and not as a collective whole.

That Chatam Sofer takes it a step further and says that even though Hashem is blessing us, it doesn't mean that a person's life will end up being all blessings. Sometimes it could be a curse more than a blessing. We need to have the right mindset in our daily lives in order to fulfill Hashem's blessing to us. That is why the pasuk following Birchat Kohanim states "Let them place My Name upon the Children of Israel, and I shall bless them" (6:27). This pasuk is here to remind the Kohanim and everyone else, that as we are being blessed, only when we use the blessings in the correct way to help us grow and come closer to Hashem, will we truly be blessed. 

Shabbat Shalom




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