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Parshat Nasso - Bamidbar (Numbers) 4:21 - 7:89

May Adonai Bless You

There is a lot of areas we could discuss from parshat Nasso. It covers several topics of importance from a continuation from parshat Bamidbar concerning the census of the Levites and their specific Tabernacle duties, the purification of the camp to make it fit for the home of HaShem’s dwelling among the people of Israel, how to handle certain transgressions — such as theft, bribery, stolen goods — and if thievery was committed against a natural born Jew or convert; the ritual for determining if a wife has been unfaithful (Sotah) in the absence of eyewitnesses and only the husband’s suspicions and jealousy to go by. Also the laws concerning one who takes a Nazarite vow, and finally all the gifts brought by each of the twelve tribal leaders for the inauguration of the Tabernacle.

These three-plus chapters go into great detail for all these topics and I may address some or all of them in a future lesson. However, I want to focus on an area of Nasso that only takes up six verses. These verses concern what has become known as “The Priestly Blessing” found in Numbers 6:22-27.

Our Sages of Blessed Memory spent much time over the years contemplating, discussing and writing about the meaning and impact of this blessing from HaShem to His people through His kohanim (priests), within the Tabernacle (Temple) and the Beit HaMidrash and Synagogue to this day.

This honor bestowed upon the kohen from HaShem does not imbue the priest with any ability of his own to give or withhold blessings. That power rests with HaShem alone. But, it does allow the priest to be a conduit, so to speak, for the blessings of Adonai to be conferred upon His people.

The priestly blessing is actually three blessings in one: (Sifre to Bamidbar),

[1] A blessing for material success or prosperity. A life lived without want or deprivation.

“May Adonai bless you and safeguard (protect) you. [6:24]

This blessing includes having good physical health, victory over all enemies, good crops and strong, healthy children of good repute.

[2] A blessing that imparts an increase of Torah knowledge and spiritual growth from obedience to its teachings. [SEE: Proverbs 6:23]

“May Adonai shine His countenance (face) toward you and be gracious to you.” [6:25]

This second part of the blessing allows us to rise higher than just our physical needs and moves us into the realm of Torah mindfulness which always leads to the next and final blessing — Peace.

[3] The third part of the blessing establishes peach (shalom) in our lives as an individual and as a peoples.

“May Adonai lift His countenance upon you and grant (establish) peace for you.” [6:26]

This final part of the blessing reminds us that HaShem cares deeply for us — the Jew, the convert and the stranger. By turning His face toward us in peace, and not anger, we are assured His peace is upon us and it reveals His favor, love and mercy toward us.

HaShem favors and forgives all those who sin against Him by disobedience or ignoring of the laws, commandments and statues found in His Torah when they confess their sin before Him and repent — turn from their sin and follow His Torah. If the sin is committed against his fellow then HaShem can only shine His countenance on that individual when he asks his fellow for forgiveness, and when required by Torah, makes the proper restitution.

Hashem’s blessing and promises of favor and peace is a two-way street. He confers it on those who confess, repent and makes peace with one’s fellow.

I find great comfort in knowing that HaShem loves us and bestows His peaceful blessing upon us.

Until next time — Shalom!

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