bloggie

thursday, december 14, 2017 10:13 am zst

Much ado

hyperlinkopotamus

ברכת כהנים


יברכך ה׳ וישמרך
יאר ה׳ פניו אליך ויחנך
ישא ה׳ פניו אליך וישם לך שלום

(במדבר ו׳ כ״ד-כ״ו)


May Hashem bless you and safeguard you.
May Hashem illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you.
May Hashem lift His countenance to you and establish peace for you.

(Numbers 6:24-26)


As I mentioned last year, Rosh Chodesh Av (today) is the Yahrtzeit of Aharon HaKohein. I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the special blessing that was given through Aharon and his descendants - especially as the blessing culminates with the blessing of peace. Indeed, when Pinchas was elevated to his position as kohein, Hashem gave him His "covenant of peace". Normally, a kohein who kills someone is not allowed to be oleh leduchan. Not coincidentally, Birchat Kohanim is said immediately before the last bracha of Shemona Esrei, that of Sim Shalom - the blessing of peace. The last mishna of Shas (Uktzin 3:12) ends with the statement: "G-d did not find any vessel to hold Blessing, other than the vessel of Peace".

In Israel, kohanim go up to bless the people with this threefold blessing every day. Outside of eretz Yisrael, nesiyat kapayim is only performed on the holidays. In Israel, there is a special gathering every Chol HaMoed (once each Pesach and Sukkot), where thousands of kohanim bless many thousands of people.

Here are a couple of clips I found of Birchat Kohanim at the Kotel: see a wide view of the entire plaza (from 5766) here (cuts off in the last bracha), or a view from within the crowd (from 5767) here (begins with last bracha).


There are many interpretations as to the exact meaning of the threefold blessing. I will try to distill the major commentators as to the "simple" meaning (pshat).

Most commentators explain that the first bracha refers to the physical. Rashi: May Hashem increase your possessions. Ibn Ezra: and the days of your life. As Sforno points out, אם אין קמח, אין תורה (if there is no flour there is no Torah). On the second part of the blessing, veyishmerecha, Rashi comments that while a gift given by man can later be stolen by thieves, only Hashem can truly safeguard what has been given.

The second blessing refers to the spiritual. As we have previously noted "Ohr" - the root of the word "Ya'eir" - often refers to Torah knowledge. Or, as the Ramban says, the light of the Shechina. The second part, viychuneka - is alternately interpreted as refering to our finding favor in others' eyes, and our finding favor in God's eyes, meaning that he would listen to our entreaties immediately.

Sforno says that the third bracha refers to Olam Haba - the World to Come. The Ramban says that it refers to The Davidic kingdom (perhaps the same idea). On a simpler level, Rashi says it means, "May He supress His anger". The Gemara (in Rosh Hashana 17b and elsewhere) deals with the apparent contradiction between this verse and (Deut. 10:17) "Who does not lift His countenance (forgive undeservedly) and does not accept bribes". One answer given is that God mercifully forgives sins against Him, but will not show favor to those who sin against their fellow-man unless they obtain forgiveness from them first.

Rav Mordechai Willig beautifully explains that each of the three brachot are actually a set of two; the first part being a blessing which can turn into a curse, and the second a means to safeguard the first.


On a deeper level, Kli Yakar picks up on the fact that all three brachos start with the letter י. Yud, he explains, not only has a gematria value of 10, but has an "inner" or "hidden" value of 10 - "yud" is spelled יוד - yud-vav-dalet, and the "hidden" part, vav (6) and dalet (4) add up to 10 as well. He relates this to the Gemara that says
There are three partners in the formation of a child -- Hashem, the father and the mother; The father contributes white seed, which forms bones, sinews, (finger and toe) nails, the brain, and the white of the eyes [5 physical things]; The mother contributes red seed, which forms skin, flesh, bones, blood and hair [5 physical things]; Hashem puts in Ru'ach (breath), a Neshamah, radiance of the face, sight, hearing, speech, the ability to walk, understanding and knowledge. [10 spiritual, or "inner", unseen things] (Nidda 31a)

As the Kohein extends his ten fingers in blessing over the people, each represents a physical and spiritual blessing, as represented by the yud that begins each bracha.
Altogether, this adds up to 60 - the same as the total number of letters in Birchat Kohanim, as represented in the Passuk hinei mitaso shelishlomo shishim giborim saviv lo (Shir HaShirim 3:7)


The Baal HaTurim says that the three blessings are in the merit of the Avot.

יברכך - represents Avraham, as it says vaHashem beirach es Avraham bakol (Gen 24:1). The three words in the bracha represent the three times bracha is mentioned in the beginning of Lech Lecha (ibid 12:2-3) - vaAverech'cha, vaAvarcha mevorchecha, and veNivrechu vecha...

יאר - represents Yitzchak; the Baal HaTurim quotes a Pirkei d'Rebi Eliezer that at the time of the Akeida, Yitzchak actually died and was immediately brought back to life; thus Hashem "he'ir et einav". Taken backwards, the word ya'eir spells ראי, as in the korban re'iyah. Also, the 20 letters in the bracha are symbolic of the 20 generations that Yitzchak followed, and the 5 words represent the chamishei chumshei Torah that Yitzchak kept.

ישא - represents Ya'akov, as it says vaYisa Ya'akov raglav (29:1) and it says veShavti veShalom (28:21). 25 letters are in the verse, as it says koh somar leVeis Ya'akov (Shmos 19:3), and 7 words, representing the seven years in which most of Ya'akov's sons were born. [This is what the Baal HaTurim writes. I immediately recalled an amazing Megaleh Amukos that I once learned, where he asks the well-known question: "When Yosef interpreted Pharaoh's dream, what made him think it was ok for him to give advice?! Pharaoh didn't ask for advice..". In one of the (seventeen!) answers he brings, he says, Yoseif knew that the dream was all about Ya'akov and his family. All of Ya'akov's life revolved around sevens. He worked for seven years for Rachel, was tricked and given Leah instead, and worked another seven years to marry Rachel, too. He learned for 14 years (2 x 7) in the yeshiva of Shem V'Ever. And, the gematria of יעקב is seven times the gematria of the name of Hashem.]

Finally, the Baal Haturim says that Shalom has the same gematria as Eisav, showing that one should always try to be first to greet (wish Shalom) to his fellow-man - even if he is from Eisav.


As we enter this most difficult of periods on the Jewish calendar, may Hashem grant us all His material blessings of wealth and health, His spiritual blessings of wisdom and favor, and most importantly, peace amongst each other which will help lead to the ultimate redemption and true peace in the entire world.

Posted by joem on Jul 15, 2007 11:00 pm

no comments yet

recent comments

Wait what is this even root android and why is [ remote controlled drones for sale ]/ not here? I
Plastic is the man made material we all know about it and it has to show much about the things.
Immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon in Italy; only in the 1990s did significant numbers of foreigners, many of them
Wow there are so many flowers. nature never seems to amaze us with her natural gifts that's how mother earth
Well, as long as I know after studying history at [ write my assignment ]/ that Adolf Hitler was cruel
Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks
Whether you're writing a blog for business, or you just want the world to know what you're doing, it's important
Download printable 2018 Canadian calendar templates with statutory holidays as word, [ calendar printable with usa holidays ]/ excel &
Solana is really proud of her achievements which her to get such high level of fame and success in life.
The article posted was very informative and useful. You people are doing a great job. Keep going. [ Prediksi Bola
Olbermanns is most famous American writer and I am big fan of this writer. I meet this writer when buying
I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted
NEET preparation is not easy for the students. The student can get a good rank in NEET examination with the
how can someone avoid such beautiful wedding artifacts. could agree more to you you seriously come up with different terms
[ 192.168.0.1 Admin ]/ : Get guide on how to configure Wireless Router settings using 192.168.o.l & how to
History is always bitter, you have to accept many strange facts that may or ma not have been taken place;
He was the man of honor. Thank you for reminding us about him nations neds to know how bold and
Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable
Wonderful article. thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights
UP Board High School Date Sheet 2018, UP Board 10th Exam Scheme/Time Table 2018, Students check UP Board Exam Scheme
UP Board 10th Exam Scheme/Time Table 2018,UP Board High School Date Sheet 2018 UP Board Exam Date 2018, Students check
[ Best android data recovery app ]/ You never know some time or another you may lose them
INIFD Chennai is one of the Top 10 Fashion & [ Interior Designing Colleges in Chennai ]/ offering various time
Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that.
Nowadays! [ Education online programs ]/ are very famous and useful for every student who wants to complete their study

home

this & that

bloggie pulse: circulation
last 15 minutes:
0
last hour:
0
last 24 hours:
1
bloggie pulse: comments
since midnite:
1
last 24 hours:
6
in our lifetime:
10465