bloggie

thursday, september 3, 2015 11:50 am zst

abnormal is the new normal

hyperlinkopotamus

franco cbi left a comment at 3:11 pm 08/14
evariste left a comment at 10:55 pm 08/12
kianb left a comment at 11:00 pm 07/29
kianb left a comment at 1:02 pm 07/16
kianb left a comment at 1:29 am 07/16
evariste @ large is also here
evariste @ large left a comment at 8:58 am 07/15
franco cbi is also here
franco cbi left a comment at 10:40 pm 07/05
zorkmidden and evariste @ large have also commented
franco cbi left a comment at 4:02 pm 06/29
zorkmidden and evariste @ large have also commented
franco cbi left a comment at 3:57 am 06/29
zorkmidden, Thousand Sons, and evariste @ large have also commented

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

vietnamese food is watery and bland in taste. they also have these weird vegetables which taste like you're eating poisonous
The name of the blog came from Hamsher's three favorite activities - sitting by the fire, with her dog, watching
' Jane Hamsher made the [ announcement ]/ [on July 30] that Firedoglake is shutting down, and all archived
' Between 1880 and 1920, the residents of a relatively isolated Northern California town called Boonville spoke a secret
Here is another good interview with Bernie Sanders: [ Bernie Sanders - The Vox conversation ]/
Interesting comments and ratings. Also at the moment it says: ' Only 1 left in stock. '
Do one thing jury: please do the needful.
Please do the needful, jury.
I hope we get rid of the death penalty, but first, I hope we execute Holmes and Tsarnaev.
Prepone is pretty good, but I'm really fond of doing the needful.
Let's kill this fucker while we still can, jury, cuz this death penalty shit is on the way out.
"Prepone" is my very favorite.
With 40% of the ballots counted, "OXI" has 61% of the votes.
In Athens this week, all public transportation is free because people don't have enough cash on hand. :(
[ #1 ]/ evariste @ large Bonus: Sully came out of retirement to mark the occasion.
Even on this issue, I had a shift as well. At first I wasn't really convinced that there was a
The day after I got home from the trip to visit my brother, I went shopping with a friend, and
The change was very gradual between 2005 and 2008. I remember when the discussion of [ Graeme Frost and the
I also observed that there was no difference between the Tea Party rhetoric and that of the Golden Dawn.
[ ATM lines in Thessaloniki ]/
[ Obama will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents ever. ]/
[ #10 ]/ franco cbi: Mine happened when the Republicans lost their collective mind with Obama's election. Their racism
[ #18 ]/ franco cbi: 1.5 billion euros were withdrawn in one day. There's total panic, there are lines
I think my "journey" started in 2005, with the Schiavo case, disillusionment with the Iraq War, Katrina, and my first
Hey, good to see you here (even though I see you all the time on FB). [img]

home

this & that

bloggie pulse: circulation
last 15 minutes:
23
last hour:
43
last 24 hours:
500
bloggie pulse: comments
since midnite:
0
last 24 hours:
1
in our lifetime:
6500