by Rabbi Dovid Green
In this week's parsha is the directive to the Kohanim (Aaron The Priest and
his descendants) to bless the Children of Israel (Numbers 6:22-27). The
blessings are as follows. "May G-d bless you and protect you. May G-d shine
His Countenance upon you and favor you. May G-d lift up His countenance to
you and give you peace."
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (19th cent. Frankfurt) comments (Horeb chap.
112) "The Kohanim, the representatives in the sacrificial worship should
bless Israel (the nation). How? They should declare that the Name of the One
and Only G-d hovers over them, that everything streams forth from Him, and
that He is the only source of all blessing. Thus will the One G-d really
become the Grantor of all blessing. When the Kohanim - the official
representatives of the national community of Israel declare this, it is in
fact the national community that makes this declaration through its
representatives. This injunction stresses that Israel should declare to
itself, through its representatives, that it expects every physical and
spiritual blessing from the Only One Who will bless it. Hence it is not the
Kohein who blesses or has the power to bless; it is G-d that blesses. But
The Priestly Blessings...in the formula prescribed by the Torah...is then a
prerequisite of the blessing granted by G-d. G-d blesses him who expects the
blessing from Him only; for only such a one will regard the blessing he
receives as having been received from Him, to be used only according to His
will. For such a man will the blessing become a true blessing. Do you wish
for a blessing from G-d? Think of Him as the Only Source of blessing, and He
will bless you."
Rashi states that the explanation of "May G-d bless you and protect you" is
may He bless you financially and preserve your financial gift that it
shouldn't be lost. The Chofetz Chaim (early 20th cent. Poland) adds: "
However, wealth that comes through another means, which isn't a blessing of
G-d, is that which comes through dishonesty and the like...that kind of
wealth does not have G-d's protection over it, and in the end it will be
lost from him, or he will be lost from it...or sometimes it will be lost
through sickness or other troubles. This is what is stated in Proverbs
(10:22) The blessings of G-d (truly) bring wealth and it will not bring
sadness with it." But wealth which comes through activities which G-d does
not approve of does bring sadness in the end.
Rabbi Hirsch's words and the Chofetz Chaim's words really compliment each
other. When someone feels that all of his blessing comes through G-d
blessing his efforts, and his gains are not a direct result of his own
efforts, he knows that blessing cannot come through dishonesty. In the long
run we really cannot take what is not coming to us. May we all merit the
blessings which are contained in the Priestly Blessings.
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.