Ritual Wisdom

Ritual Wisdom 6-14-19

This Shabbat we read Torah reading Naso, the longest reading in the Torah, is read on the Shabbat after Shavuot, the holiday of the Giving of the Torah.

The three-fold priestly blessing is found in this week’s Torah reading, Naso. G-d tells Moshe, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel; say to them, ‘May the L-rd bless you and guard you. May the L-rd make His countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the L-rd turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.‘”

This blessing is called “Birkat Kohanim” (priestly blessing). It is also called “Bracha Hamshuleshet” (three-fold blessing) because it contains three parts. This blessing is recited by the cantor every morning during the morning service.

This blessing is a three-fold blessing, because it was given in the merit of our three forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The blessing contains 15 Hebrew words, corresponding to the amount of years that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived at the same time (Jacob was 15 when his grandfather Abraham passed away).

The combined numerical value of the first letters of the three Hebrew words in the first part of the blessing, “May the L-rd bless you and guard you,” (Yud, Yud, Vav), add up to 26 – corresponding to the numerical value of G-d’s name.

G-d tells Moshe to say to Aaron, “This is how you shall bless the children of Israel.” The Hebrew word for “this is how” is “Koh”, which has a numerical value of 25. This number is also significant:

1) It reminds us of the “S’hma Yisrael” (Hear O Israel) which has twenty five letters.

2) The word “Bracha” (blessing) is mentioned twenty five times in the Torah.

3) The word “Shalom” (peace) the last word in the Priestly blessing, is also mentioned twenty five times in the Torah!

On the lighter side: After Shavuot, a rabbi once placed an ad in the local newspaper in which he reprinted The Ten Commandments.

The members of his congregation were astonished. “Why did you pay for a newspaper ad when we can read The Ten Commandments in the Torah?” they asked.

The rabbi replied: “I noticed that many members of our congregation take what they read in the paper very seriously. So I thought, perhaps if they read The Ten Commandments in the newspaper, they will take it seriously, too!”



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