Dvar for Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)
Buried in Parshat Naso (6:22-27), Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessings) is introduced with the instruction to “tell the Jews” appearing twice, which is why we still use it on special occasions, and in Israel even more often than that. What is the significance of these blessings that prompted the Torah to make sure we continually use them? As most commentaries explain, the first part of the blessing is for material possession and wealth. The second part of the blessing is for spiritual growth and development. The third part of the blessing is for G-d to continue to have more compassion for us then we deserve, and that He express that love by forgiving us for our sins, and by giving us peace. However, the strangest statement follows these blessings. Literally, G-d says “they (the Priests) should place My Name on the Jews, and I will BLESS them (the Jews)”. If the Kohanim were blessing the Jews for G-d to give them all these things, wouldn’t G-d’s role be to actually GIVE us wealth, spiritual prowess, and peace, rather than blessing us?
Rav Aron Tendler helps us understand the blessings by explaining that the first blessing is aimed at making us realize that our material wealth, physical well being, and natural abilities come from G-d, and that He gave it to us for a reason. The second blessing is aimed at making us realize that we have a responsibility to elevate ourselves through our every thought and action. The third blessing is aimed at making us realize that we have a say in the world’s level of peace, and in increasing peace around the world by using the other two blessings correctly. It’s no coincidence that having “enough” money, spiritual growth, and peace all starts from within. G-d concludes the blessings by teaching us that if we simply notice G-d’s name and hand in all we have and all we do, we’ll realize that we’ve already been blessed.