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Good Morning.

This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:23-27)

The priestly blessing, known in Hebrew as birchat kohenim, is a simple prayer comprised of three verses with three, five and seven words respectively (15 words total). When arranged in this manner, the blessing is said to resemble a crown, and is in fact, a crown of blessing placed upon the people by the Almighty. It is, as He said, the means by which He places His name (reputation, authority) upon His people. With this is mind, the priest would extend his hands toward the people in such a way that it was to be received by the worshipers as if God was placing the blessing on the people directly.

The phrase, “The Lord bless you and keep you” could be rendered as “The Lord bless and guard you.” Physical or material blessings can be fragile, thus we seek God’s protection and guardianship so that the blessings He has bestowed will not be taken away by uncertain conditions or evil people. Of course, the greatest blessing He could ever bestow upon us is that He would “make His face to shine upon you.” This blessing implies an outpouring of love and favor upon those He watches over, which becomes especially valuable when you contrast this statement with the one that says He will hide His face from those who break covenant with Him.

But when His face shines upon us, we can lift our heads knowing that “our redemption is at hand” and that He will establish peace -– the seal of all blessings — in our life. Frankly, without peace or shalom, blessing are valueless. This sentiment is expressed each week in most every synagogue with a prayer that says, “May He who makes peace in the Heavens grant peace unto us.” And while peace is not necessarily the absence of conflict, it is a state of harmony between two opposing forces. Where mankind is concerned, peace represents the balance between the needs of the physical body and our higher duty to the soul. In other words, when we suppress our carnality in order that the spiritual man might thrive, the result is shalom — peace and prosperity in the way God intended.

So may it be that, today, you experience that peace and the blessing that comes with the promise from the Almighty to “make His face shine upon you.” That we may receive that blessing, may we all turn our face toward Him and seek to know Him in a more intimate way.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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