Thursday, May 24, 2018

To Bless His People Israel with Love

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

G-d introduces the priestly blessing by saying, “This is how you must bless the Israelites” (Numbers 6:23). Rashi comments, “Bless them in such a way that everyone hears it -- Not hurriedly or hastily, but devoutly, with a full heart.”

The relationship between two people can be discerned not just by what they say to each other, but by how they say it, by the style and spirit in which the words are spoken. Such factors reveal a speaker’s attitude, as in our morning prayers: “All accept the rule of the kingdom of heaven, one from the other... in serene spirit.” Indeed, the kohen who is commanded to bless the Jewish People must do so lovingly, for the kohen’s role is to show Israel benevolence, to shower them with bounty and goodness, and to strengthen their spirit. All this is possible only through love. Just as in education, the secret of success is abundant love between parent and child and between child and teacher, so too, abundance and goodness grace the Jewish People through the kohanim blessing them with love. G-d responds to them in accordance with their love, as Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato explains: “The greater one’s love for Israel, the greater love G-d shows one” (Mesilat Yesharim).

Today, Israel are in great need of the priestly blessing. We also greatly need to follow in the path of Aaron the Kohen Gadol [high priest], who “loved peace and pursued it, loved his fellow man and brought him near to the Torah” (Pirkei Avot Ch. 1:12). Through increasing our love and faith, may we merit salvation and complete redemption, speedily in our day. Amen!

Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

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