Parashat Nasso


In the film Fiddler on the Roof, the old Rabbi is asked a question….
Lebisch: Rabbi! May I ask you a question?
Rabbi: Certainly, Lebisch!
Lebisch: Is there a proper blessing… for the Tsar?
Rabbi: A blessing for the Tsar? Of course! May G-d bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!

In this week’s Parasha we see what is known as the Birchat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing)

יברכך ה׳ וישמרך
יאר ה׳ פניו אליך ויחנך
ישא ה׳ פניו אליך וישם לך שלום
May Adonai bless you and safeguard you
May Adonai illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you
May Adonai lift His countenance to you and establish peace for you

ADONAI said to Moshe,

“Speak to Aharon and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra’el: you are to say to them, ‘Y’varekh’kha ADONAI v’yishmerekha. (May ADONAI bless you and keep you.)  Ya’er ADONAI panav eleikha vichunekha. (May ADONAI make his face shine on you and show you his favor.)  Yissa ADONAI panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom’. (May ADONAI lift up his face toward you and give you peace.)

“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them.”

So, what is a blessing?

According to the Readers Digest Universal Dictionary; a blessing is 1.a, The act of one who blesses. b, The prescribed words or ceremony for such an act. 2. An expression or utterance of good wishes. 3. A special favour granted by G-d.

In Judaism, a berakhah or bracha (Hebrew: ברכה; plural ברכות, berakhot; related to the word Baruch) is a blessing, usually recited at a specific moment during a ceremony or other activity.

An expression or utterance of good wishes…..

In the book of Chronicles, King David blessed Adonai before the whole congregation and said, “Blessed are you, Adonai, the G-d of our father Israel, for ever and ever. Yours, Adonai, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the kingdom, Adonai, and you are exalted as head above all.”

On Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Shavuot and during the festival we read from the Megillah of Ruth. The book of Ruth describes a community that continually invokes G-d’s blessing upon others. Boaz says, “I have been told of all that you did for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband, how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and came to a people you had not known before.”   So Boaz blesses Ruth by saying, “May the L-rd reward your deeds. May you have a full recompense from the L-rd, the G-d of Yisra’el, under whose wings you have sought refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12).

Would it not be good if we could this week, utter a word of good wishes to someone we know, would it not be good to say, ‘May the L-rd reward you for your goodness, or your good deeds. Or a ‘Well done,’ a word of encouragement. Maybe it will be in the form of a physical blessing! Giving a gift, offering a lift in a car, helping with groceries etc…

We all can bless someone, in some way, whether by word or deed. Why not start now?

Barukh Hashem

Rabbi Boaz