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Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

Naso - 06/01/23

The Priestly Benediction, that familiar 3-verse blessing used in the worship setting in various ways, comes from this week’s parasha, Numbers 6:24-26.  It is probably most associated with the rabbi raising up his/her hands over the head of someone in a milestone moment and intoning the words: “May God bless you and keep you.  May the light of God’s presence shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the spirit of God be lifted up over and give you peace.”  Well, at least that is my personal translation of it.  You will find different renderings elsewhere.  In two places, the word “panav,” which literally means “His face,” is used, but it is not an easy concept since our theology is one in which God is incorporeal (has no form).  So, I use the circumlocution “God’s presence” in v. 25 and “the spirit of God” in verse 26 to convey the sense of intimacy and closeness with God that we seek, and often feel more intensely than at other times, in those peak moments of our lives.

Wed, June 7 2023 18 Sivan 5783