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Parashat Nasso - 5776

My friends,

This week's portion - Nasso - is the longest of all portions. It covers many subjects and it ends with the dedication of the Tabernacle, when the leaders of each of the twelve tribes brought an offering to be used in the Tabernacle on behalf of his tribe. Even though the offerings were identical, the Torah repeats the description of the offering brought on the day of that tribe. It took, therefore, twelve days to dedicate the Tabernacle.

Just before the offerings of the tribes, G-d tell Moses to instruct the Kohanim that they will be blessing the people at the end of the service at the temple, and the formula to be used in invoking the blessing.

The blessing contains altogether 15 words. It starts with a very short sentence - "Yevarechecha Adonai veyishmerecha" - three words, meaning "May G-d bless you and watch over you."

The second verse contains five words - "Yaer Adonay Panav eleicha viyhuneka" - "May G-d light His countenance on you and be gracious to you."

The third and last verse contains seven words - "Yissa Adonay Panav eleicha veyasem Lecha Shalom" - "May G-d look towards you and give you peace."

The Kohen was instructed to lift his hands when reciting this Bracha, placing his hands high so everyone can see the Kohen.

Our sages say that the Children of Israel merited this blessing, because they accepted the Torah at Mt. Sinai.

This blessing covers everything that a human being can ask for. To be blessed is to be prosperous, healthy, not be envied by others and to be protected from the evil forces.

A Kohen who is not liked by the congregation is not allowed to bless the people, because one must be liked by the community in order to serve as the provider of G-d's blessing.

This blessing was given to us because of G-d's love for His children. In our days, it is customary to use this blessing to bless our children on Friday evening. What a beautiful way to connect with our children who are present at the Shabbat table and with those who may be far away. Close your eyes and imagine that you are sending this blessing to them, as they are remembered every Shabbat, no matter how far they are from us.

If this is not something you do every Friday evening, why don't you start this week. The words are highlighted above.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram