Parashat Naso: Blessing – Just Do It!

The capability to look with love and empathy and to grant the gift of a good word, a hug, a thought, your presence.

Parashat Naso is the longest Parasha in the Torah, 176 verses! It continues to list details regarding enrollment in what later will become the Israeli army (not that of the nowadays state). To this end it deals with a large variety of laws and issues. However, in the midst of this long Parasha God turns to Moses and says – talk to your brother Aaron and tell him:

handslegspic
כֹּה תְבָרֲכוּ אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמוֹר לָהֶם:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָֹה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ:
יָאֵר יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ:
יִשָּׂא יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:

On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel; ye shall say unto them:
“May G-d bless you and keep you. May G-d make His face shine upon you, and give you grace. May G-d lift up His face to you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24–26)

What a major “turnaround”! In some way these 176 verses “change color” in these three sentences. Why?
Because in the middle of the run, the day-to-day, the mundane, there’s an opening, a “petach” for the spiritual to fill in essence that which otherwise would be no more than “space”, to transform a “pile of bones” into a living creature.
However, it is not God who blesses but Man. God provides us with the text, gives a hand to the deed, but the blessing itself is a deed and a capability of Man.
I’m sharing with you two small parts of my future (if God wishes) publication “Asking from thence”;
“He who knows how to bless is capable of experiencing, even if for a moment, identification with the other; with his joy, his sorrow, his needs. He can be attentive and phrase a sentence which expresses this attention. The man who is blessed feels for a moment an experience of being visible, of partnership, of empathy, of solidarity. The person who is blessed feels “warmer”, less lonely, and will probably feel more self-secure.”
He who has the capacity to bless, in his capability “buys” for himself a reflective connection, empathetic and loving.
The blessing of the priests, Birkat Hacohanim, which God (through Moses) gave to Aaron and to us escorts us in many moments of our lives… Prayers, birth giving, Benei Mitzvah, weddings. No doubt the moment in which this blessing is said receives a special additional meaning in my perspective.
“Asking from thence”: “When I bless my children every Friday evening at the Shabbat table, using some of the tradition (blessing of the priests) and some of our own resources, I develop and strengthen in them (or so I hope) the knowledge that they are very much seen by us, that they are very much loved, that they are the most incredible creation (though quite independent!) in which we were lucky to take part, and like the Talmudic Midrash says – that they’d be able to say ‘The world was created for me!’”.
Clearly our message goes beyond the material. Our intention is to provide them with our spirits. No matter how we refer to this “spiritual hug”– blessings, wishes, positive thoughts – it doesn’t matter; what does? That we do it! Our, your capability to look with love and empathy and to grant the gift of a good word, a hug, a thought, your presence.
Hoping that we can see and be seen;


Shabbat Shalom

Note: This parasha was originally published a year ago and this week updated and uploaded for and to povesham.org

4 comments

  • I love this drash Nico! I also find significant the small verse that immediately follows: וְשָֹמוּ אֶת־שְׁמִי עַל־בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וַאֲנִי אֲבָרֲכֵם:

    “Place my name upon the people and Israel and I will bless them.” In other words, through our actions with our fellow Jews (and everyone else!) we “place” God’s name הויה, אהיה אש’ר אהיה, and then they will begin to see the potential for blessings all around them.

    Shabbat shalom, my friend!

  • Rabbi Nico Socolovsky

    Beautiful! I usually find myself dwelling on Birkat Hacohanim. and I haven’t focused on this part. With your comment you definitely bring the eternal thou of Buber! Thank you so much!

  • I used your drash (and credited you!) on Shabbat! Thanks!

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