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                                         PARSHAT NASO

Our Parshah begins with the census of the tribe of Levi. Our sages teach that Hashem often counts B'nai Yisroel because they are so precious to Him. We also learn how to count our blessings and make them last.

..."MAY HASHEM BLESS YOU AND GUARD YOU"... This week, we read Parshat Naso, which is the longest weekly Torah portion and contains the Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessings.

The Kohanim have the privilege and responsibility of blessing B'nai Yisroel in the Bait Hamikdash as well as in the Synagogue today. This beautiful blessing is divided into three phrases and contains only fifteen words. Check the Book of Bamidbar, chapter 6, verses 24, 25, and 26. In addition to the Duchan service on Holidays, we also recite these words in our daily prayers. They serve to remind us each day, where all blessings come from.

You will notice that although we refer to these blessings as "Birkat Kohanim" - the blessings of the Kohanim, they do not bless us in their own name but in the Name of Hashem. The Kohain merely acts as a conduit through which blessings are received.

Why is it necessary to add the phrase "guard you" when Hashem has already "blessed you"? What more could one want than the blessings of Hashem? While it is the ultimate need of a person to be blessed by Hashem, one must also learn to recognize and appreciate that blessing.

Our sages explain that we need Hashem to safeguard all our blessings of: health, children, prosperity, etc., so that we never lose them. Material blessings are so fragile and subject to danger that we need an extra "umbrella" blessing just to preserve all the other blessings!

The best way to obtain this special blessing is to use the blessings you already have - in the service of Hashem - through Torah and Mitzvot. Preserve your wealth by giving to the poor; insure your health by helping those in need; guarantee your children's success by encouraging other children; etc. Many people may offer you assurances of wealth and prosperity, but only Hashem can guarantee that your blessings will last.

Kol Tov!  Our best to's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM


Our Parshah mentions that Hashem counted the tribe of Levi? What was so special about that tribe?


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