Parshas Nasso
Numbers 4:21 -7:89

May Hashem Bless You... and You... and You! ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Ms. Fredriqua Ann Brown, may she rest in peace.

Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, "Speak to Aharon and to his sons, saying: 'This is how you shall bless B'nei Yisroel, saying to them: May Hashem bless you and protect you. May Hashem cause His countenance to shine upon you and favor you. May Hashem lift His face to you, and grant you shalom.' They shall bestow My Name upon B'nei Yisroel, and I will bless them." Numbers 6:22-27

Dear reader, holy student of the Torah, JewishPath is now entering the portal of our second year on the internet. In our first year JewishPath has been a source for over 200,000 Torah studies. BARUCH HASHEM!! There is no way for us at JewishPath to express our great appreciation to Hashem for this incredible accomplishment. To realize that people from most nations of this world that Hashem created have visited and studied on JewishPath is an indescribable blessing. To receive correspondence from readers expressing their appreciation, desiring to share in the financial burden and from readers desiring to extend their learning is so wonderful!!

It is a very good time to learn about how each of us can be a blessing.

Rabbi Joshua B. Levi is quoted in the Talmud as saying, "We give the cup of blessing for the recital of the Grace after meals only to one who is of a generous disposition." WHY? The one who is of a kind, generous disposition has a good eye as in contrast to the one who is greedy and envious who has an evil eye. Rabbi Joshua B. Levi continues, "As it is said: 'He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.' Proverbs 22:9 Do not read yeborak {'shall be blessed'} but {instead read} yebarek {'shall say the Benediction'}." From this Talmudic explanation we learn a key ingredient of blessing, "generosity". The one who is generous has the power to bless.

Rabbi Joshua B. Levi states, "Whence is it that even the birds recognize those who have a niggardly spirit? {They are narrow of eye.} As it is said: For in vain is the net spread in the eyes of any bird... So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain. Proverbs 1:17,19

Holy readers, if one is of an improper spirit, if one is of a miserly spirit, if one is NOT of generous disposition, if one is greedy, envious, then that one is described as having a bad eye or a narrow eye. Accepting hospitality from one like this is a transgression. IT IS NOT A BLESSING! Shlomo HaMeleck, King of Yisroel, son of Dovid HaMeleck, King of Yisroel wrote, "Do not eat the bread of him that has an evil eye {the miserly}, and do not desire his delicacies." For as one who fantasizes in his mind; so is he. Eat and drink, he will say to you, but his heart is not with thee {his heart does not agree}. Proverbs 23:6

Now there are several points about blessings and curses. Welcome and offer hospitality to a person of a kind and generous disposition. DO NOT WELCOME the greedy, the envious into your home. They carry / transmit curses, G-d forbid! DO NOT ACCEPT THEIR BLESSING - IT IS A CURSE!

The Story of When A Blessing Becomes A Curse!
There was a nice Jewish couple that were the landlords over rental property. They rented to a family to be: A mother, a daughter and a husband / step father to be. Later, after problems developed with the tenants, the Jewish couple commented that the lady tenant {who they later learned was quite immoral} frequently said to them, "G-d Bless You!" to which them said "Amen"... From the onset problems developed. The Jewish couple was very disturbed! They did not know what to do. They were of a kind and generous nature. They were very good to this immoral tenant! Eventually, after seeking the advice of their rabbi and an attorney, they began legal proceedings against this tenant. Soon after, the tenant visited the Jewish couple at their home. Being kind and naive, they invited this evil eyed woman into their home. They opened the gate of safety that guarded their home. They were hospitable. The following month the tenant returned to their home desiring to pay the rent. Again they, G-d forbid, opened the gate of safety that guarded their home. She paid her rent. They were hospitable! The next month she left the rent between the mezzuzah and the door. The following month her uncle brought the rent. That was the last rent payment that they received. Eventually she was evicted! The house was cleaned and prepared for renting. An ad was placed in the local newspaper and a "For Rent" sign placed outside. Nothing happened. They lowered the price! Nothing happened! They lowered the price again. Still nothing happened. They placed the house on the market with a realty company. Nothing happened. They lowered the price. Nothing happened! Eventually they learned that they had transgressed by showing hospitality to this evil eyed tenant. They renounced - they openly, verbally renounced - all acts of hospitality to her, did shuvah and shortly thereafter the house sold!

Holy reader, the effects of the evil eye are recorded in the Midrash. The evil eye is like a negative supernatural force opposing our goodness. The Midrash states that because the Torah was given in public, the two tablets of the Law were broken at the foot of Har Sinai under the forceful influence of the evil eye. As a result, prior to the dedication of the Mishkon, Hashem gave B'nei Yisroel their first blessing {through the Kohanim} thereby nullifying the powerful effects of the evil eye.

Holy reader, one must be very careful from whom one receives a blessing and to whom one offers hospitality! What may appear at first as a blessing could actually be a curse in disguise, G-d forbid! The door of our home is a gate for our protection and the protection of our loved ones! In the same careful way that we should guard the entrance to our home we should also guard the entrance to our eyes and ears. We do not want the evil eye to violate and corrupt the blessings that Hashem has prepared for us!

What we have referred to up until now is the blessing of a person with a kind, generous disposition. Yet this week's parsha speaks directly of Hashem's intended blessing which is pronounced upon B'nei Yisroel by the Kohanim.

The word Vi Saw Moo occurs only a few times in Torah and in the Prophets. Here in Numbers 6:27 it means "And they shall bestow {My Name upon B'nei Yisroel}." In Numbers 4:6,8,11 and 14 Vi Saw Moo refers to placing the carrying poles in their proper place, in their exact place, which appears to be through the tachash hide. In Numbers 4:19, the reference to Vi Saw Moo is regarding each individual man who will take a place specifically appointed by the sons of Aharon after the Aron Ha Kodesh was prepared for moving. From these unique expressions of Vi Saw Moo in the Torah we learn the great importance of exactness, precision and the perfect fit. Vi Saw Moo expresses the ideal of an exact fit, an exact place in such detail regarding where an object, person or in this instance Hashem's Name was to be placed.

Being out of place for the Kehosites {who moved the Aron Ha Kodesh} would mean certain death. This is emphasized by the warning "Hashem spoke to Moshe and to Aharon, saying, 'Do not cut off of the tribe of the families of the Kehosites from among the Levites. This is what you must do for them, that they may live and not die when they approach the Holy of Holies; Aharon and his sons shall {first} come {into the Holy of Holies and prepare for moving} and {afterward} appoint them {the Kehosites} each man individually, to {perform} his own service, and to carry his own load. They shall not come in to see when the Holy is being covered and {they will not} die.'" Numbers 4:17-20

Now when one understands the absolute exactness of Vi Saw Moo, placing Hashem's Name upon B'nei Yisroel, then one can begin to understand the required precision of the priestly blessing spoken by the Kohanim in behalf of B'nei Yisroel. To grasp this concept is so important.

First, the priestly blessing was introduced after the crushing of the two tablets of the Law given to Moshe on Har Sinai. The priestly blessing was given after the sin of the molten calf. We experienced separation from Hashem's presence due to our sins. Dear reader, the point here is that even though we sin Hashem has addressed our sins through the priestly blessing. It is through the priestly blessing that Hashem's Name is placed upon us. In other words, Hashem has covered our sins. Hashem has made our sins unviewable through the priestly blessing.

Second, Hashem introduced the priestly blessing prior to Moshe erecting the Mishkon. This means that Hashem did not want our sins standing as a wall, as a barrier between Hashem our Creator and us, Kal Yisroel. Therefore Hashem gave the priestly blessing to insure that nothing would stand in the way between Hashem and us when the Mishkon was erected!

Third, there were NO PRECONDITIONS for the priestly blessing other than being B'nei Yisroel. The priestly blessing is absolute and unconditional.

Fourth, in addition to covering our sins the priestly blessing brings ONLY benefit to B'nei Yisroel.

Dear holy reader, every Jew is attached to this powerful and wonderful life-changing blessing. Kohanim outside of Yisroel pronounce the priestly blessing only during the High Holidays. In Yisroel the Kohanim pronounce the priestly blessing in our behalf each day. It is reassuring to know that Hashem wants us to receive and experience His blessings always.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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