Be A Blessing And Be Blessed
by Jhos Singer
This week’s parasha, Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89), contains the Priestly Blessing, one of the most familiar and beloved pieces of our liturgy. In traditional settings, the service leader chants the blessing during the repetition of the Amidah during the morning service; many of us say the blessing to our children on Friday nights; and here at Chochmat HaLev, we offer the blessing at liminal lifecycle moments.
Here is Everett Fox’s translation:
May God bless you and protect you!
May God’s face give light to you, and show you favor!
May God’s face be lifted toward, and bestow upon you, peace!
We love this blessing – its poetic simplicity, the spiritual, material, and ineffable gifts contained in its verses. We’re always moved when offering it and we’re always inspired when receiving it.
The blessing had already surfaced in our consciousness this week when we felt its echo in a stirring and emotional speech made by Andre De Shields, who received a Tony award for his portrayal of Hermes, the Greek god of trade, travel, and trickery, in this year’s best musical, Hadestown. At the end of his speech De Shields offered the following sage advice:
“Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.
Slowly is the fastest way to get where you want to be.
The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”
This advice is one of the best interpretations of the Priestly Blessing that we’ve heard. What an amazing way to understand how God’s light moves in the world – through right relationship and love, perseverance and faith.
As we look around in our community, we see this light growing and flowing. We see people working on the building projects, greeting one another with warm smiles, and heartfelt offers of friendship, help, and support.
The road is long, and the journey can be so hard, and no one is strong enough to travel it alone.
May you be a blessing and be blessed by everyone who knows you.
And may you always do your best to serve with love.
Blessings and love,
Julie & Jhos