Parshat Naso: Numbers 4:21–7:89

Next, the Priestly Benediction. I love this. My father blesses us kids every Shabbis. And the hand gesture is Star Trek famous! You know the whole Leonard Nimoy thing? Totally true. He borrowed the two fingers on each side, ‘V' salute from his rabbi. Anyway, the Kohanim would position their hands like that and say this from Numbers 6:22-27 -- "May G-d bless you and keep you. May G-d's countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. May G-d turn towards you and grant you peace." Or as my father translates, "May you be immersed in G-d's blessing and protection. May G-d's supernal light shine upon you on your path to compassion. And may that path be filled with holiness, happiness, wholeness, joy, a little silliness, and peace." (For more unusual and unique translations go to Rocky Mountain Hai.)

You should try it with your family the next time you have a Shabbis dinner together. My father calls it the holy huddle. Arms around each other, we all bless each other. Sometimes our circle is very small and sometimes it is huge. Just say it in English, or, if you are brave enough . . .

Remember, read right to left. Transliteration:


Priestly  Benediction

Ye-va-re-che-cha Adonai
Ya'er Adonai pa-nav
e-ley-cha vi-chun-ne-ka:
Yi-sa Adonai pa-nav e-ley-cha ve-ya-sem le-cha shalom:

And finally, the last part talks about sanctifying the Tabernacle. Moshe finishes all the work on the place and anoints it and the furnishings and altar. It is now time for each tribe to bring its offerings. Though each chieftain brings the same identical offering, it is brought on successive days and detailed and described in the Torah portion (Numbers 7:10-88).

Parshat Naso from

More Torah cartoons at


Talia Davis is the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of rabbis. She directs the Jewish Portal at Patheos and manages the site's online community.

5/18/2010 4:00:00 AM
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