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Naso’s Torah reading is a diverse and content-rich part. It includes a description of the work done by the Levites to transport the components of the Tabernacle during their journey through the wilderness. It contains instructions regarding the treatment of any ritually impure person, their need to come out of the camp and purify themselves. We then have the unusual description of the Sotah ceremony, the ritual of a woman suspected and accused of adultery by her husband, followed by the account of the laws of the Nazirites who abstained from wine, cutting their hair and defilement. of the dead.
The second half of Naso’s portion gives a detailed and extensive description of the sacrifices and gifts that the princes of the tribes of Israel bring for the dedication ceremony of the Tabernacle. It is notable for the twelve detailed repetitions of what is seemingly the same offering over and over and over again.
However, tucked between these two sections of Naso is the famous Priestly Blessing, only a few verses long. It states the following:
“God will bless you and protect you. God will shine His face on you and give you grace. God will turn his face to you and give you peace.
The Chidushei Harim on Numbers 6:24 questions the need to mention protection along with blessing in the first verse. By way of explanation, he opposes the blessing of God to the blessing of a king of flesh and blood. When a human king grants a person a blessing or a gift, once that person leaves the presence of the king, there is little to stop the thieves from harming them, stealing the gifts and nullify any blessing the king has given.
However, with the blessings of God, the protection of that blessing is an integral part of what God bestows. The protection of the blessing is included in the blessing itself.
The Chidushei Harim continues that even if a mortal king were to assign guards to escort and protect the recipient of his gift, that is not how mortal blessings are given and even such protection would be limited. On the other hand, God’s protection is intrinsic to blessing and inseparable from God’s will.
May we always be the recipients of divine variety gifts that will remain unharmed and free from any negative intentions.
Shabbat Shalom and Shag Shavuot Sameach,