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    Person to person – Naso

    The Chafetz Chayyim

    The Chafetz Chayyim

    The Chafetz Chayyim notices something very interesting about the priestly blessing which is one of the major features of this sidra.

    He sees that the kohen (or kohanim) whose task it is to pronounce the blessing is commanded to address the whole community (“They shall place My name on the Children of Israel”), yet the blessing is couched in the singular.

    Using archaic English to emphasise our point, the kohen says yevarech’cha HaShem veyishm’recha, “The Lord bless thee and keep thee”.

    Logically the words should be plural – “The Lord bless you (all of you) and keep you…”

    The Chafetz Chayyim’s explanation is that though the kohen is addressing the community as a whole, he is really speaking to every one of the individuals who make up the community.

    This one needs comfort, this one needs encouragement, this one needs a supportive hand – they are all part of the community, but none is apart from the community.

    The kohen reaches out to every individual. No-one gets shunted aside or pushed behind anyone else.

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