DailyHalacha.com for Mobile Devices Now Available

Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

(File size: 8.17 MB)
Birkat Kohanim – The Unconditional Blessing

A friend recently shared me a remarkable passage from the Torah commentary of Rav Eliezer of Worms (Germany, 1176-1238), known as the “Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah,” who was a disciple of Rabbenu Yehuda Ha’ahasid (author of Sefer Ha’hasidim, 1150-1217), and a teacher of the Ramban (Rav Moshe Nahmanides, Spain, 1194-1270). (The Hida, in Shem Ha’gedolim, tells that the teachings transmitted by Rabbenu Yehuda Ha’hasid to Rav Eliezer of Worms originate from Shimon Ha’pakuli, one of the Tanna’im.) Commenting on the verse in Parashat Vayehi, “Va’yebarech Otam” (“He blessed them” – Bereshit 49:28), which refers to the blessings which Yaakob Abinu granted his sons before his death, the Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah observed that the word “Otam” is written with the letter “Vav.” It could have just as well been written without this letter, and thus the Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah finds great significance to this letter in the context of Yaakob’s blessing.

He explained that all blessings in the Torah are given on condition. Whenever we find in the Torah a promise of great success or prosperity, the promise is made on condition that we faithfully obey Hashem’s commands. However, the Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah writes, the extra letter “Vav” in the phrase “Va’yebarech Otam” alludes to six blessings (as the letter “Vav” has the numerical value of 6) which mark an exception to this rule – namely, the six blessings of Birkat Kohanim. When the Kohanim bless the congregation, they pronounce six blessings – “Yebarechecha,” “Ve’yishmarecha,” “Ya’er,” “Vi’yhuneka,” “Yisa,” and “Yasem.” These six blessings, the Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah teaches, are unconditional. We don’t have to earn them. No matter how deserving or undeserving we are, we are granted these blessings.

This teaching of one of our Rishonim (Medieval sages) should bring our appreciation of Birkat Kohanim to an entirely new level. When we stand in front of the Kohanim as they pronounce their blessing, we receive them irrespective of our “record,” regardless of any sins we might have committed. This is a very special blessing which we receive each day directly and unconditionally from Hashem, and we should celebrate this great privilege, and take full advantage of it. This is particularly meaningful for our community, which follows the custom of having the Kohanim bless the congregation each and every day (and not only on festivals, as is done in Ashkenazic communities). We are so fortunate to be able to receive this special blessing, which does not depend on our merits.

Incidentally, this passage also gives us a glimpse into the remarkable “Ru’ah Ha’kodesh” of our great sages. From just a single letter – the letter “Vav” – the Ba’al Ha’Roke’ah was able to deduce this profound insight into the unique nature of Birkat Kohanim, undoubtedly testifying to his exalted level of understanding and insight.


Recent Daily Halachot...
How Soon After Kiddush Must One Begin the Meal?
Berit Mila on Shabbat – Bringing the Baby to the Synagogue
Opening a Front Door with a Key on Shabbat
Using Baby Wipes or Moistened Toilet Paper on Shabbat
Taking Fertility or Birth Control Pills on Shabbat
May a Doctor Receive Payment for Medical Services Provided on Shabbat?
Violating Shabbat for a Woman and Newborn After Childbirth, and for Fetal Distress During Pregnancy
Violating Shabbat to Care for a Woman After Childbirth
Violating Shabbat For the Sake of a Woman in Labor
Resuscitating an Unconscious Patient on Shabbat
Using Suppositories or an Enema on Shabbat
Taking A Blood Test on Shabbat
Exercising on Shabbat
Prescription Medication and Antibiotics on Shabbat
Shabbat – Using Mouthwash, Eating Food for Medicinal Purposes
Page of 220
3292 Halachot found