This week’s Torah Portion contains some of the oldest words in Bible and the most beloved of blessings, the Priestly Benediction (Numbers 6:22-27):
May God bless you and keep you from harm,May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you,May God’s face be lifted unto you and grant you peace.
The power of this blessing, shared from the pulpit at the conclusion of services, over the heads of our children at Sabbath meal, at sacred moments in our lives, this power is real.
But this ultimate prayer for Shalom, for wholeness and peace, it is not so much magical as it is aspirational. We can’t make God bless us with peace by simply saying these words. A blessing is an expression of hope, and while hopes may begin by giving them words, peace can only come when we do the work of peace ourselves.We are partners with God in the building of a better world.
May the work of our hands be blessed,May the work of our hands bring blessing,May we all be blessed with God’s blessing of peace.