Naso – Counting Your Blessings

When thinking in terms of gadlus ha’adam, the greatness of man, normally we consider how much of a positive impact a person has the potential to make in this world, and the great heights one can strive for with his G-D-given abilities. However, we can also unfortunately see the great power and depth of mankind through the potential wickedness and destruction that they can wrought onto this world.

The Moshav Zekeinim brings a very fascinating inquiry about the need for birkas kohanim, the priestly blessings, that are listed in this week’s Torah portion of Naso (Bamidbar 6:24-26). The Moshav Zekeinim is quoting The Chasid who asks, ‘what is the point of the priestly blessings? If it’s for the righteous then they are already blessed by the portion of Bechukosai, “If you walk in my ways etc.” If it is for the wicked, they were in fact rebuked the first time (in Bechukosai) and second times (in Ki Savo)?’ He answers that the priestly blessings are in fact for the righteous, because there are many wicked people who have good luck in cursing even the righteous; therefore birkas kohanim was created to save the righteous from potential evil curses. (Click here for Hebrew text.)
We see from this Moshav Zekeinim that in a perfect world there would be no need for birkas kohanim [the kohanim giving the priestly blessings to the congregation at duchening] because the righteous will earn the blessings delineated in the Torah portion of Bechukosai (and Ki Savo) if they observe Hashem’s mitzvos and walk in His ways. And the wicked don’t deserve it anyways, unless they repent after being rebuked, and at that time they would be deserving of the blessings in Bechukosai and Ki Savo! So either way, there should have been no reason for Hashem to create the priestly blessings for anyone; so why were they created? He answers that they were created as a defense mechanism, a sort of combative forcefield, against curses that wicked people might hurl at the righteous.

Why would Hashem, All- Good, All-Righteous, create such a system in the world? The answer is that part of Hashem’s perfect, positive calculations is free choice; the ability to choose between good and evil. Hashem gave humanity equal opportunity and skill to reach great heights and achieve incredible feats, whether for good or evil. This is gadlus ha’adam, the greatness of mankind, which no other being in existence has. Yet despite it being our responsibility to choose to do the right thing, but the reality is that not all people choose the path of righteousness, and the All-Knowing Hashem knows that. So He created a backup of birkas kohanim, as security for the righteous, against the negative spiritual onslaught of the wicked.