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Friday, April 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemini

    The beginning of this week's parsha recounts the proceedings on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mishkon. After preparing a series of korbanos, Aharon raises his hands, blesses the nation and then steps down from preparing the chatas, olah and shelamim sacrifices (9:22). Rashi writes that the blessing that Aharon gave to the nation was the traditional Birkas Kohanim (Bemidbar 6:24-26).

    Ba'al HaTurim offers a concise, yet interesting insight into the relevance of Birkas Kohanim to this specific occasion. Aharon HaKohein had just completed the preparation of three korbanos and the three blessings of Birkas Kohanim each correspond to one of the sacrifices. The first blessing, "Yevarechecha HaShem veyishmerecha," is the berachah of shemirah, watching over. We find the theme of watching over in connection with prevention of sin, as in the song of Chanah (Shemuel I 2:9) "Raglei chasidav yishmor," He guards the ways of the pious. This is traditionally interpreted as HaShem guarding the righteous from unintentional sin. This blessing, therefore, corresponds to the korban chatas, brought for inadvertent transgressions.

    The second blessing is connected to the korban olah by means of the pasuk referring to the trek to Yerushalayim for the shalosh regalim, (Shemos 34:24) "Ba'alosecha leiraos," when you go up to be seen. The going up to Yerushalayim facilitates our "being seen" before HaShem. The olah, all of which goes up to the Heavens, warrants the second blessing that HaShem will illuminate His countenance towards us.

    The final blessing of Birkas Kohanim, "veyaseim lecha shalom," is the bestowing of peace. The root of the word shelamim is shalom, peace, as Rashi (3:1) explains. The shelamim brings peace to the world and peace to all the parties involved in the korban because each one gets a portion. This establishes the most obvious connection of the three between the shelamim and the final blessing. Aharon invoked Birkas Kohanim not as an arbitrary series of blessings but one that was specifically related to the service he was performing.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: Omer Counting in Different Bases
Dikdukian: Lehavdil
AstroTorah: No Compasses in the Midbar by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: High Noon in the Mikdash? by R' Ari Storch

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