The Priestly Blessing

אמור להם

שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כֻלָּם שׁוֹמְעִים

Saying Unto Them (Rashi)

so that all of them should hear the blessing

It does not suffice to pronounce the

blessings upon the Israelites in their absence

(Sifrei BaMidbar 39)

יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ

יָאֵ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ

יִשָּׂ֨א יְהוָ֤ה פָּנָיו֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְיָשֵׂ֥ם לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם:

(כז) וְשָׂמ֥וּ אֶת־שְׁמִ֖י עַל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַאֲנִ֖י אֲבָרֲכֵֽם׃

(24) The LORD bless you and protect you! (25) The LORD deal kindly and graciously with you! ֿ

(26) The LORD bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!

(27) Thus they shall link My name with the people of Israel, and I will bless them.


And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them

i.e. they shall bless them by the Proper Name of God (i. e. when uttering the blessings they shall use the Tetragrammaton and no substitute for it) (Sifrei Bamidbar 43).

Baal Shem Tov teaching on יהוה


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:

"Protection, grace, peace: these are God's blessings, communicated by the priests. We are what we pray for. If you seek to understand a people, look at its prayers. The Jewish people did not ask for wealth or power. They did not hunger after empire. They had no desire to conquer or convert the world. They asked for protection, the right to live true to themselves without fear; for grace, the ability to be an agent for good in others; and peace, that fullness of being in which each of us brings our individual gifts to the common good. That is all our ancestors prayed for, and it is still all we need."

From "The Priestly Blessings: Protection, Grace, and Peace"

Rabbi Nehemiah Polen:

The S'fat Emet has a mystical view of the Priestly Blessing. He does not emphasize the uniqueness of the lineage of the Aaronide priesthood. We are all priests, working to cultivate the sublime spirit, the inner point, הנקודה הפנימית. "Reaching for the נקודה פנימית is what today is often called a spiritual practice." Shalom is the inner vitality that provides fulfillment and life. The S'fat Emet links inwardness to "shalom in a way that makes the Priestly Blessing a call to all-inclusiveness, an invitation to appreciate the soaring range and interconnectedness of all being."

From " Birkat Kohanim in the S'fat Emet"

(כז) וַיָּ֣רָץ הַנַּ֔עַר וַיַּגֵּ֥ד לְמֹשֶׁ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֶלְדָּ֣ד וּמֵידָ֔ד מִֽתְנַבְּאִ֖ים בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃ (כח) וַיַּ֜עַן יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן מְשָׁרֵ֥ת מֹשֶׁ֛ה מִבְּחֻרָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנִ֥י מֹשֶׁ֖ה כְּלָאֵֽם׃ (כט) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה הַֽמְקַנֵּ֥א אַתָּ֖ה לִ֑י וּמִ֨י יִתֵּ֜ן כָּל־עַ֤ם יְהוָה֙ נְבִיאִ֔ים כִּי־יִתֵּ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־רוּח֖וֹ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃
(27) A youth ran out and told Moses, saying, “Eldad and Medad are acting the prophet in the camp!” (28) And Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ attendant from his youth, spoke up and said, “My lord Moses, restrain them!” (29) But Moses said to him, “Are you wrought up on my account? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD put His spirit upon them!”

To Us All - Musical rendering of Birkat Kohanim

To Us All

May we be blessed and watched over

To Us All

May the light shine brightly on our lives

To Us All

May the face of G!d smile kindly

and grant the peace of heaven to us all

and grant the piece of heaven to us all