Dear Friends,

 

The Torah this week includes the best known blessing in the Jewish religion. Aaron, the High Priest, and the brother of Moses, receives the commandment from God:
 

“Thus shall you bless the people of Israel…the Lord Bless you and keep you. The Lord radiate His face towards you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance towards you and grant you peace.”

 

Our sages of some 1500 years ago explain: “the Lord Bless you”- with money and material possessions. “And Keep you”- from the destroyers and damagers.

 

One of our early interpretations conveys that “bless you” refers to being granted material things, while “keep” refers to holding on to them or, “May God bless you with possessions and keep you from those possessions possessing you.” 

 
Yes, for many of us, I suspect that there are times when we really are in danger of being possessed by our possessions. Our quest for more and for bigger and for better is all too common. But then, for most of us I suspect, the older we get and the more that we see of the fragility of life, we come to realize that we should measure our wealth, not by the things we have, but by the things we have for which we would not take any amount of money.

 

Someone wise observed: “Some people reach the top of the ladder of success only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.” For all of us, would that the “Lord bless us and keep us”-whole-hearted, satisfied and appreciating those things that matter most in life.  

 

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg