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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Voeschanan

Threefold Blessing

"Avi, come close to me, so that you can stand under my tallis."

"Abba, I feel protected under your wings. Every time that the Kohanim bless us, I stand under your tallis. Why do I need this protection?"

"That is an astute question, Avi. Our Sagesii Yalkut Shemoni (Nasso 710) relate a fascinating conversation between Kineses Yisrael and the Holy One, Blessed be He. 'Master of the world! You told the Kohanim to bless us. We need only Your bracha Look down upon us from Your holy dwelling and bless Your nation Israel.' Hashem replied, 'Although I told the Kohanim to bless you, I will stand with them and bless you.' Therefore, the Kohanim spread their hands to say, 'Hashem, stand upon us.' He situates Himself between the fingers of the Kohanim, as the verse states, 'He peers through the lattices.'iii Shir HaShirim 2:9 The Turiiii Orach Chaim 128 adds that the Holy One makes His voice heard along with the voices of the Kohanim."

"That is amazing, Abba! Hashem's presence is here, and His voice is heard during the Bircas Kohanim. It is no wonder that we cover our eyes."

"Indeed, Avi. The verse states, 'Let them place My Name upon the Children of Israel, and I shall bless them.'iiv Bamidbar 6:27 This reveals His desire for Bircas Kohanim.vv Gemora Sota 38b In fact, a different verse compares the Holy One to a deer.vvi Shir HaShirim 2:9 Rebbe Yitzchak said, 'Just as a deer jumps from tree to tree, from succah to succah, and from fence to fence, so too Hashem jumps from Beis HaKinesses to Beis HaKinesses, from Beis HaMedrash to Beis HaMedrash in order to bless Klal Yisrael (with Bircas Kohanim).'"vvii Yalkut Shemoni (Shir HaShirim 2)

"You have really aroused my interest in this blessing, Abba. May we learn about it?"

"With pleasure, Avi. Firstly, the Bircas Kohanim is referred to as a 'bracha hamishuleshes' - a threefold blessing.

Abudarham relates that this is because it contains three verses. This Siddur Iyun Tefillah explains that Bircas Kohanim is mentioned in three places - in Torah, Neviim, and Kesuvim. Additionally, is it referred to in three places in the Torah alone:5 'Speak to Aharon and his sons saying, "So shall you bless the Children of Israel, saying to them,"'vviii Bamidbar 6:23 and 'Let them place My Name.'"4

"What is the special importance of a threefold blessing, Abba?"

"It will be fulfilled.iix Achareis Sholom It is like a strong three-cord rope, about which Shlomo HaMelech said, 'A three-ply cord is not easily severed.'xx Koheles 4:12 The Siddur Shaar HaRachamim has gathered many explanations and details of each blessing. Please allow me to share them with you, Avi.

"'May Hashem bless you' - with wealth, children, holdings, health, business, long years, disciples, fruit of the land, and the merit to be a conduit for others' blessings.

"'And safeguard you.' Protection is itself a bracha; therefore every one of the above blessings should be guarded. You should be shielded from bandits, hostile rulers, ruffians, and attacking armies. Additionally, you should be protected from the Yetzer Hara's attempts to take you out of the world. May the Almighty guard the bris of your fathers, your soul when it goes to Olam Habo, and in the future days (of Moshiach). May He guard your daughters (who need special protection). May the Shechina (Divine Presence) never leave you, and may your merits be eternally recorded.

"'May Hashem shine His countenance upon you' by giving you sons who are Bnei Torah, Kohanim who illuminate the Mizbeach, a radiant face, and the light of the Shechina. May Hashem show you His happy, glowing face. May the Shechina be amongst you. May He illuminate your eyes, hearts, and face with Torah, wisdom, life, redemption, and salvation.

"'And be gracious to you' by giving you Prophets, heeding your requests, hearing your tefillos, giving you favor in the eyes of people, placing His favor upon you everywhere that you go, showering you with knowledge, wisdom, common sense, mussar, understanding, Torah learning, and gifts. May He give you the knowledge to be merciful to each other. May He take you out of the servitude of exile, bless you with sons, and redeem you.

"'May Hashem turn His countenance to you.' May He remove His anger from you and turn His face (graciously) towards you in matters that are between Him and you, and when you are standing in prayer. May He judge you favorably.

"'And give you peace.' He should give you shalom, which is the vessel that holds bracha. He should give you Torah, which is called shalom. When you enter you will have peace, and when you leave you will have peace with every person. Your home will be peaceful. Even your enemies will make peace with you. You will be shielded from wars, wild animals, and devastation."

Kinderlach . . .

We have the merit to receive blessings from Hashem every day.xxi in Eretz Yisrael When the Kohanim bless us, the Almighty stands between their fingers and makes His voice heard along with them. They bestow upon us a threefold blessing, which has the strength of a three-cord rope. They bless us with all types of prosperity, safekeeping, radiance of the Shechina, grace, favor and peace. Kinderlach, listen to the Bircas Kohanim, and have intention to receive them. Thank the Almighty for the privilege of receiving His Countenance and pray that you will be fit to enjoy fulfillment of the brachas in their entirety.

Sparkling Conversation

"Hi Moishe, how are you?"

"Great! How are you Shloimie?"

"Boruch Hashem. Do you want to hear a great Devar Torah? I just learned it today."

"I do Shloimie, but may I ask you something first?"

"Sure, Moishie"

"Whenever we meet, you always have a Devar Torah to tell me. How do you do it? Are you always preparing Divrei Torah for me? What's your secret?"

"Moishie, that's a good question. To answer it, I'm going to tell you another Devar Torah."

"I might have known."

"In this week's parasha we find the first paragraph of Kriyas Shema, the prayer that we say every morning and night. We all know the words, "ViDibarta Bam" (and you shall speak of them [Divrei Torah]) (Devarim 6:7). Rashi explains this verse with the words of the Sifrei, "make them (Divrei Torah) your main subject of conversation, and not just side talk." If I am going to converse in Torah, then I must know what I am talking about. I need things to say, and they must be correct and clear in my mind. Therefore, whenever I learn something, I review it until I know it clearly and remember it. Then I am always prepared. When I meet you, I always have a Devar Torah to share."

"That is fantastic, Shloimie. There are other benefits also. Learning Torah is equal to all 613 mitzvos combined. For each word that you say, you get 613 mitzvos. Your Devar Torah earns you thousands, even millions of mitzvos. Not only that, you avoid Loshon Hora while you are speaking words of Torah. And you avoid pointless conversation."

"Well said, Moishie. May you always be able to say such beautiful words."


Kinderlach . . .

Shloimie and Moishie said it all. Learn well so that you know and remember what you learned. And don't be bashful or afraid to share your learning with others. Become a sparkling Torah conversationalist. It will earn you many mitzvos and will spread beauty and peace in the world.

i Yalkut Shemoni (Nasso 710)
ii Shir HaShirim 2:9
iii Orach Chaim 128
iv Bamidbar 6:27
v Gemora Sota 38b
vi Shir HaShirim 2:9
vii Yalkut Shemoni (Shir HaShirim 2)
viii Bamidbar 6:23
ix Achareis Sholom
x Koheles 4:12
xi in Eretz Yisrael

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