Priestly Blessings

Parshat נשא discusses ברכת כהנים, the Priestly blessing. There is a special commandment for the Kohanim to bless the people of Israel. This is a positive commandment fulfilled in Israel around 450 times a year.

There is something magical about this blessing in that the שכינה, Divine Presence, is found in the fingers of the Kohein when he blesses the people.

The fifteen words of this blessing are so special that there is an additional prayer one can say during this blessing, in order to nullify a frightening bad dream.

A Kohein is meant to be a lover of peace as Aharon exemplified by his actions. A Kohein should be liked by his community. If he is hated, it is considered dangerous for him to give this blessing. Chazal were concerned that he will receive so many curses that could potentially harm him.

The Sefardim do ברכת כהנים outside of Israel, while the Ashkenazim in Chutz L’aretz only do this on holidays. Another reason why living in Israel is special. You get blessed by the Kohanim every day!