Use the Blessings Properly
The Bircas Kohanim (Priestly Blessings) are found in this week's parsha. The first blessing (Bamidbar 6:24) reads, "May Hashem bless you and safeguard you." If you look in the Medrash Rabba, Parshas Nasso (11:5) you will see many interpretations of the meaning of this blessing. Let us focus on two of them. "May Hashem bless you", "with affluence" explains the Medrash. "And safeguard you", "that the authorities will not come and unjustly take it away from you." A person who once had material wealth and suffered loss, feels the pain of poverty very sharply. Much more so than the one who was always poor. That is why we are commanded to give enough charity to a poor person to support him at the standard of living he was accustomed to before he became poor. We see that the blessing of wealth can turn into a curse unless it is guarded and protected. "May Hashem bless you," with material wealth, explains the Medrash. "And safeguard you," that you should fulfill mitzvos with your riches. What better use can there be for our money than to fulfill mitzvos? Some people do not have that opportunity. The Kohanim are blessing us with prosperity and use of our resources for the fulfillment of mitzvos.
Children . . .
In our daily prayers we ask Hashem to shower us with many, many
blessings. We ask for wisdom, health, food, clothing, peace, and much
more. The question we have to ask ourselves is what will we do with
these blessings? Why does Hashem give us health, wealth, and wisdom?
To serve Him. He gives us the tools and materials that we need to
fulfill His mitzvos. When we wake up in the morning with lots of
energy, let us think of all of the mitzvos we can do with that energy.
Man's Best Friend
"A man's holy things shall be his, what he gives to the Kohen shall be
his" (Bamidbar 5:10). If someone gives something away to the Beis
Hamikdash or to the Kohen, how can it still be his? The Chofetz Chaim
zt"l answers this question with a parable from the Medrash. A person
once had three friends. He was very close to the first friend. He
was somewhat friendly with the second friend. The third friend
received hardly any of his attention. One day this man was called to
make an appearance before the king. He was frightened. "What does
the king want from me?" "When the king summons someone it is not a
good sign." The man went to ask his friend to go before the king with
a good recommendation about him. Perhaps the king would look upon him
more favorably. "Will you please speak to the king on my behalf?"
The first friend flatly refused. He did not want to have anything to
do with the king. Who knows what the king might do to him for
defending his friend? The man went to his second friend. "Will you
please speak to the king on my behalf?" "I will tell you what I will
do for you, my friend. I will accompany you to the gates of the
palace. After that, you are on your own." The man was crushed.
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