<I>Naso</I>: To Bless With Joy

Only in Israel.

Aloh Naaleh,

Arutz 7
Parashat Naso includes "the priestly blessings," those Divine blessings that the kohanim are commanded to confer daily upon the Jewish People. Sefer HaMitzvot (positive mitzva 26) and Sefer HaChinukh (mitzva 378) write: "The kohanim are commanded to bless Israel each day as it is written: 'Bless the children of Israel in this way, say unto them...' (Bamidbar 6:23)"

Although the Torah commandment to bless Israel daily applies both in Israel and in the Golah (Shaarei Tzion on Rema, Orach Chayim 128:44), in [Ashkenazi] practice kohanim bless Israel on a daily basis only in Israel.
In [Ashkenazi] practice kohanim bless Israel on a daily basis only in Israel.

Rabbi Moshe Isserles, the Rema, explains that the reason for this is that only one who is happy may give the blessing. In the Golah, Jews are troubled about earning their incomes even on Shabbat, and the requisite joy is lacking. The only exception is on Yom Tov, as Jews prepare to exit the synagogue at Mussaf.

But concern for personal economic survival is not limited to the Golah. It would seem, therefore, that the distinction proposed by the Rema is based not on the subjective feelings of synagogue worshipers, but on the pervasiveness of Divine providence (hashgacha) unique to the Land of Israel.

The Arukh HaShulchan observed that there were various rabbinical attempts to change the custom in the Golah, but these were all thwarted by one mix-up or another. This led to the belief that the custom had Divine sanction, because, based on the Zohar, only in Israel can the joy felt by Aharon and his sons at the inauguration of the Tabernacle be felt on a daily basis.
Rabbi Jonathan Blass writes from N'vei Tzuf.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.