Friday, August 3, 2012

God Bless You

What do you think of when someone says, “God bless you?” or when you hear someone say that God has blessed them with a new job, or a great partner, or other gift?  The meaning of the word “barakah”, the Hebrew word translated as ‘blessing’ means ‘gift’.  The root word is ‘baruch’ which actually means to kneel.  This can create a powerful image if you think about it.  God kneels and gives you a gift.  The God of all creation humbles Himself and offers us gifts.

Numbers 6:24-26 is a wonderful benediction.  God gave Moses this specific blessing to give to Aaron to say over the children of Israel and it was spoken each day at the end of each tabernacle and temple service. 

When the priest would raise his arms over the people to bless them, he spreads his fingers and thumbs in the shape of the Hebrew letter ‘shin’.   The image below is an example.  Fans of the original Star Trek series and movies will recognize this as a two-handed version of the Vulcan greeting.  Not a coincidence that the man who portrays Spock is Jewish. He adapted the sign of the priestly blessing to use as this Vulcan greeting.  The shin is chosen because it is the first letter in the name of Shaddai, meaning Almighty One.

Take a few moments today and listen to this magnificent three lines of poetry in a musical setting below.  My prayer is simple for you today:

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace.

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