1 August 2018
It’s always wonderful to have a experience that lifts you up in spirit, especially when it happens when least expected, like during a trip to a grocery store.
We try to get to our favorite grocery store, Osher Ad, early in the week when it is least busy to shop for the coming Friday’s Shabbat food delivery to many poor families. We like the store and we like the many good deals they offer. The shelves are always well stocked and it is actually a nice experience when we go shopping there.
In the visit earlier this week, we finished our shopping and got in the shortest checkout line. There were two customers ahead of us. While we checked our list and looked at our phones for messages, we would often glance ahead to see how things were progressing. The first customer had just finished paying for his groceries, so that meant he should go; but he didn’t. The cashier, an Chabbadnik, said something to him, obviously asking him a question as indicated by the customer’s smile and nod. The cashier stood up, placed both his hands on the kippa clad head of the customer and said a blessing over him. Wow, we had never seen something like that before. It took maybe ten seconds and the cashier sat down to work on the next customer.
The same thing happened after that customer had paid as well. The cashier asked him something, the man smiled and nodded. Again, the cashier stood, placed both of his hands on the customer and pronounced a blessing.
Is this something new that the store is offering? Good food, great prices and a blessing!
When it was our turn, the same thing happened, only this time I could understand what he was asking. After I paid, he turned to me and said, “I am a Cohen and I would like your permission to bless you.”
Like the others before me, I smiled and nodded.
He stood up from his chair, placed his hands on my head and quietly spoke Aaron’s blessing (4 Mose 6.24-26) as though the event concerned only him, me and God.
I was moved. I have been a human for almost 66 years and that had never happened to me! I told him, “Thank you, I really appreciated that. I never had such a nice experience in a grocery store.”
He said, “As a Cohen, it is my duty and love to bless the men of Israel. I am making it personal, a part of daily life.”
I opened my arms to give him a hug and he was happy to embrace.
It took a very short time but the experience has been a part of every day since then. We remember it often in conversations and share it with others.
God bless that Cohen.
Only in Jerusalem!