Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

Naso: It’s all about the attitude

A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change – Earl Nightingale.

There is an ancient formula, an ancient blessing really, handed down from father to son within the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years. A translation of it goes as follows:

May God bless you and guard you. May God’s face illuminate you and give you grace. May God draw His face to you and place upon you peace.”

This archaic prayer is dictated by God Himself to Moses, commanding Aaron, the High Priest, to bless the nation of Israel with these exact words. To this very day, there is a custom every Friday night at the Shabbat meal, for parents to bless their children with these words. In every synagogue in the world, the descendants of the High Priest, the Kohanim, bless the entire congregation in the ritual known as Birkat Kohanim, where the Kohanim, with the prayer shawl draped over their heads and hands, face the congregation, place their hands in an unusual configuration and proceed to bless those present. This blessing is considered so powerful, that there is a custom not to look at the Kohanim, or their hands, lest we somehow get singed by the force of the divine power they are drawing upon.

Rabbi Hirsch on Leviticus 6:24 argues that Birkat Kohanim is not some incantation with mystical power to bless upon recitation. Rather, it is the attitude of the one uttering the words that determines the ultimate efficacy of the blessing:

There are no magic powers inherent in the priest himself or in the blessing he pronounces. The attitude of the one who pronounces it is an essential part of the blessing; indeed, it is his attitude that turns the formula he recites into a blessing.”

God Himself concludes the dictation of these verses with the affirmation that: “and you shall place My Name upon the Children of Israel and I shall bless them.”

But it is the power of the intention, the focus, the attitude of the one blessing, that calls forth God, brings Him into our lives and spreads divine blessings to all those upon who we wish it earnestly, passionately and lovingly.

May we be both a source and recipients of grand and multiple blessings.

Shabbat Shalom,



To my friend Netzer Winter of the Ministry of Commerce’s Maof group, for a fantastic attitude.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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