Parshat Naso: Living the blessings of God’s love

This portion continues with the count of the remaining branches of the Tribe of Levi.

“Take a census (lit. raise [naso] the heads) of the sons of Gershon, of them too, following their fathers’ houses, according to their families.” (Numbers 4:2)

They are also counted according to their particular qualities regarding the service in the Sanctuary, which represents the highest awareness of our connection with the Creator.

The qualities of all the Levites encompass our highest thoughts, feelings, emotions, and passions in the service of the most tangible manifestation of the Creator in His creation: His love. In the full awareness of love we can direct and guide every single expression of our consciousness in His ways and attributes, in order to accomplish the mission that He commands us: to make this world a place for Him to dwell in us.

That place is where His presence is concealed under the negative expressions of the lower aspects of our consciousness that we must conquer and redirect in love’s ways. From our sages we learn on this.

“Rav Huna in the name of Rav Ami said: ‘why do they call the holy one blessed be God “the Place”? Because He is the place of the world and the world is not His place’.

R. Jose b. Halafta said: ‘We do not know whether God is the place of the world or whether the world is God’s place, but from the verse ‘Behold, there is a place with Me (Exodus 33: 21) it follows that God is the place of God’s world, but God’s world is not God’s place.

Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is written ‘The eternal God is a home’ (Deuteronomy 33:27). We would not know whether God is the home of His world or whether His world is His home; but based on the verse ‘God, You have been our home’ (Psalms 90:1) it follows that God is the home of His world, and His world is not His home.” (Bereshit Rabba 68:9).

This home — His love — is the place that is concealed in our consciousness and we must discover it, reveal it, and be aware of it while we live in this world. In this awareness we can understand His blessings to Israel through the priests of the tribe of Levi.

“(…) ‘May the Lord bless you and watch over you. May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace.’ They (the priests) shall bestow My Name upon the children of Israel, so that I will bless them.” (Numbers 5:24-27)

Let’s understand these blessings as the place where we regain our true essence and identity. Blessing bestows goodness, and being blessed by the goodness that God’s love is how we realize that His love is our life, consequently love guards us constantly as long as we are alive.

Once we are fully conscious of this truth we are able to receive His light, so we can become this light and consequently fill our surroundings with it.

In the process of expanding His light around us, His goodness also blesses our environment dissolving darkness and negativity, and makes reflect the light back to us clearing our way. Thus favoring our deeds and endeavors in everything we are and do.

In this dynamics God’s light elevates us in our connection with His love, our place in this world, and in this oneness we are totally complete, therefore in peace.

These blessings are effectively bestowed only through the highest awareness of our connection to God’s love, represented by the priests of the tribe of Levi whose mission is to guide the people of Israel under the Torah that rests in the ark of the tabernacle.

In the narrative of this parshah the priestly blessings are juxtaposed to other commandments against transgressions that separate us from the oneness with the Creator.

“Command the children of Israel to banish from the camp all those afflicted with tzaraat with a male [seminal] discharge, and all those unclean through [contact with] the dead. Both male and female you shall banish, you shall send them outside the camp, and [so] they not defile their camps in which I dwell among [in] them.” (5:2).

As we have mentioned frequently (see our commentaries on parshat Metzorah in this blog), darkness represents death as the opposite of light representing love as the essence of life. With the choice to “live” in the darkness and lifelessness of ego’s materialistic illusions we reject love as the true sustenance of life.

What we must banish from our lives and expel from the camp of love is everything that separates us from who we truly are before our Creator.

The connection with the Creator is our marriage with His love, the source of our life. Loyalty and faithfulness to His ways and attributes are essential to the completeness and wholeness we yearn for while we live in the world, and in this context we must understand this passage.

“Tell the children of Israel: When a man or woman commits any of the sins against man to act treacherously against God, and that person is [found] guilty.” (5:6)

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: Should any man’s wife go astray and deal treacherously with him (…).” (5:12)

Here we realize this, and our own personal relationships as husband and wife must reflect the same allegiance and commitment to our permanent connection with the One who gives life and sustains life.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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