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Awakening Blessings for Others

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:May 28, 2014

In the portion of Naso on this Shabbat, the Birkat Kohenim, the blessings of the Kohenim, are revealed. During the prayers, the Kohenim come up and give us a three part blessing; the three columns of the blessing. Therefore, on this Shabbat, every single one of us is given the ability to have what’s called the key of blessings, the ability to open up blessings for others.

Without going into the specific details, when we read through the revelation of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai in the Idra Rabba, we see that he’s actually injecting the Birkat Kohenim, the blessings of the Kohenim, with a new awakening of Light; as such, we have to know that on this Shabbat every single one of us is given the ability to awaken blessings in the life of another person.

In order to manifest that gift, we only have to have two things: certainty that we have that ability, and a desire to awaken those gifts with love for another person. The negative side wants us to think that this ability is only for righteous people and elevated souls. However, we do have the ability of awakening blessings for others, and we are given that gift on this Shabbat.

To drive this point home, I want to share a story from the Baal Shem Tov which comes from the time when he was still hidden, traveling from town to town.

The Baal Shem Tov came to a village and got the message that he needed to go to a specific house and talk to a man there. He went to the house, it was maybe ten o’clock in the morning, and he asked the wife and children, “Where’s your husband? Where’s your father?” They told him he was in the synagogue praying and would be back soon.

The Baal Shem Tov sat and waited. Around two o’clock, this simple man walked into the house, and the Baal Shem Tov asked him what took so long. The man said, “I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t know how to pray. In the books there are the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. There’s the Shabbat prayer. There are different prayers that are said at different times, but I have no idea where any of the prayers start or finish, so what I do every morning is I take the book and just read it from beginning to end.”

The Baal Shem Tov realized that was probably why he was there, to teach this man. He told him, “I received the message that I’m supposed to come and teach you. Let me sit down and show you where the prayers begin and where they end, so you don’t waste your time every morning.” And they sat down with paper and pencil and made notes in the Siddur where things began, where they ended, where the man could finish his morning prayer, and so forth. The man’s Siddur was full of paper, and the Baal Shem Tov was happy. He accomplished what he went there to accomplish, and he left. About a half hour later, the man’s children were playing in the house and they hit the Siddur. It fell on the floor and all the papers fell out. The man was very upset, and immediately ran after the Baal Shem Tov.

As the Baal Shem Tov was traveling, he came to a very big river that was too difficult to cross with his horse because of the currents. He took out his handkerchief, put it on the river, and with that, was able to walk on top of the water and cross the river. Meanwhile, the simple man was running after the Baal Shem Tov and saw what he did to cross the river; therefore, as he got to the river himself and realized he wouldn’t be able to cross it because the currents were too strong, he also took out his handkerchief, put it on the river, and crossed to the other side where he yelled to the Baal Shem Tov to please stop. The Baal Shem Tov stopped, turned around, and the man told him the whole story about how his book fell on the floor and all the papers fell out and now he doesn’t know what to do.

The Baal Shem Tov looked at him and said, “I don’t understand. How did you cross the river?” The man told him that he saw the Baal Shem Tov take out his handkerchief before he crossed the river, so he did the same thing. And the Baal Shem Tov said, “You know what? I think your prayers are just right.”

The lesson for all of us here, and it’s a serious lesson, is that the negative side wants us to think, “I don’t do this right or don’t do that right, and that’s why I can’t be this amazing channel of blessing for others.” But that is not true, and this is one of the great teachings of the Baal Shem Tov from which we should draw today; there is unbelievable power in simplicity and purity of heart.

If we understand that we were given unbelievable gifts to awaken blessings and all we need during the year to manifest them is to have the simplicity and purity of heart, there is nothing – literally, nothing - in the way of miracles and blessings that we can’t bring to this world.

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