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    The kohen’s love – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why does the kohen praise God who “commanded us to bless His people Israel in love“?

    duchen birkat kohanim priestly blessingA. One possibility: God lovingly commanded the kohanim to pronounce the blessing. He must love the kohanim very greatly to entrust them with this responsibility.

    A more probable interpretation: the kohanim must love the people. Kohanim are as likely to have quarrels with others as the rest of us are. But when they bless the congregation they have to rise above any personal issues and love their fellow Jews both collectively and individually.

    The congregation must reciprocate and love the kohanim collectively and individually: as the kohen must rise above personal issues, so must the congregation.

    A further question: when the kohanim bless the people, who blesses the kohanim?

    The answer is implied in the words of the Biblical verse, “They shall place My name upon the Children of Israel, and I shall bless them” (Num. 6:27), i.e., “When they bless the people, God Himself blesses them”.

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