Shemini (Eighth)

The priestly blessing

Leviticus 9:4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings to sacrifice before יהוה; and a grain offering mixed with oil. To day יהוה will appear to you. C-MATS

Question: How would יהוה appear to the people?  The degree of Shechinah [Divine Presence] that their offerings would bring about was manifested by the descent of a Heavenly fire which represented יהוה‘s appearance among the people. Chumash

Leviticus 9:5 And they brought that אֵת which Moses commanded at the Tabernacle of the Congregation: and all the congregation came and stood before יהוה. 6 And Moses said, This is what יהוה commanded you to do and the glory of יהוה will appear to you. C-MATS

Question: What must happen first before יהוה would appear to them? Moses told the people that after they carried out יהוה‘s command of presenting the offerings, His glory would appear to them. This concept is fundamental to our faith, that first a Believer must dedicate himself to obeying the will of Elohim, and untold beneficial results will flow from it. Once a Believer displays his trust in Elohim, Elohim will reciprocate with every manner of blessing. Chumash

Discuss: How many times must you be obedient and walk in faith before the Blessings of יהוה come to you?

Numbers 6:23 Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them how to bless אֶת־ Children of Israel. You are to say to them, 24 יהוה bless you and keep you: 25 יהוה make His face shine on you and be gracious to you: 26 יהוה lift up His face towards you and give you peace. 27 And they will put אֶת־ Name of Mine on the Children of Israel; and I will bless them. C-MATS

Question: What practice did Aaron set in place for future priests? This is the source of the rule that Kohanim must raise their hands when they bless the people. Chumash

Question: What is the blessing gesture used by the kohanim? Each priest then raises his hands with his palms facing downward and the thumbs of his outstretched hands touching. The four fingers on each of his hands are sometimes split into two sets of two fingers each (thus forming the letter shin) the emblem for Shaddai (Almighty Elohim), or sometimes they are arranged to form an overlapping lattice of “windows”. The Midrash interprets this to mean that, The Divine Presence stands behind the Kohanim as they deliver his blessings, shining His presence through their outstretched hands.