CONTROVERSIAL LECTURE THIS SUNDAY - watch this clip, see below for details
Our guest speaker Miriam Grossman, MD interviewed on NZ TV
Question of the Week:
I am a Cohen by birth, but I have not done the duchaning (priestly blessing in Shul) for many years. I feel I am not worthy to bless the community. I do not observe Shabbos, I eat non-kosher (I mean really non-kosher) and would never described myself as pious in the least. Who am I to get up and serve as a priest to bless the nation?
You are just the type of Cohen I would like to bless me. You have the most important ingredient that makes the blessing work. You feel unworthy.
It seems strange that the Torah imparts the power to bless on an entire tribe. The descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, known as the Cohen tribe, are commanded to bless the children of Israel. Cohenship is not a status that you can earn, it is a fact of birth. So why should a Cohen automatically have the gift of blessing?
The Torah is making it clear that the Cohen is not the source of the blessing. G-d is. The Cohen blesses not out of his own righteousness, but merely serves as a pipeline for the divine blessing to pass through. And to be a pipeline you can't be full of yourself. A Cohen who feels he is worthy to give blessings is missing the point.
You were born a Cohen, and that means you have this power. Be generous with it. It's not about you, it's about the goodness that comes through you. I'll have your blessing any day.