This week’s parasha contains the precise wording of Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing:
The LORD bless you and protect you!
The LORD deal kindly and graciously with you!
The LORD bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!
When I was the rabbi of the Conservative shul in York, Pennsylvania, I gave kosher certification to the bakery at one of the three Giant supermarkets in town. The Giant supermarkets in Pennsylvania are a different company than the Giant supermarkets here, but today they are both divisions of the same Dutch conglomerate Ahold Delhaize. At the time their policy was to try and have at least one certified kosher bakery in each city they served and they would turn to the rabbi of the most traditional congregation in town to give supervision.
One morning I went to inspect the bakery and the assistant manager, who I had come to know, said “oh good, you’re here to bless the bakery.” I explained to her that my visits weren’t actually to “bless” the bakery but rather to make sure that the ingredients were all kosher and the proper procedures were being followed. She gave me a sad look and said “our bakery really needs blessed.”
I’m not in the business of blessing bakeries and given the many Orthodox congregations in our area I am no longer in the business of giving kosher certification either, but I learned a lesson that morning. We all need more blessing in our lives and if we have a chance to be an agent of blessing, we should do so.
On the subject of blessing, we want to congratulate Julie Pfefer and Jay Scheiner and their families, including Jay’s parents and our active members Barry and Marilyn Scheiner, on their upcoming wedding. If you plan to attend services this Shabbat morning in person, including their aufruf, and particularly if you are planning to attend the kiddush afterwards, please register using the link above as soon as possible. It’s always a challenge when planning events which feature food to make sure that we have enough for everyone who attends without being wasteful, and requesting advance registration helps us to meet this challenge.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian