Ki Tavo September 5, 2015 / 21 Elul, 5775

This week’s parasha (Torah portion) contains a list of blessings for following the mitzvot (commandments). Receiving a blessing is usually thought of as something that comes to us from God, and this is clearly the meaning found in Ki Tavo. But, in Jewish life, we are also accustomed to reciting blessings—blessing God for the things we enjoy in life. We also have the “Priestly Blessing” that is traditionally recited only by Kohanim, those who are descended from the ancient High Priests. In liberal Judaism, this prayer is often recited by a rabbi at life cycle events. At a concert in Tel Aviv in 2009, Leonard Cohen, whose last name indicates that he is a Kohein, surprised and delighted his audience by offering the blessing to those present, asking for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. To witness that moment, click here: As we anticipate the start of a new year, let us all find ways invoke blessings in our lives.

Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8