Secrets of the Priestly Blessing

Kli Yakar Numbers: Naso


Secrets of the Priestly Blessing

Priestly Blessing during Temple period

In Israel, every day, during the morning prayers (and outside of Israel, just during the Festivals), the Kohanim, the priestly descendants of Aaron, the High Priest, bless the rest of the congregation.


There is an ancient, fifteen-word formula that they recite, while spreading their fingers in an unusual pattern. The Kli Yakar (Number 6:24) states that there are secrets to creation hidden within the ritual. 

The ten fingers refer to the ten revealed physical attributes of a person and the ten hidden spiritual aspects of a person. He explains that each parent contributes five physical attributes to their child, while God bestows all ten of the spiritual characteristics.


The father is responsible for all the “white” in a person: tendons, bones, brain, fingernails, and the white of the eyes.

The mother is responsible for all the “red” in a person: skin, muscles, blood, hair, and the dark of the eyes.

God infuses man with ten spiritual abilities: spirit, soul, features of the face, vision, hearing, speech, walking, knowledge, understanding and wisdom. 

The priests, during their blessing, are directing divine energy towards us. The blessings are directed to both the openly physical aspects of our being, as well as the hidden spiritual dimension.


May we continuously absorb their blessings. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach,




To all my priestly friends. Keep on blessing us.


2 thoughts on “Secrets of the Priestly Blessing”

    1. The text of the priestly blessing is of biblical origin, though it is still used through modern times.

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