Torah: Naso

In this week’s Torah reading are the three-fold priestly blessings: “May the Ever Present One bless you and protect you; May Ever Present One deal kindly and graciously with you; May Ever Present One be present for you and grant you wholeness” (Numbers 6:24-26) As you may note, I have chosen to translate YHVH as “Ever Present One” rather than the more common Lord,Adonai, or God. For the enigmatic name YHVH is a conflation of all tenses: was, is, and will be. It is traditional at the Shabbat table on Friday night for parents to bless their children with these words, which were said daily by the priests in the Temple courtyard. When we bless our children, we echo words from across generations and pray that our children feel precious to us and to the ever-present source of love and wholeness-making.

Farewell to the Champ:
Have you seen Billy’s Crystal’s eulogy of Muhammad Ali? It is beautiful and has a lovely Jewish dimension:
I once saw Ali in the backseat of a limousine that came to a stop at a busy intersection. People gathered around and waved. Ali began throwing jabs at the back of the head of the person in the front seat. The light changed green and the limo took off, leaving all of us smiling. Ali had many phases in his life, both as a boxer and as a man. His enormous talent, desire to make other people happy, and his integrity endure to uplift and delight us.