by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Every letter in the Torah has been given to us for a good reason. Even the location of the letters on the scroll has been handed down from Moshe on Mt. Sinai.
Not only has the location of the letters been handed down for a good reason, but everything the Torah tells us to do has been given to us for a good reason.
Many times we do not know the reason why we do things the way we have been taught, but we still do them. The problem with saying that such or such is the reason why we do something is that the real reason is surely much deeper than we can fathom at any particular time. Whatever reasons we find for the tradition will not be the ultimate reason. So, even without knowing the real reasons, we continue to do them, but this does not mean that we are not to ask, “Why?”
The blessing that Hashem commanded the Kohaneim (Jewish priests) to give to the Jewish people is written in the Torah in a most unusual manner. There is no other place anywhere that we find such a strange pattern. Why is it like this? When we ask the learned people they will all answer, “It is L’Moshe Me’Sinai” (the law as handed down to Moshe on Mt. Sinai). But still, we should look for a reason why it has been handed down this way.
The words of the blessing are “Hashem bless you and guard you. Hashem make His countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. Hashem turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.”
The Kohanim are instructed to lift their hands when they bless the people. But this tradition is not mentioned in the Torah. It is found in the Talmud where there is a detailed discussion of how high they are to lift them when they say this blessing.[i] There are a number of different customs as to how they are to hold their fingers and arms when the blessing is being given. But all sources say that they are to use their hands when they do it.
What does this have to do with the unusual way the blessing is written in the Torah? Here is how the blessing is arranged:
When we turn the scroll around the words look like this:
The unusual design forms the shape of a hand.
[i] Mishnah Sotah 7:6