This week’s portion contains the Priestly blessing, first recited by the High Priest, Aaron. This three-fold blessing begins with three words: Yevareichecha Adonai Vayishmerecha – May God bless you and protect you.
The medieval commentator, Rashi, interpreted this verse to mean: May God bless you with property and may God protect you from being robbed. A later Hasidic teaching offered a more spiritual interpretation: May God bless you with prosperity and may your property not come to possess you.
I appreciate this deeper message from Hasidism. Certainly all of us deserve the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, and shelter. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a comfortable standard of living. The issue is when the pursuit of material well-being leads us to neglect our own spirit. The desire for a fancy car, a bigger boat, or a more lavish home can lead us to forget our better selves, hence the Hasidic cautionary that we not allow possessions to take possession of us.
May this prayer from Reb Nachman of Breslov, a brilliant Hasidic leader, help remind us to maintain balance and perspective in our lives:
Dear God, save me from wanting what is not mine.
Protect me from my own jealousy,
From desiring the money or the possessions,
The position or the honor that belong to another.
Let me trust in You enough to believe
That what is meant to be mine will come to me.
Let me trust in You enough to be satisfied
With all I have today.