Interpretations of Birkhat Kohanim (and Kohanot)

The Birkhat Kohanim is the Priestly blessing which has been spoken since the time of Aaron (Numbers 6:24) and it still today given from parents to their children on Shabbat, to new babies at their namings, and to newly married couples under the huppah.

The tradition (from says:

May the Lord bless you and guard you –

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
May the Lord make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you –

יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
May the Lord lift up His face unto you and give you peace –

יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Below are two interpretive translations of this blessing as I have offered at various rituals and ceremonies.

Version 1:

May you always feel blessed and held.
May you always feel the warm, gracious energy of the Sun.
May you see the Divine spark in every face that you encounter.
And may peace be yours always.

Version 2 (usually for children):

May your lives be full of laughter and may you always sleep peacefully at night.
May the sun shine its warmth upon you so that you can walk confidently knowing that you are perfect, just exactly as you are.
May you always feel the love that surrounds you at this moment and may you grow to return that love back into our world. 

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