Beyond Facetime: The Blessing of Presence

I have been away for work a lot over the last few weeks. Being away reminds me how much I love my family. Another moment that this comes into focus is every week when Adina and I get to bless our children with the Priestly Blessing. This blessing that we say on Friday night comes from Naso, this week’s Torah portion. There we read:

And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying: On this wise you shall bless the children of Israel; you shall say to them: The Lord bless you, and keep you. The Lord make God’s face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up God’s countenance upon you, and give you peace. ( Numbers 6:22-26)

With my absence on my mind I have been thinking about how the essence of this blessing is that the children of Israel will get face time with God ( see use of the word Panav). While I am sure my children miss me while I am gone, I am not sure how much they realize how much I  miss them. While I love Facetiming with them, it does not cut it. What I need is being physically with them. Our virtual connection makes us numb to need for being face to face with the people we love. Being in the presence of my family is the best present. That is a blessing. Do we ever pause to think that is God who really wants to be brought into that space?

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