22X30 Monotype and chin-collé
The Priestly Blessing, (Hebrew: ???? ?????; Birkat Kohanim), also known in Hebrew as Nesiat Kapayim, (Raising of the Hands), is a prayer recited by Kohanim (Priests). It is based on a scriptural verse: "They shall place My name upon the children of Israel, and I Myself shall bless them." It consists of the following Biblical verses (Numbers 6:24-26):
May God bless you and guard you.
May God make His face shine on you and show favor to you.
May God lift up His face on you and give you peace.
The source of the text is Numbers 6:23-27, where Aaron and his sons bless the Israelites with this blessing. This is the oldest known Biblical text that has been found; amulets with these verses written on them have been found in graves dating from the First Temple Period, and are now in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Traditionally this blessing is recited over the children on Friday nights before the Shabbat (Sabbath) meal. During the course of the blessing, the hands of the priests are spread out over the congregation, with the fingers of both hands separated so as to make five spaces between them. The Talmud describes God as peering through the "lattice" formed by the hands of the Priests, referencing the verse in the Song of Songs (2:9)
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart
Behold, he stands behind our wall
He looks in through the windows
Peering through the lattice
*In the mid-1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy, who was raised in a traditional Jewish home, used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan Hand Salute for his character, Mr.
Spock, on Star Trek. He has explained that while attending Orthodox services as a child, he peeked from under his father's tallit and saw the gesture; many years later, when introducing the character of Mr. Spock, he and series creator Gene Roddenberry thought a physical component should accompany the verbal "Live long and prosper" greeting. The Jewish priestly gesture looked sufficiently alien and mysterious, and thus television and science fiction history was made.
© Igaël Gurin-Malous - Express permission required for use of my artwork in any media.