In Numbers 6:24–26, God tells Moses to instruct Aaron and his descendants to confer the threefold priestly benediction upon all generations. When recited or sung in the context of the concluding part of a synagogue service, this text is sometimes preceded by the invocation “Our God and God of our fathers, bless us with the threefold blessing written in the Torah.” Additionally, each of the three benedictions is affirmed by the congregation by pronouncement of the words ken y’hi ratzon—“So may it be His will.”
I have striven to evoke the antiquity of the text by making use of parallel modal harmonies. The a cappella setting was first performed in April 1977 at Temple Beth El, in Great Neck, New York. It is dedicated “in memory of my brother-in-law, Judge Jair Shalom Kaplan.” His middle name, of course, represents the culmination of the benedictions.
Sung in Hebrew
Our God and God of our fathers, bless us with the threefold blessing written in the Torah:
“May the Lord bless you and guard you. (So may it be His will.)
May the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. (So may it be His will.)
May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” (So may it be His will.)
Performers: Robert Abelson, Cantor; New York Motet Choir; Stephen Sturk, Conductor
Publisher: Theophilous Music, Inc.
Translation by Rabbi Morton M. Leifman
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