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My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew Shorties

The Mathematical Structure of the Priests Blessing

The Priestly Blessing, or priestly benediction (Birkat Cohanim), is the blessing delivered by the priests in synagogues on Sabbath, holidays and else. Its source is Leviticus 9:22. Deuteronomy (10:8, 21:5) mentions Aaron or the other priests blessing the Israelites.  Further details may be found on Wikipedia (Priestly Blessing).

The blessing itself is specified in Numbers (6:24–26). Here it is in its original Hebrew:

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ; יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ; יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Adding the two sentences that serve as prelude and conclusion to the Priestly Blessing (not traditionally considered part of the blessing), we obtain (Numbers 6:23-27):

:אמור להם

;יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ; יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ; יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

ושמו את שמי על בני ישראל ואני אברכם.

Plotting the number of words in successive sentences, {2,3,5,7,8}*, as function of time, we obtain a typical S-shaped graph:

Haim Shore_ S-Shaped Priestly-Blessing

An S-shaped plot is typical to the penetration process into the market of a new product, and, more generally, to any diffusion process (find details, for example, in Shore and Benson-Karhi, 2007).

As it turns out, the mathematical structure of the Priestly Blessing (in terms of progressive word count) reflects a pattern similar to that of a diffusion process!

This implies a powerful lesson that Torah conveys:

Divine blessing is materialized gradually, S-Shaped —

Be patient!  Let God’s blessing take its effect !!!

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* Probability of this orderly sequence to occur by random is 1/120.

Reference: Shore H, Benson-Karhi D (2007). Forecasting S-shaped diffusion processes via response modeling methodology. Journal of the Operational Research Society 58(6):‎720-729‎. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602187

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