On Rosh Hashanah we are judged and on Yom Kippur the verdict is sealed. The Heavenly Court determines the amount of Divine beneficence to be meted out to every creature during the following year. Yet we still pray every day, beseeching G‑d to grant us all our daily needs. Why? Because only the annual "amount" of Divine kindness has been predetermined—not its composition. G‑d's kindness can express itself in many ways – prosperity, good health, children, etc. – we pray for G‑d's benevolence to manifest itself in those areas where we presently find ourselves in need.

Moreover, G‑d's supernal attribute of kindness instinctively prefers to express itself in a purely spiritual manner—in consonance with its own spiritual nature. Thus, the essence of the person's soul which dwells in the higher realms is the most likely recipient for the kindness destined for an individual. Every day of the year we are judged anew whether our merits are sufficient to "force" the Divine flow – which has been earmarked for us on Rosh Hashanah – in our direction. We pray that G‑d's kindness reach us in a very physical, tangible, and appreciable manner.

Forceful Kindness

The soul of the Kohen stems from the Divine attribute of rav chesed—"abundant kindness." In the mystical works this attribute is compared to a powerful river whose waters cannot be stemmed. Any obstacles placed in its path are swept away by the surging waters. Divine beneficence which emanates from this G‑dly level proceeds unobstructed and rapidly to its desired destination; it doesn't stall and break down in some spiritual realm.

The Kohanim bless their brethren with the power inherited from their ancestor Aaron. The name Aaron (אהרן) shares the same letters as the word nir'eh (נראה) "seen." This is an allusion to the special quality of Birkat Kohanim—its positive results are always visible and palpable.

Blessing Expressway

The Book of Numbers (17:16-24) discusses a "contest" wherein the leader of every tribe submitted a bough to be placed in the Holy of Holies. Next morning Moses removed them out of the Tabernacle, and Aaron's staff had miraculously blossomed and produced ripe almonds. This was an indication that Aaron was indeed G‑d's choice for the priesthood.

In comparison with other fruit, almonds ripen very quickly. Wouldn't it have been a greater miracle if G‑d had caused the staff to so expediently bear a fruit which ordinarily takes a considerable amount of time to develop? Why cheapen the miracle by producing a "quick" fruit?

But the almond is the most fitting symbol for the priesthood. It represents the blessings of the Kohanim which race unimpeded to their recipients.