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In 1979, two tiny silver scrolls were discovered in an ancient burial ground in Israel near Jerusalem called Ketef Hinnom. It took several years for scholars to unravel the fragile silver scrolls and properly date them. The scrolls, archaeologists determined, were from the 7th century BCE – 3,000 years ago. 


These tiny silver scrolls contain the oldest known biblical writing – a blessing so ancient it predates even the famous Dead Sea Scrolls by some five centuries. The blessing engraved on them would have been worn as an amulet to ward off evil, to ensure protection, abundance, grace and peace. 

It is a testament to the power of that ancient blessing that it is still in use today. 
In Jewish circles the blessing is known as the Priestly Blessing, or Birkat Kohanim in Hebrew.  In Christian circles, it’s known simply as The Benediction. Here’s a translation of the Hebrew in Rabbi Naomi Levy’s own words (without the formal Thee’s, Thine’s and Thou’s):
May God bless you and protect you.
May God shine on you and fill you with grace.
May God’s very presence be with you and grant you peace.

The Two-Sided Scroll: Doubly Blessed

On one side of the scroll you choose, Rabbi Levy prints the Priestly Blessing in Hebrew, the most holy and ancient of all Hebrew Blessings.

On the flip side, Rabbi Levy composes a blessing personalized and tailored to the particular needs of your soul.

The Hebrew blessing inside Rabbi Levy's kameas is the most ancient blessing known to Jews and to Christians.  It also happens to be the most widely used blessing by both Christians and Jews.  It is a blessing that has been offered up by rabbis, Catholic priests, Christian ministers, and lay people for centuries.
The blessing comes from the Bible in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6.  God tells Moses to instruct the Kohanim, the Jewish priests, “When you bless the people, here is how to bless them.”  And then the God says that by uttering the Priestly Blessing, the Kohanim, “Shall place My name upon the children of Israel, and I Myself shall bless them."  
In other words, the Torah is saying that the human uttering of this blessing from below leads directly to a divine blessing from above.

Kabbalah and Kamea 

This same blessing is a matter of intense importance to the mystical tradition.  It has always been thought to have strong protective powers. The words of this blessing are the source for the mystical 22-lettered name of God.  In English we have a limited number of names for God. In the Jewish mystical tradition, there are scores of varied lettered names for God that are believed to be infused with sacred powers.  For centuries, practitioners of practical Kabbalah would inscribe names of God on amulets that they believed had the power to affect the physical world, and even the supernatural world.  A kamea, or amulet, might be written to ward off the evil eye, or to protect a fetus in the womb against demons, or to ensure a person’s health.  
Amulets were worn as jewelry, or they were inscribed on paper or parchment and rolled up inside a metal tube that was worn as a charm around the neck.  Many of these amulets were similar in style to the traditional mezuzah, a tube containing a rolled up scroll of parchment containing biblical verses, that Jews hang on their doorposts to this day.  

The Ancient Power of Blessing

The Kohanim offer the blessing while raising their hands in a particular formation to create the Hebrew letter “Shin” with their fingers.  Shin represents the first letter of one of God’s names: Shadai. The name Shadai is also believed to carry intense mystical powers. This is the name of God that is always found on the mezuzahs Jews affix to their doorposts.  

 Jews believe the Priestly blessing is so powerful that to this day there is a custom to look away when the priests are blessing the congregation.  

There is also a tradition that if a person is suffering from worries because of a bad dream, he or she should come to hear the Priestly Blessing delivered by the Kohanim, and the dream’s power will be nullified.  

Bob Dylan, Mr. Spock and the Priestly Blessing

This powerful blessing has made its way into our popular culture as well.  The hand formation Mr. Spock uses in Star Trek when he offers the Vulcan salute, “Live Long and Prosper,” is the hand formation used by Kohanim as they recite the Priestly Blessing.  Leonard Nimoy explained that he needed to create a gesture for the Vulcan salute and he remembered a scene from his childhood. He was in temple at the moment of the Priestly Blessing when all were admonished not to look, and he snuck a peek at the hands of the Kohanim.  What gesture could better conjure up feelings of power and awe? 

The Bob Dylan song, “Forever Young,” is based directly on this one ancient blessing, “May God bless and keep you always.”  In the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” this blessing is the inspiration for the song, “May the Lord Protect and Defend You.” 

Even though you might not know the Hebrew words, this blessing is already somewhere inside of you.  You’ve heard it spoken somewhere in temple or in church, at a wedding, at a Christening or a circumcision or a baby naming, at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. 

Rabbi Levy’s Amulets

Rabbi Naomi Levy has been writing amulets containing the Priestly Blessing for some Eighteen years now.  She writes:

“I don’t write kameas for people because I believe in magic or in invisible force fields.  I write them for people who need them, because I believe that a tiny blessing around your neck has the power to unite your inner world with your outer world.  We all need reminders to wake us up and help us redirect our thoughts and actions. And yes, I believe the Priestly Blessing is powerfully holy, and I believe it’s important for us to be near sources of holiness.”

Your Personal Blessing

Often the last person we remember to take care of is our own souls. Life spins out of control, we are faced with demands in every direction and spread ourselves so thin that we forget to remember our own needs, wants and yearning. Seeking a kamea requires that you look deep inside and ask yourself: “What is the blessing I am seeking right now?”

Wearing your blessing is a way to embody prayer, to become more and more aware of your sacred role in God’s world. In ancient times the High Priest would wear an amulet on his forehead with the words “Holy to God” engraved on it. There is powerful to wear words that are a constant reminder of your divine calling.

 Bless Others with a Sacred Blessing

 Your ability to bless others is a sacred gift. Never underestimate your power to be God’s vessel in bestowing strength, comfort and light to another. When you visit someone in the hospital, celebrate a friend’s birthday or graduation, when you want to bless a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, see what happens when you offer a sacred blessing. Offer it to a new parent, to a newly married couple. Share it with your friends, with your family. A sacred blessing will live on forever inside the person you choose to bless.

May the power of this blessing and Rabbi Naomi Levy’s words bring healing and strength into your life, and the lives of those you love.