I have been reading up on the shift in the text of many brachot from the second person (ata) to the third person (for example, "hemvarech et amO..."). One nice explanation comes from here:

It is thus apparent that the very wording of the blessing reflects the religious experience of all of humanity. First there is the contrast between the felt immanence of God, His proximity, reflected in the word ata, You. Immediately afterwards the sense of God's transcendence takes over, that is His distance from humanity and how far away He can sometimes seem.

...When faced with a piece of bread, fruit, meat, or a drink, the gratitude he experiences is one which contains a sense of closeness to God. But that sense is always ephemeral. It cannot last and it quickly transforms into an awareness of God as the powerful Omnipotent Being whose majesty makes all humans feel puny and insignificant.

However, I am left wondering about the texts of the blessings madebefore and during Birchat Kohanim.

The bracha said by the Kohanim before they bless the people seems to fit the mold as established by many other Brachot, and fir the explanation of the OU site -- "levarech at amo Yisrael". The Kohanim address Hashem in second person and then "move away" to refer to Hashem in third person.

But the bracha made before this, by the Chazzan, stays in the second person! "...she'otcha, levadcha b'yir'ah na'avod" that YOU, alone, we will worship."

This could easily have been written in the third person "she'oto, levado" -- that He, alone, we will worship.

What is there, in terms of meaning, that allows us to continue in the second person, instead of realizing the distance between us and the Divine, and moving to the third person (as the chazzan does if there is no Birchat Kohanim when he says "hamachazir shechinato")?

  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17010/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    There are others, like "הטוב שמך, ולך נאה להודות" that don't follow this exact pattern. Maybe there are specific connections that must be made directly. For example, thanks-giving should made directly, so we say "ולך נאה להודות" (this is also why the tzibbur have their version of "מודים"), and maybe this blessing too, as it emphasizes "שאותך לבדך", which expresses a strong connection.
    – Cauthon
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 21:47


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