Numbers in Birkat Kohanim


In Birkat Kohanim, the first line has 3 words, the second line 5 words, and the last line 7 words.

The steps the kohanim descended from the altar in the Temple were the same numbers.

We know that those numbers add up to 15, the numerical equivalent of a Hebrew Divine name, Yod Hey.

Centuries later, those numbers were repeated in the Tower of London of all places.

What is the origin of these numbers?



  1. How fascinating! I never knew that the Tower of London had a series of staircases that were three, five and seven. I am actually from London originally and I have been to the Tower on too-many-occasions-to-count and I have never come across that idea before!

    In any event, the commentaries teach that the first verse is a blessing for material success. That is why it only has three words, as material wealth is of the least consequence. The next verse has five words and is a blessing for spiritual success. It has more words than the first blessing because spirituality is of more importance than physicality. The last verse is a blessing that we should be wise enough to be able to blend the two blessings of physicality and spirituality together to reach a perfect balance. That is the most perfect path for serving Hashem that exists, and that is why it is the most number of words.

    As you write, the three verses together add up to the numerical value of the letters ‘yud’ and ‘heh,’ which spell out the Name of Hashem. This reminds us that Hashem is source of all blessings in this world.

    Best wishes from the Team