I guess peeking at the kohanim was kind of like eating from the tree of knowledge, I used to think if you looked your eyes would be burned out, you would go blind or something terrible would happen to you that involved eyes, I didn’t like the thought of having my eyes gouged out or anything coming close to my eyes, so I would hide under my fathers talis like all the other kids.
Then one day I walked in late to birchas kohanim, my father come out of shul screaming for us to get in shul for duchaning, but on that day I must have been in the bathroom or breaking windows in the ballroom which was one of our favorite accidental pastimes. When I entered shul I kind of felt like one of those people who come into shul during the end of lecha dodi when everyone is turned around, accept this time everyone was competing for a grand wizard look alike contest using talesim instead of sheets.
As I walked in I couldn’t help but notice the three kohanim looking at everyone with their hands formed the “live long and prosper” sign. I squinted and looked around for the devil with his eye gouger but he never appeared, then I just stood there and wondered how much trouble I would get in if I were caught- I was never caught and have since developed this fascination into looking at the kohanim during duchaning.
I have my theories that underneath the talesim the kohanim are gathered in some sort of fantasy football huddle, betting on how long the Rabbi is going to speak for or whether or not they should prank the shul and start chanting the tune from Simon and Grafunkels “the Boxer” instead of the traditional one. Someone one time mentioned that he can imagine a heretical guy getting up during birchas kohanim and giving everyone the double middle finger instead of the Star Trek sign- that would count as a bracha levatala wouldn’t it.