Rabbis have been busy preparing the traditional Birkat Kohanim, the Blessing of the Priests, set for Thursday.
One of the most moving events in the entire holiday, Jews and Gentiles alike flock to the Western Wall from around the world to be present for the blessing.
The benediction is given solely by Jewish males who are descended from kohanim – those who are in the patriarchal line from members of the priestly class dating all the way back to the time of the ancient Holy Temples. Those who recite the blessing cover themselves (and any children they may have with them) with their prayer shawls, spreading out the shawl in such a way so that they are unseen by others as they recite the benediction.
The blessing at the Western Wall is recited during the morning service by thousands of Kohanim during Chol Hamoed, the intermediate days of the festival of Passover. It is also recited during the intermediate days of the festival of Sukkot.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews come to visit and pray at the Western Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem during this holiday, and many arrive only for the purpose of being present to receive this special blessing.
About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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