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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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Photo Essay: Jerusalem Pilgrimage and Priestly Blessings 5772


Jewish worshippers cover themselves with prayer shawls as they pray in front of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, during the mass priestly blessing on the pilgrimage holiday of Passover.

The priestly blessing is know in Hebrew as Birkat Kohanim or as 'the raising of the hands' (Hebrew: nesiat kapayim), or 'Dukhanen' (from the Hebrew word dukhan - platform - because the blessing is given from a raised rostrum).

The Priestly Blessing consists of the following Biblical verses (Numbers 6:24–26): May the LORD bless you and guard you - May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you - May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace.

Jews from all over Israel and the world come on the pilgrimage festivals to take part in the mass Birkat Kohanim.

Jews stand on the Mount of Olives overlooking the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and gaze towards the Temple Mount, where two temples stood and were destroyed. Jews pray for the reestablishment of a third temple in the same place.

The Mamilla open-air mall stands adjacent to the western entrance of Jerusalem's Old City at Jaffa Gate. In a few short years since its establishment, it has become a popular shopping and dining destination. It was packed on the day of the Priestly Blessing of Passover 5772.

After the Priestly Blessing the Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar welcomes worshipers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and blessed them himself.


About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is a Contributing Editor at JewishPress.com, Chief Editor at JNi.media, talk-show host, and International Spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with their children.

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