The priestly blessing known as Birkat HaKohanim took place at Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Monday despite recent clashes incited by the Palestinians; The blessing takes place twice a year during Passover and The Feast of Tabernacles.
On Monday, religious Jews gathered at Jerusalem’s Western Wall to partake in the priestly blessing known as “Birkat HaKohanim,” or “raising of the hands.” This priestly blessing occurs twice a year when the Jews observe Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles).
The words recited in the priestly blessing are sourced straight from the Old Testament:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’
The tradition of this blessing was instituted in 1970 by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gefner. This year, the observance is divided into two segments to keep the crowd size contained for security purposes. The second session will take place on Wednesday. While reports indicate that this year’s turnout is significantly smaller than years past, thousands could be seen gathering at the Western Wall in photos online.
There were concerns of violence amid recent clashes instigated by the Palestinians on the Temple Mount. However, the event on Monday was not met with trouble. According to one Israeli report, approximately 2,500 security forces, including members of the police, were present on Monday.