The traditional Birkat Kohanim and Shacharit prayers of Chol Hamoed Pesach took place this morning at the Western Wall Plaza with a great deal of excitement and in a very unusual way with a minyan of kohanim who are residents of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. They were joined for a special prayer and blessing dedicated to the complete recovery of the United States, and the entire world by U.S. Ambassador David Friedman who is also a kohen. The prayers were led by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites.
Due to the corona pandemic, the moving Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall took place this year in a very limited fashion and in accordance with the authorities regulations.
The minyan recited the blessings written in the Torah with great emotion, during Shacharit and Mussaf prayers, as emissaries of all kohanim since the days of the Temple. They prayed for all who have fallen ill among the Jewish nation and the entire world and for the end of the pandemic.
This year, we are marking 50 years since the reinstatement of the Birkat Kohanim tradition by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafner, zzl, now organized by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz prayed for the sick of the Jewish people and the entire world and for the end of the pandemic, and said: These days, with the entire Jewish people and everyone in the world looking up to Heaven, Birkat Kohanim is that much more significant. We know that the gates of tears are never closed, let alone the gates of the Western Wall. May Birkat Kohanim and the prayers of masses of Jews to protect us from harm rise up to Heaven and may the good Lord tell Satan Stop! And may we all merit to return to pray a prayer of thanksgiving with great joy at the Western Wall.