Chol ha-moed of Sukkot drew thousands of people to Jerusalem, where a mass of participants this morning partook in the traditional Cohen’s Blessing by the Western Wall that occurs in each one of the three festivals where Jews used to visit the Temple.

Photo Credit: Channel 2

Each year during chol ha-moed of Sukkot, thousands of worshippers come to pray by the Western Wall in Jerusalem to realize the traditional Cohen’s blessing.   

 At this time, thousands of visiters gathered at the Western Wall for the sake of taking part in the traditional Cohen’s blessing that takes place during the harvest festival.  Due to the large number of participants, hundreds of policemen and border security personnel were located in the area of the Western Wall to keep the peace, due to the disturbances that took place in the Temple Mount area recently.

 The Cohen’s Blessing ceremony is a tradition dating back close to 40 years.  It was instituted during Sukkot after the Yom Kippur War by Gafner Ha-Hassid and since then, the ceremony is held every year in its present format.  This is a relatively new custom, but the roots of the tradition are thought to be consisting of hundreds of priests dressed in special purple existing beside the place where the Temple stood, east of the Western Wall.  

 The priestly blessing appears in the Torah in the framework of a spoken commandment for priests to bless the children of Israel.  It is composed of three passages and is also referred to as “Three Blessings.”  The passages of the Cohen’s blessing are used by Jews to bless on other opportunities; for example, following the birth of a first born son.