Birkat Hakohanim at Kotel Succot 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy Western Wall Heritage Fund)
More than 70,000 worshipers crowded into the Western Wall plaza on Sunday
morning for the Blessing of the Priests, which takes place twice a year, on the
intermediate days of Succot and Pessah.
Gallery: Jerusalem 'kapparot' rituals in full swing
Joining the worshipers was Chief
Rabbi Yona Metzger, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin,
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, police chief Yochanan Danino, and the Rabbi of the
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz.
According to the Western Wall
Heritage Fund, the tradition of mass blessings during the two pilgrimage
holidays was started by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gefner in 1970, who drew
inspiration from the traditional saying that the Messiah will come if 300
kohanim (priests) recite the Blessing of the Priests together.
holiday season is one of the busiest for the Western Wall. The Western Wall
counted more than one million visits for slihot prayers before Yom Kippur,
including 35,000 soldiers, who also visited the Western Wall tunnels.