The prayers were led by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, who prayed for the sick among the Jewish People and the entire world and for the end of the pandemic.
This year marks 50 years since the reinstatement of the priestly blessing ceremony during the interim days of the festivals of Passover and Sukkot. The event is organized by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
On Sunday morning, a group of 10 kohanim (priests) – the minimum number of Jewish men required for a prayer quorum, or minyan – recited the blessing. The event is normally attended by 100,000 men and women who come from around the country to participate in the moving ceremony. This year, however, due to the coronavirus, the mass ceremony was canceled.
The participants – including US Ambassador David Friedman, who is also a kohen – followed government regulations, standing a minimum of two meters apart.
“These days, with the entire Jewish people and everyone in the world looking up to Heaven, the priestly blessing is that much more significant,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall. “We know that the gates of tears are never closed, let alone the gates of the Western Wall. May the priestly blessing and the prayers of masses of Jews to protect us from harm rise up to Heaven and may G-d say – Stop! And may we all merit to return to pray a prayer of thanksgiving with great joy at the Western Wall.”