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      Monday: Priestly Blessing at Kotel

      Shacharit prayer will begin at 8:45 a.m., and Priestly Blessing will take place at 9:30 and 10:15.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 4/8/2012, 6:26 PM

      Birkat Hakohanim (Priestly blessing)
      Birkat Hakohanim (Priestly blessing)
      Israel news photo


      The traditional mass Priestly Blessing at the Kotel is to take place Monday. Shacharit prayer will begin at 8:45 a.m., and Priestly Blessings will take place at 9:30 and 10:15.

      It has become a tradition to hold large scale Priestly Blessings at the Kotel twice every year – once on one of the Chol Hamoed days of Sukkoth, and once in Chol Hamoed of Pesach.

      The Priestly Blessing is recited in the course of the Shemone Esre prayer. In synagogues, it involves all of the men who belong to the priestly caste (Kohanim) standing before the congregation with their backs to the Ark and reciting a short three-part blessing, which they bestow upon the rest of the congregants.

      At the time of the blessing, the Kohanim cover their faces with their prayer shawls, and it is customary for the congregants to also cover their eyes or look away from the Kohanim.

      In the Kotel blessings, the same thing happens – but on a much larger and more dramatically poignant scale.

      After the prayers, Chief Rabbis Rav Yonah Metzger and Rav Shlomo Amar will hold a reception for the public, alongside Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich.

      The tradition of large-scale Priestly Blessings was established by the late Rav Menachem Mendel Gefner.