At last 50,000 people filled the Western Wall (Kotel) Plaza Monday, for the Birkat Hakohanim ceremony – the Priestly Blessing.
The ceremony is held every year during Chol Hamoed Pesach and Chol Hamoed Sukkot.
Hundreds of Kohanim – descendants of the original Jewish Temple priests, who have special status in Judaism – took part in the Shacharit morning prayer and performed the mitzvah of the Priestly Blessing twice, during Shacharit and during the Musaf prayer.
The Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhal Yosef and Rabbi David Lau, along with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the Kotel Rabbi, have been personally greeting the Jewish pilgrims since the prayer ended, and were scheduled to continue doing so until noon.
Minister Uri Ariel said Monday morning, at the Western Wall, that he was “moved” by the occasion. Ariel, who is also a Kohen, stood next to the Kotel along with the other Kohanim, facing the multitude, and performed the blessing.