Holiday Joy and Prayers in Jerusalem
by Hillel Fendel
Israel National News
Many thousands of Jews are gathered at the Western Wall plaza this
morning, the 2nd of the Intermediate Days of Passover (the first
such day for Jews abroad), for the special holiday prayers -
especially the Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing (Numbers
The ceremony has become a tradition ever since the liberation of
the Temple Mount and the rest of the Old City of Jerusalem during
the Six Day War in 1967. It is in commemoration of the Biblical
obligation to visit the Holy Temple on the three annual festivals,
namely, Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot
It is also a special opportunity for many Cohanim (Jews who trace
their lineage to Aaron, the first High Priest) to fulfill the
Biblical obligation of blessing the nation, and for non-Cohanim to
be blessed (also a Biblical obligation, according to some).
The Priestly Blessing is scheduled to be delivered four times,
with the first one during the first Shacharit prayer, at 8:45, and
the last one during the second Mussaf prayer, at 10:15. For photo
essay, click here.
Following the prayers, Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar
greeted worshipers and visitors, in fulfillment of the tradition
for students to visit their rabbis on the holiday.
The Old City is almost totally closed to private vehicles during
the week-long holiday, and public transportation has been
fortified for the benefit of visitors. The Western Wall Legacy
Foundation is providing motorized carts near some bus stops for
the benefit of the infirm who have trouble walking to the Wall.
It is to be noted that the Western Wall is merely a supportive
wall of the Temple Mount in which the Holy Temple itself stood.
The holiday prayers emphasize our goal of returning to the Mount,
and not to the courtyards around it: "Bring us to Zion Your city
with joy, and to Jerusalem, the House of Your Temple, with
everlasting happiness... Build Your house as at the beginning, and
establish Your Temple on its foundation; show us its construction
and gladden us with its rectification... and to there we will
ascend and be seen and bow down before You on our three