Mass gathering comes to Western Wall for Sukkot priestly blessing


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 80,000 men gathered at the Western Well for the priestly blessing for Sukkot during holiday prayer services.

Some 100 kohanim, or high priests, blessed the men on Sunday morning,  according to a statement issued by the office of the Rabbi of the Western Wall.

Among those in attendance were the Western Wall rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz; the chief rabbis of Israel; and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Many of those in attendance at the priestly blessing, or birkat kohanim, were Jews from the Diaspora who are visiting Israel for the Sukkot holiday.

A special prayer was held for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the 93-year-old spiritual leader of the Sephardi Orthodox Shas party who was taken to the hospital Saturday night for the third time in several weeks. A special prayer also was recited for the safety of Israeli soldiers and security forces.

“The uplifting sight of masses of the People of Israel filling up the Western Wall plaza to capacity is reminiscent of older times, and more reminiscent of the Temple than its destruction,” Rabinowitz said in the statement. “They are an impressive and awe-inspiring testimony to the People of Israel and its attachment to the relic of our Temple, when masses come to touch the holy site’s stones: the stones of holiness.”


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