Tens of thousands of Jewish people from Israel and around the world gathered at the Western Wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Monday for the biblical Priestly Blessing.
The Priestly Blessing is performed at Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot – the three biblical festivals during which the people of Israel were required to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The event is led by hundreds of Cohanim, those Jews who can trace their lineage to the family of Aaron, Moses’ brother and Israel’s first high priest.
The following words are recited by the priestly Israelis over the congregation:
“May the LORD bless you and keep you; May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace.”
They are the same words that Numbers 6:23–27 tells us Aaron and his sons recited over the assembly of Israel during their sojourn through the desert.
As always, security was tight, with thousands of police deployed in and around Jerusalem’s Old City to prevent terrorist attacks against the mass gathering.