Birkat Kohanim, is dedicated to an event one can observe in the Old City (by the Western Wall) just twice a year – in the days of Passover and Sukkot, in spring and fall. That is when the descendants of Kohanim from entire Israel and the rest of the world come down to the most sacred place of the Jewish people. They praise all who came to Jerusalem on that day in accordance with the ceremony established many years ago.

Birkat Kohanim/Priestly Blessing by Alex Levin
Birkat Kohanim by Alex Levin

The square in front of the Western Wall as one can see it on this painting by Alex Levin, is filled up with people in white prayer shawls (talits). White clothing of Kohanim and other males who came in for blessing are in contrast with colorful apparel of women occupying the Southern sector near the Wall. From the former and future Temple they are separated by a really little space, still insurmountable. But the spot where the Temple used to stand on is already free, all it takes is climbing up – not as much physically but mostly spiritually.

People at the Wall seem to be a whole mass and at first glance, they are deprived of individuality. But still, in the front there is a striking person – an orthodox Jew sitting on the roof of a Jerusalem’s house with his hands clasping his head. It is hard to say what he is thinking of at this moment. Maybe he is just praying and begging the Lord to bring all the Jews back from exile and restore the Temple?  Or else, he might be scared of Meshiah’s coming? Meaning the sufferings related to His coming? But the most important thing is that the man is above all those who are praying at the Wall, and he can see what they can’t. Even with his eyes shut…

Alexander Riman
Researcher of the Jewish Heritage and Journalist, Israel

Video: Birkat Kohanim by Alex Levin

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