On the heels of Israel’s successful vaccination program and the subsequent decrease in the national infection rate, the traditional Birkas Kohanim tefilla will take place this Pesach, albeit with some differences due to the remaining restrictions on mass gatherings.
Due to the tens of thousands of people who normally attend Birchas Kohanim at the Kosel every year, the tefillah will take place twice this year on two consecutive days to allow room for everyone who wants to attend.
The first Birchas Kohanim tefillah will take place on Monday, March 29, the first day of Chol Hamoed in Eretz Yisrael, and the second one will take place the next day, on Tuesday, March 30, the second day of Chol Hamoed.
On both days, Shacharis will begin at 8:45 a.m., the first Birchas Kohanim (during Shacharis) will be at 9:15 a.m., Mussaf is at 10:10 a.m. and the second Birchas Kohanim (Mussaf) will be at 10:15 a.m.
Both tefillos will be honored with the presence of Israel’s Chief Rabbis, HaRav Yitzchak Yosef and HaRav Dovid Lau, the Kosel Rav, Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Religious Affair Minister Yaakov Avitan, and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.
The Kosel Heritage Foundation requests that those who attend the tefillah on Monday refrain from participating in the tefillah on Tuesday to allow room for everyone who wants to participate.
Last Pesach, at the beginning of the pandemic, Birchas Kohanim took place with just a minyan of participants, and this past Sukkos, Birchas Kohanim was again closed to the public and was carried out with only 20 participants.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)