A growing custom in Israel is for the priestly blessing to take place on one of the intermediate days of both Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Today, tens of thousands of Jews packed the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza to be part of this ancient ritual.
More than 50,000 people gathered on Wednesday at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for the biannual priestly blessing. As per his custom since even before he was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Melech (king) Friedman was on hand to perform his kohanic (priestly) duties.
For the first time in 2,000 years, a group of Kohanim (men of the Jewish priestly caste) living close to Jerusalem’s Old City are studying the relevant Jewish laws to be able to ascend the Temple Mount and enter the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence is said to dwell.
On Wednesday, Jews of the priestly caste dressed in ceremonial garb and, using utensils created especially for use in the Third Temple, led the third annual reenactment of the joyous water libation ceremony that was once part of the Temple service.
Though the Temple was not built this year, many significant events have brought us closer than ever before to its prophesied rebuilding, and all over the world, Jews are praying that next year, the Yom Kippur service will take place in the Third Temple!