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005 - THE PRIESTLY BLESSINGS ֹ ברכת כהנים


1. It is a custom in the Diaspora for the Kohanim to recite the priestly blessing only on festivals, since people are then in a festive mood. This form of the priestly blessing is recited in the Musaf prayer even when the festival occurs on Shabbat; the same applies to Yom Kippur.

2. The Kohen must wash his hands beforehand. It is preferable that he wash his hands as close to the recital of the blessing as possible, i.e. during the repetition of the Musaf Amidah.

3. A Levi washes the Kohen's hands. If no Levi is present, a firstborn takes this place. If no firstborn is present, the Kohen washes his own hands.

4. The Kohen must remove his shoes before reciting the blessing taking care not to touch them if he has already washed his hands. Therefore, the Kohanim should untie their shoelaces before washing, so that they need not use their hands when removing them immediately prior to reciting the blessings.

5. The Kohen should go to the front of the synagogue no later tean when the chazzan begins רְצֵה. if he has not begun to do so by the time the chazzan has concluded that blessing, he is not to go up at all.

6. The Kohen should be covered with a talitt when the chazzan calls our "Kohanim".

7. If there is only one Kohen present, the chazzan says "kohanim" in an undertone.

8. He than raises his hands under his tallit so that they are in fron of him, at shoulder height. He then separates his fingers between the middle and ring finger. The right hand should be slightly higher then the left.

9. The people standing behind the Kohanim are not included in the priestly blessing but those in front of them or on their side are included, for even and iron curtain cannot separate between Israel and their Father in Heaven. However, they should face the Kohanim (but not look at them) and not look around, as the blessing of the Kohanim must be face-to-face. The people should pay attention to the blessing, and should not recite any Scriptural verses (along with the Kohanim); they should recite only the prayer רִבֹּונֹו שֶׁל עֹולָם in three segments (below), while the Kohanim chant the wordless melodies before the concluding three words וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלֹום.

The chazzan calls out each word of the following blessing and the Kohanim repeat after him. the congregation responds אמן as indicated.

The chazzan calls outeach word of the following blessing and the Kohanim repeatafter him. the congregation responds אָמֵן as indicated.

Audio for Priestly blessings click here

יְבָרֶכְךָ, יְיָ, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ: (אָמֵן) יָאֵר, יְיָ,פָּנָיו, אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶךָ: (אָמֵן) יִשָׂא, יְיָ, פָּנָיו, אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ,שָׁלֹום: (אָמֵן)

Whilethe kohanim sing the wordless melody prior to saying (but not while they say) וְיָשֵׂם the congregation says:

רִבֹּונֹו שֶׁל עֹולָם, אֲנִישֶׁלָךְ, וְחֲלֹומֹותַי שֶׁלָך, חֲלֹום חָלַמְתִּי וְאֵינִי יֹודֵעַ מַה הוּא. יְהִירָצֹון מִלְפָנֶיךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהַי וֵאלֹהַי אֲבֹותַי, שֶׁיִהְיוּ כָּל חֲלֹומֹותַיעָלַי וְעַל כָּל יִשְׁרָאֵל, לְטֹובָה, בֵּין חֲלֹומֹות שֶׁחָלַמְתֹּי עַל אֲחֵרִים,וּבֵין שֶׁחָלַמְתִּי עַל עַצְמִי, וּבֵין שֶׁחָלְמוּ אֲחֵרִים עָלָי. אִם טֹובִיםהֵם, חַזְקֵם וְאַמְצֵם, וְיִתְקַיְמוּ בִי וּבָהֶם, כְּחֲלֹומֹותָיו שֶׁל יֹוסֵףהַצַדִיק:

Whilethe kohanim sing the wordless melody prior to saying (but not while they say) לך the congregations say:

וְאִם צְרִיכִים רְפוּאָה,רְפָאֵם, כְּחִזְקִיָהוּ מֶלֶך יְהוּדָה מֵחָלְיֹו, וּכְמִרְיָם הַנְבִיאָה מִצָרַעְתָּה,וּכְנַעֲמָן מִצָרַעְתֹּו, וּכְמֵי מָרָה עָל יְדֵי מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, וּכְמֵי יְרֵיחֹועַל יְדֵי אֱלִישָׁע:

Whilethe kohanim sing the wordless melody prior to saying (but not while they say) שָׁלֹום the congregation says :

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָפַכְתָּ אֶתקִלְלַת בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע מִקְלָלָה לִבְרָכָה, כֵּן תַּהֲפֹוך כָּל חֲלֹומֹותַיעָלַי וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְטֹובָה,

Asthe kohanim sing the word שָׁלֹום thecongregation says :

וְתִשְׁמְרֵנִי וּתְחָנֵנִיוְתִרְצֵנִי