During the first days of Sukkot, around 200,000 people visited the Kotel • This morning, over 50,000 people participated in the Birkat Kohanim • Another Birkat Kohanim service will be held on Wednesday at the Western Wall Plaza.

Tens of thousands participated in Birkat Kohanim and in the Shacharit and Musaf prayers of Sukkot held this morning (Monday) at the Western Wall Plaza.

In keeping with tradition during the intermediate days of the festival, this year marks the 53rd year of Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall, initiated by the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafni zz"l and organized for years by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation during the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot. Hundreds of Kohanim (Jewish priests) bless the large congregation that streams to the Western Wall Plaza with the special priestly blessing from the Torah.

The event took place in the presence of Israel's Chief Rabbis, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau; Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites; Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, rabbis, ministers, public figures, hundreds of Kohanim, and thousands of worshippers.

The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, said to the tens of thousands of participants in the Birkat Kohanim service: "This year, we received more than anything the blessing of 'And He shall give you peace.' This is a prayer that we all carry in our hearts to our Father in Heaven, asking Him to remove baseless hatred from us and to spread the sukkah of peace over us."

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation noted: "This year, we added an additional Birkat Kohanim event to alleviate the crowds and enable anyone who wishes to participate in this emotional tradition to do so. The Foundation has been preparing for the arrival of the tens of thousands of visitors and worshippers during the days of Sukkot to fulfill the commemoration of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It also placed Sukkot in the Western Wall Plaza for the benefit of the general public, with four species available in one of them for public use. During the intermediate days of the festival, the Western Wall Tunnels sites are open in an enhanced format, with a few remaining spots yet available for booking through the Foundation's website."