JERUSALEM, Israel – Israelis and Jews from around the world packed the Western Wall Plaza during the Sukkot holiday to participate in an ancient biblical tradition.
They came for the "Birkat Hacohanim" or priestly blessing during the biblical holiday of Sukkot.
“We've been coming here for thousands of years for this special day,” Margo Zemel of Newark, New Jersey told CBN News. “The priests from all over the country come to the Wailing Wall to bless the Jewish people and we feel it incumbent upon us to come here and receive those blessings.”
Jews came from near and far to participate.
“It's really, really fabulous for me, for my family to come here to be inspired by seeing hundreds of thousands of Jews together.***Amazing, really, really amazing,”*** said Israeli Shmuel Kimche.
In the book of Numbers, God commands Moses and Aaron to bless the Children of Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
The Aaronic Benediction or blessing is a daily part of Jewish prayers and during Sukkot, Jewish people gather from around the world here to give and receive this ancient blessing.
Jewish men believed to be part of the priestly line come to bless the people of Israel.
“Today is very special, we have a communal, collective, Birkat Cohenim, it's the blessing of the priest. I happen to be a Cohen myself, so I was just there,” said Eli Farkas of New York.
Another part of the prayers comes from Leviticus 23 where it says to bring "the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook" and rejoice before the Lord.
That's why they wave the palm branch, citron or etrog, willow and myrtle branches.
“It's a special day, you know, reminds us a little bit of our history, the closest we can be to 2,000 years ago when we had the temple and we could come to it,” said Ori from Israel.
The more that come to bless and be blessed, the better.
“This is one of the holiest blessings that we can get from the priests at one of the holiest places.,” Tovi Millstein of Los Angeles told CBN.
"We want to just take every opportunity we can get in the Holy Land. So that’s why we’re here," said Tamima Levinson from London, UK.