JERUSALEM, Israel – A group of ten Aaronic priests gathered at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem on Sunday to administer the traditional priestly blessing and pray for the coronavirus-stricken world.
For the past 50 years, thousands pack the holy site during Passover for the priestly blessing ceremony. This year, the square was nearly empty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was there to participate in the blessing. He is a “kohen”, someone who is believed to be of direct patrilineal descent of Aaron, Moses’ brother.
He and the other Aaronic priests prayed for the United States, Israel, and the entire world in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
“These days, with the entire Jewish people and everyone in the world looking up to Heaven, the priestly blessing is that much more significant,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites.
“We know that the gates of tears are never closed, let alone the gates of the Western Wall. May the priestly blessing and the prayers of masses of Jews to protect us from harm rise up to Heaven and may G-d say – Stop! And may we all merit to return to pray a prayer of thanksgiving with great joy at the Western Wall,” Rabinowitz added.
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In Israel, 11,235 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Some 181 are in serious condition and more than 1,600 have recovered.
As of Monday morning, 110 people have died.
Israelis across the country are under strict orders not to travel more than 328 feet away from their homes and on Sunday a new restriction was adopted requiring people to wear face masks in public.