The Priestly Blessing, (Hebrew: Birkat Kohanim), also known in Hebrew as Nesiat Kapayim, (lit. Raising of the Hands), is a Jewish prayer recited by Kohanim during certain Jewish services. It is based on a scriptural verse: “They shall place My name upon the children of Israel, and I Myself shall bless them.” It consists of the following Biblical verses (Numbers 6:24-26):
May the Lord bless you and guard you.
May the Lord shine His countenance toward you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance toward you and give you peace.
The source of the text is Numbers 6:23-27, where Aaron and his sons bless the Israelites with this blessing.
This is the oldest known Biblical text that has been found; amulets with these verses written on them have been found in graves in dating from the First Temple Period, and are now in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Various interpretations of these verses connect them to the three Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or to three attributes of God; Mercy, Courage, and Glory.
I shot the image during Birkat Kohanim at the Western Wall Jerusalem, Passover April 22 2008.
It’s a new tradition that every Passover there is a mass ceremony of Birkat Chohanim in the Wstern Wall.