Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Halocho #339 - Birkat Cohanim; the priestly blessing - who gets to wash the Cohen?

Parshat Naso includes the Mitzva of the priestly blessing; it's a Mitzva for the Cohanim to bless the Jews with the Bracha as written in the Torah:

יְבָרֶכְךָ ה', וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ יָאֵר ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ יִשָּׂא ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Before giving the blessing, the Cohanim remove their shoes.

Then they wash their hands - up to their wrists - from a cup, but do not say a Bracha on the washing.

It's the Levi's privilege to pour the water over the hands of the Cohanim.

If no Levi is present, a firstborn (from his mother; one who qualifies for Pidyon Haben) may wash the Cohanim's hands.

If no Levi and no firstborn is present, the Cohanim wash their own hands.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 100:1, 5-6 - Danny Tuesday, 10 Sivan 5769

Please daven for a complete recovery for Yosef Zalman ben Tamar Yael - יוסף זלמן בן תמר יעל who has meningitis.


  1. My father has always blessed me with birkat cohanim before going to bed. Today, I always bless my son with Birkat Cohanim before he goes to sleep. What is the origin of this custom? I read that most families just do this on Shabat evening?

  2. Hi Dov,

    Birkat Cohanim is part of the Kriat-Shema-Al-HaMita - the prayers we say before going to bed.

    It's very long, so most parents just say s a few select passages of it with their children, and Birkat Cohanim is a popular one.