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Why am I not supposed to look at the Kohanim during the Priestly Blessings?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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There are two reasons why one is not supposed to look at the Kohanim while they are duchening:

(1) One is not supposed to look at anything during duchening. Instead one should look at the ground and concentrate on the blessing. Looking at the Kohanim could be distracting.

(2) When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, the Divine Presence would shine on the fingers of the Kohanim as they would bless the Jews, and no one was allowed to look out of respect for G-d. Today we continue this practice as a reminder of what duchening was like in the past.

TAGS: duchen, duchenin


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Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs
Jewish Identity » Kohains and Levites » Priestly Blessing
Mitzvot » Prayer » Priestly Blessing
Holidays » General Information » Priestly Blessing

Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.