Under government orders, Israelis are restricted to their neighborhoods until Motzoei Shabbos, as Chol Hamoed enters its third day – but expect no traditional Chol Hamoed outings as in most years, because the general quarantine restrictions that have kept Israelis out of public spaces for weeks now will still be in effect. Festivals, outings, events and other public gatherings are cancelled.
Among those events will be Birkas Kohanim, which generally attracts tens of thousands to the Kosel. Minyanim are also banned, even at the Kosel, but the Religious Ministry has arranged for one to take place on Sunday. Instead of the mass Birkas Kohanim, a small group – maintaining social distancing rules – will be present.
The minyan will represent Am Yisrael and extend its brachah to all Jews everywhere, said Harav Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rav of the Kosel. The event will be broadcast on chareidi media, and can be heard via phone and other electronic communication methods, he said. The brachah of shacharis will take place at about 9:00 AM, and that of musaf at 9:40 AM, he said.
“The gates of tears have not been closed, and all the more so the gates of the Kosel,” Harav Rabinowitz said. “The Birkas Cohanim and the prayers of Am Yisrael will rise up to shamayim and evoke the mercy of Hashem, and in their merit we will return to daven and offer prayers of thanksgiving at the Kosel,” he added.