Thousands gather for Jerusalem Western Wall blessing

JERUSALEM (NBC/APTN) — Thousands of orthodox Jews gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to receive a priestly blessing.

The Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site, and archeological evidence places the Western Wall at the western perimeter of the original temple.

The priestly blessing is a ritual dating back to over 2,500 years ago when King Solomon’s temple stood at the same site.

The blessing is given on special occasions, and Thursday is one of the holy days of the Passover holiday.

It’s one of the three times when religious Jews are expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

“We are here, and we didn’t deserve to be here. But the Almighty loves us so very much, and he took us out of Egypt,” said Jewish-American Michael Ben David. “And I came from America for this moment with my wife and children because of the Almighty’s love for us.”

The blessing is recited in Hebrew while the faithful cover their heads with prayer shawls and avert their eyes from those receiving the blessing.

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