Jewish Priestly Blessing will be limited this year due to the virus
The Priestly Blessing or priestly benediction, also known in rabbinic literature as raising of the hands or rising to the platform. The Priestly Blessing is a Hebrew prayer recited by Kohanim (the Hebrew Priests, descendants of Aaron) and limited in 2020 due to the coronavirus. The text of the blessing is found in Numbers 6:23–27.
According to the Torah, Aaron blessed the people, and YHWH promises that “I will place my name on their hands” (the Kohanim’s hands) “and bless them” (the Jews receiving the blessing). The Jewish Sages stressed that although the priests are the ones carrying out the blessing, it is not them or the ceremonial practice of raising their hands that results in the blessing, but rather it is God’s desire that His blessing should be symbolized by the Kohanim’s hands.
Even after the destruction of the second Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem, the practice has been continued in Jewish synagogues, and today in most Jewish communities, Kohanim bless the worshippers in the synagogue during special Jewish prayer services Leviticus 9:22 and Deuteronomy 10:8 and 21:5 mention Aaron or the other priests blessing the Israelites.
The text to be used for the blessing is specified in Numbers 6:24–26:
[May] Adonai bless you, and guard you – יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ (Yevhārēkh-khā Adhōnāy veyishmerēkhā …)
[May] Adonai make His face shine unto you, and be gracious to you – יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ (“Yāʾēr Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā viḥunnékkā …)
[May] Adonai lift up His face unto you, and give to you peace – יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם (“Yissā Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā veyāsēm lekhā shālōm.”)
This is the oldest known Biblical text that has been found; amulets with these verses written on them have been found in graves at Ketef Hinnom, dating from the First Temple Period.
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.
Extrabiblical evidence such as the two silver Iron Age amulets found at Ketef Hinnom, contemporary Phoenician and Punic amulets and bands, and blessing inscriptions from the southern Levant have shown that the language of the Priestly Blessing derived from a broader tradition of apotropaic text, which was often inscribed on metal and worn in order to provide protection against evil.
Versions of the blessing are often found in mortuary and cultic contexts, and anticipate early Jewish commentaries that relate the blessing to death. Although specific words in the Priestly Blessing are commonly found in the Bible, the syntactic sequences in which they occur suggest parallels not to other biblical passages, but to blessing inscriptions from late Iron Age southern Levant. In particular, it has been suggested that the enigmatic instruction to “put [Yhwh’s] name on the Israelites” in Numbers 6:27 reflects an ancient practice of physically wearing the deity’s name and blessing for protection against evil.