Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it forbidden for a non-Kohen to form the hand formation that Kohanim use during their priestly blessings?

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I was at a different shul this morning, and while flipping through Halachically Speaking, vol. 1 by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits, I saw a paragraph about this very issue. From what I recall, he wrote that while the Zohar discourages people from forming their hands like the kohanim, poskim have taken this to apply only during the time of the kohanim's blessing.

The author concluded by saying that in practice, one should refrain unless it is being done for educational purposes.

share|improve this answer
If someone has the book, please let me know if I made any errors in recall. This is located at the end of the section on Birkas Kohanim. – Tzvi Dec 19 '10 at 3:11

I know of nothing in halakha that says that it should be. Whereas the AriZal, the RaShaSh and the Ben Ish Hai, all claim that to a certain extent the same hand gesture should be assumed when a person washes his hands in the morning or for bread, and when raises their hands at the posuk Poteah Et Yadekha in Ashrei. The notable difference(according to some) being that the palms face onseself as opposed to facing outward. However, the Ben Ish Hai also states that palms should face the Kohen when he blesses so by him the gestures are identical.

share|improve this answer
Can you list citations? – Seth J Oct 3 '11 at 16:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.