In the case of a minyan which is entirely made up of cohanim when it comes time to say birkas cohanim... c Do they wash their own hands or do they assist each other?

May every cohen recite the blessing or must some refrain and respond?

If some will not be saying bircas cohanim because of the need for responses should they be the ones doing the washing?

  • 1
    I don't know what the point of washing each other's hands would be.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 20:04
  • The bigger question is what happens with krias hatorah. I think there's a hagahos maimoniyos that says the women layn.
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 4:54
  • @loew it's maharam mirothenberg, that women get all the aliyot designated for yisraelim and if there are no women they skip laining
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:58
  • @DoubleAA (I believe he's cited by the Hagahos Maimoniyos.)
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I'm summarizing some points found in the text as well as Mishnah Berurah commentary to O.C. 128:25

If there are only 10 people and they are all Cohanim, all of them duchen and they bless those that are in the field. If there are women & children, they answer to the blessing, but even if there aren't any, all 10 Cohanim will bless because the answering of "Amen" is not an impediment.

If there are more than 10 Cohanim, only the "extras" (I gather this means the "less important" Cohanim) duchen, and the other 10 will respond "Amen".

Regarding the washing procedure, see Mishnah Berurah commentary #25 in the same chapter. He says that ideally a Levi should wash the Cohen's hands, then a first born ("loose translation of "peter rechem") but not a Yisra'el. If none of these requirements are met, the Cohen should wash his own hands.

I'm deducing from this, that the suggestion that the Cohen washes his own hands means under all situations where there is neither a Levi or Bechor, i.e., all Cohanim.

  • The washing procedure is outlines earlier in 128:6. Basically Halakha doesn't ever care who washes the Kohein's hands. (There is a custom from kabbalah to have a levi or firstborn pour the water, but even that wouldn't seem to apply here.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 20:22
  • @DoubleAA Thanks for the reference. I added items from that in my answer.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 20:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .