I recently read that Rav Hillel Zacks would stand right in front of the Kohanim during Birkas Kohanim.

I've seen many great men do this as well.

Why is this done?

  • 3
    There's a sense that the closer you are to the person giving the bracha, the greater its "power" is. I don't quite understand this concept, myself. The bracha is made for the entire congregation equally, and, I've never heard of brachot decreasing its effect based on distance.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 3:08
  • Maybe they were seated on the side and this was the closest place in front of them that didn't displace others?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 14:12
  • For those that may think that my previous comment is crazy, compare what happens at a typical rebbe's Friday night tisch. Even if everyone has a challah roll before him, they want a piece of the challa from the one that the rebbe blessed. And, once it's been sliced, a hundred Hassidm jump over each other to get one of the first slices. It's a similar idea.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 3:22
  • I heard he didn't by a talmid muvhak
    – kouty
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:02
  • Well I learnt in Yeshivas Chevron and many from his times told me he did....
    – Avi M
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


True, anybody in front of and to the sides of the Kohanim is included in the Beracha (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 128:24), but the Ben Ish Chai (Shanah Rishonah, Tetzaveh 19) recommends standing directly in front of them when possible.

בן איש חי, נה ראשונה פרשת תשוה אות יט

יט. בשעה שהכהנים מברכים את העם יהיו פני העם כנגד הכהנים, ולא יביטו בכהנים ולא בשום דבר אחר, ויהיו עיניהם סגורות ולא יסיחו דעתם בד"א, ויהיו כמו שעומדים בתפלה ויתכונו לברכה, ועם שאחורי הכהנים אינם בכלל הברכה. וכן העומדים בצדדים, כל שאין עומדים באויר אשר מפניהם ואילך, אינם בכלל הברכה. אבל אותם העומדים בצדדים של האויר שלפניהם, הרי אלו בכלל הברכה, דלא בעינן לפניהם ממש כי אם על צד היותר טוב היכא דאפשר וכנז' בחס"ל. ואם אחד נכנס לבית הכנסת לבקש איזה דבר או עובר אורח ממקום למקום ומצא הכהנים מברכין ב"כ, יעמוד וישמע ב"כ ולא יצא עד שיסיימו ב"כ. ואם הוא כהן וכבר נשא כפיו באותו היום ובא לבית הכנסת זו ומצא ציבור שלא הגיעו לב"כ, יכול לישא כפיו פעם אחרת:

(I haven't found/looked hard enough for any sources that corroborate this preference, but nobody on my shelves seem to disagree. Please comment if you find more sources)

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    In one of the shuls I pray in, the Rav taught his congregants to be careful for this Ben Ish Chai, and such is the common practice. Come time for Kohanim, many of the men move towards the are between the Bimah and the Aron to fulfill this Ben Ish Chai.
    – MDjava
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 5:38

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