September 22, 2006
Birkas Kohanim - Points to remember
Loosen your laces before you wash your hands.
Washing must be done up to the wrist.
You must ascend to duchan when the shelach tzibor starts “Retzei.” If he finishes the bracha then you cannot go up.
The Kohanim do not say "Am Kidushecha K'amor" at the beginning (Mishna Berura 128:38
We turn to the RIGHT only.
We are forbidden to look at our own hands when we pronounce the blessing.
We swing our hands only on words that end in "chah" (eg. yiverechiCHAH, v'yishmereCHAH, Vi'chuneKAH, etc.) as well as the word Shalom.
We swing from left to right.
If the mechitza is on the side please make sure you swing your hands to cover the women as well. People standing behind the Kohanim, even if they are not directly behind, but behind them toward the side, are not included in the blessing. This is often neglected.
We keep our hands outstretched until we have turned around.
We stay on the bima until Kaddish is over.
If people say Yashar Koach to you do NOT respond Baruch T'heyeh (Shulchan Aruch 128:17, Ramah and Mishnah Berura).
We wash our hands without a brocho if we touch our shoes.