- General Questions
I am a Kohen. When I dunchan for the congregation, as the chazan calls the Kohanim for the recitation of the priestly blessing, I am facing the ark. As I turn to face the congregation, is there a specific direction that I am supposed to turn (i.e. clockwise or counter clockwise)? What about after I am done with the blessing... do I continue in the same direction? Also, is there any symbolism in the direction of the rotation to the way that one is supposed to rotate at the end of L’cah Dodi on Friday nights? I daven at Chabad, and in their prayer book (nusach Ari) is specifically says that for L’cha Dodi one is supposed to turn to the left for the last paragraph to welcome the Shabbos bride, and then afterwards continue to rotate to the left. I have never been been told if there is a specified direction when dunchaning, and I was wondering if there is a correct/incorrect way, and the reason for the specified way to rotate. Thanks!
In regard to going to the Duchan to say the Birkat Cohanim, the Shulchan Aruch says explicitly that when you turn the congregation, you should turn to your right . Also upon completion of Birkat Cohanin, when you turn again towards the Aron Kodesh, you should turn towards your right. (שולחן ערוך אורח חייים סי' קכח, סעיף יז, משנ"ב ס"ק ס"א.) In regard to turning for Bo'e B'shalom, there are different minhagim as to what direction you should turn in general, to the west or toward the entrance of the Bet Knesset before discussing if you turn towards the right or from the left and much has been written about it. Now in general, we have the practice to turn towards the right when performing a mitzvah, as mentioned in the Gemara Yoma 15b as we find in the aforementioned Birkat Cohanim, and in the shaking of the Lulav (שולחן ערוך או"ח סי' תרנ"א,) and in Lighting the Chanuka candles.שולחן ערוך או"ח סי' תרע"ו),) The issue is also discussed in Chabbad Books ,by the Tzemach Zedek (שו"ת או"ח סי' ס"ז) and explained in Minhag Yisrael Torah. ((ספר מנהג ישראל תורה' ח"א ד' קע"ו I have read, that the Rebbe zt"l himself, first conducted himself in Bo'e B'shalom in Lecha Dodi to turn to the right as is the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch. However, he later heard that custom of his predecessor was to turn to the left , as is mentioned in the Levush. (לבוש אורח חיים סי' תרעו) and then the Rebbe zt"l conducted himself to turn to the left. So if your follow the Chabbad Minhagim you should continue to do so. I think the minhag of most places is to turn toward the right, however this may not be the minhag in all places.