Modern Birchas Kohanim sketch...
This post will only be understood by those in Chutz La'Aretz.
It is about the 11th Commandant.
Thou shalt bring thy children and babies and place them under thy Tallis during the Priestly Blessing on my Holidays.
Outside of Israel when Birchas Kohanim is done only a few times a year, it becomes a whole production. There are special Prayers added and special chants intoned by the Kohanim 3 times during the Blessing.
There are 2 traditional songs sung.
One is the more popular song used by the Litvishe world and the second is the lesser known Chassidish chant, which according to tradition descends directly from a song sung in The Beis Hamikdosh and one can distinctly hear oriental motifs there.
The problem is that most modern shteeblich have Kohanim that were raised in the Litvish and Chassidish traditions and suffice it to say, these 2 songs do not compliment each other at all.
Since it's such a rare event, it has become a custom to bring children, and for some odd reason the blessing for children only works in the mens section, so the room promptly fills with toddlers, infants and newborns (i could've sworn there was one baby still attached at the umbilical chord).
The custom is to cover everyone under a tallis because it is harmful to see the fingers of the Kohanim.
This past Yom Tov, about halfway through Birkas Kohanim suddenly the day care center in the Tallis behind me started screaming all at once "I want Mommmmyyyyyy!!" "Ahhhhhhhhhh" "MOMMMMMMMYYYYY"
The flustered father balancing his Machzor, the screaming kids and the shushing Mispallelim...
I turned around..
Two people went on a camping trip into the wild and about halfway through the night they were awakened by a rustling sound. They groggily opened the flaps of the tent and a huge grizzly bear rushed in roaring a terrible sound. A horrible struggle ensued and the tent collapsed on the 3...
I only mention this tale so you can sort of envision when was going on under the tallis next to mine.
Now my memories of being "under the tallis" are far from pleasant. I somehow always ended up under my Gradfathers Tallis. He insisted on bringing the Tallis all the way down to the table in essence vaccum packing us under the old yellowed fabric.
Since there are alot of prayers said during the few minutes under there, the only source of oxygen filling our mini tent was directly from his mouth.
It's a miracle we didnt die of carbon monoxide.
So while I keep up the tradition with my kids I always make sure to use Scope and leave some room for fresh oxygen to flow through.
So now you women know what goes on in the mens section...
The most important thing is that..the Blessings should all come true...