Video: Leonard Cohen’s Priestly Blessing – Belfast 2009

The Priestly Blessing

Leonard Cohen’s final blessings were an integral part of his 2008-2013 shows. The best known of these, the Priestly Blessing, was a highlight of his historical Sept 24, 2009 Tel Aviv, Israel concert. (For another special Cohen blessing, see Video: 2009 Leonard Cohen Barcelona Blessings “May your life be sweet as apples dipped in honey”)

As this post, originally published July 28, 2009 at,1 a predecessor of Cohencentric, indicates, however, the Tel Aviv show was not the only – or even the first – time Leonard invoked the Priestly Blessing. The Tel Aviv Blessing was more dramatic with the formal “lifting of the hands” and Leonard Cohen’s recitation of the Blessing in Hebrew. More information about the history of the Priestly Blessing and its manifestation at the Tel Aviv show an be found at The Legacy Of Leonard Cohen’s 2009 Tel Aviv Priestly Blessing With Video Of The Event.

Leonard Cohen’s blessings, his final address to the audience at the July 26, 2009 Belfast concert, varied from the benedictions he has used at most of his performances, including  his most recent shows in Dublin a few days earlier.

The Belfast blessings were taken from The Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26, the prayer to be used by Aaron and his sons for the blessing of the children of Israel. Many synagogues continue to use this prayer in their services. In Protestant churches, it has come to be known as The Benediction and often closes church services as a blessing upon the congregation. It is similarly used at weddings as a blessing upon the bride and groom.

The King James version follows:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Belfast: July 28, 2009


For comparison, the blessings from the Aug 4, 2009 Lisbon concert, which reflect Cohen’s most frequently used comments,2 are offered in the video below.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Lisbon: Aug 4, 2009



  1. Note the final video has been updated because the video used in the original post is no longer available []
  2. Cohen’s blessings are rarely identical but typically take the form of permutations consisting of 2 or 3 comments drawn from 4 or 5 possibilities. []

One Reply to “Video: Leonard Cohen’s Priestly Blessing – Belfast 2009”

  1. Brenda Large

    This is becoming an important/interesting part of Cohen’s appearances. More and more they take on the aspect of an offering both to the audience and to the Lord of the Universe (altho perhaps he would not use that term). The Benediction he used in Belfast was given by the minister at the end of every Presbyterian service I attended as a girl.