Monday, February 21, 2011

Little Notes in the Western Wall (Kotel)

Photo: Miriam Woelke

I heard a Gentile tourist saying that Jews as well as non – Jews write little notes and place them inside the Western Wall (Kotel) in order to cause G – d to immediately hear their prayers and fulfil their wishes.

True or not true ?

From the Jewish point of view, this opinion is not true.
It doesn’t matter whether you pray in Europe, in Sydney, on Mount Everest or near the Amazonas; G – d hears all prayers and no one needs to travel to Jerusalem’s Kotel in order to get His attention. Moreover, it can take many years until G – d may fulfil your wishes and doesn’t have to take place right away. We particularly learn this from our foremothers Sarah and Rivka who were barren for many years. Nevertheless, they never gave up hope and kept on praying. Eventually G – d changed His mind and let them have a child.

Another opinion is that sometimes we ask G – d to fulfil a wish but only He knows that this wouldn’t do us any good. Only G – d sees the wider picture and there are times when we desperately want something but just don’t get it. I am not talking about the famous lottery win but about a new car, a new apartment or even an ice – cream. G – d may have other plans with each of us and everything happening to us has its reason.

However, the Kotel and the entire Temple Mount differs from the world for one reason: G – d’s Shechinah (Presence) is still resting there. Despite the Muslims and all kinds of idol – worship going on. The Shechinah is there but only weaker than during the days of the First Temple, for instance. The place has more Kedush (Holiness) and our prayers go up straight to G – d. Standing at the Kotel and praying is like a local phone call with G – d. The Talmud teaches us that prayers from the Diaspora first “travel” to Israel, then to Jerusalem and finally to the Temple Mount where they go up to the upper world. The Temple Mount is the location from where G – d created the universe (Even HaShtiah). When Adam and Eve (Chava) were thrown out of Gan Eden, G – d placed them on the Temple Mount. Avraham wanted to sacrifice his son Yitzchak on the Temple Mount (Har Moriah) and Yaakov had his ladder dream there. When the Temples still stood and people sacrificed the Korbanot, the smoke went up straight.

The place may look devastated today but with the arrival of Meshiach, the Temple Mount will return to its former Shechinah level. Nevertheless, already when we pray there now, our prayers go up straight. And the reason is not a note being put into the wall.


  1. You definitely know that joke:

    The Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Pope are in a meeting in Rome. The Rabbi notices an unusually fancy phone on a side table in the Pope's private chambers. "What is that phone for?" he asks the pontiff. "It's my direct line to the Lord!" The Rabbi is skeptical, and the Pope notices. He insists that the Rabbi try it out, and, indeed, he is connected to G-d. The Rabbi holds a lengthy discussion with Him. After hanging up the Rabbi says. "Thank you very much. This is great! But listen, I want to pay for my phone charges." The Pope, of course refuses, but the Rabbi is steadfast and finally, the pontiff gives in. He checks the counter on the phone and says: "All right! The charges were 100,000 Lira. The Chief Rabbi gladly hands over a packet of bills. A few months later, the Pope is in Jerusalem on an official visit. In the Chief Rabbi's chambers he sees a phone identical to his and learns it also is a direct line to G-d. The Pope remembers he has an urgent matter that requires divine consultation and asks if he can use the Rabbi's phone. The Rabbi gladly agrees, hands him the phone, and the Pope chats away. After hanging up, the Pope offers to pay for the phone charges. This time, the Chief Rabbi refuses to accept payment. After the Pope insists, the Chief Rabbi relents and looks on the phone counter and says: "1 Shekel 50!" The Pope looks surprised: "Why so cheap!?" The Rabbi smiles and says, "It's a local call."

  2. B"H

    I did know the joke but it was nice reading it again.:-)))