by lefever on May 2, 2011
Every crevice and crack within reach of a human hand, in and between the large Jerusalem Stones* of HaKotel are stuffed with prayers: pencil, ink, marker, crayon…a painting… on white and colored papers of all kinds folded so tightly and squeezed into any available space with the hope that here, more than anywhere, God will take note, and prayer will be answered. Pilgrimages are made to HaKotel to pray.
The sages state that anyone who prays in the Temple in Jerusalem, prays before the throne of glory because the gate of heaven is situated there and it is open to hear prayer. Though the Temple is destroyed, though Christians would argue that Jesus eliminated the Holy of Holies when becoming the High Priest– this wall remains and is said to have always been protected by God.
I have brought my prayers. I have brought the prayers on paper of family and of friends, and sponsors of this trip.
I must search for a space and then compact my delivered prayers even smaller to wedge them individually into different areas wherever I might find even the smallest cleft. Prayer notes fill the cracks like mortar.
These prayers get removed and buried at intervals. I am between intervals.
These paper prayers are everywhere in the Wall. Prayers for the dead and the dying. Prayers for blessing. Prayers for help and guidance, hope and need. Prayers of Love to Abba Father. Prayers of gratitude–and the Talmud teaches that all prayers ascend to heaven through Jerusalem. It is thought that writing a prayer on a piece of paper and placing it into HaKotel is like having a continual prayer linked to the prime source.
This Western Wall, the remnant of the Temple, is proof to the Jews of God’s promise to be with them and to never forsake them His Chosen People. Divine Presence rests on the Western Wall more than other places.
God’s presence is felt here.
The intent of the Jew is felt here. Facing the wall, prayers are read from books, prayers are recited and sung in minions.
Some people are here for hours. Joy and thanksgiving, tears and anguish permeate the air–and pleas for a restored Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple.
Here the art is in the performance of worship: written word, recitals and song, and the costumes of the religious all bring deep meaning to a space where God is met. It is history. It is legacy. It is intentional and it is now.
God and humanity imbue HaKotel with deep meaning– a sacred site.
* Jerusalem Stone is a general term, to be exact: meleke limestone (meleke- Arabic“royal” or “kingly”).