On this Shabbat of Parashat Lech Lecha, I felt so privileged to be able to walk to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the only thing we have left from the Temple. I am a firm believer of the fact that you can pray to God anywhere, and He, who is present everywhere, will hear your prayers. But then at the same time, when He chose one place on earth for His presence to dwell in a special way, He chose this very place that we can walk to on Shabbat and pray there! Again, – What a privilege!
The Kotel was inaccessible to the Jewish people from 1948 to 1967, which makes us appreciate this privilege even more! And today, when we read from Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12 – 17) with all the promises that God gives Abram of giving this Land to him and his descendants, it was a great experience to be right there! I also believe very strongly that we have to walk and be and dwell in all the different parts of our country, in order for them to remain ours, – so I am so glad to see how many people come to the Kotel, and want to keep being part of the community that prays there.
There are numerous different minyanim (groups of at least ten praying men) going on at the same time, and the singing of all of them mixes together and very much adds to the atmosphere at the Kotel. The cracks between the large stones are filled with little notes of prayers that have been left there by those coming to pray. When we lift our eyes a little higher up, we see the doves and pigeons finding their homes on the little natural shelves made between the rocks. Tilting our heads even further back, we see the top edge, and we know that up there is the Temple Mount, the place where the Temple stood.
I looked up there as we were praying the repetition of the amida, and together with those around me I prayed from deep within me:
ממקומך מלכנו תופיע, ותמלוך עלינו, כי מחכים אנחנו לך. מתי תמלך בציון, בקרוב בימינו, לעולם ועד תשכון.תתגדל ותתקדש בתוך ירושלים עירך, לדור ודור ולנצח נצחים ועינינו תראינה מלכותך, כדבר האמור בשירי עזך, על ידי דוד משיח צדקך.
“From Your place, our King, You will appear and reign over us, for we await You. When will You reign in Zion? Soon, in our days – forever and ever – may You dwell there. May You be exalted and sanctified within Jerusalem, Your City, from generation to generation and for all eternity. May our eyes see Your kingdom, as it is expressed in the songs of Your might, written by David, your righteous anointed (Messiah)…”
It is all so great, and we, little us, get to be part of it all! It is so exciting to be alive!!
(None of the pictures in this post are my own, they are all free from the net.)