Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First Visit to the Kotel

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I will admit. I was nervous. What if it does nothing for me? What if I feel awkward, out of place? After all, this is the place I watch on the web cam at home. Yes, sometimes I really do watch the Western Wall Web Cam. http://english.thekotel.org/cameras.asp



We went just before Shabbat. It was starting to get dark. As a group, we made kiddish then walked over. The men's side was loud, joyful. A sea of black hats dancing, singing. The women's side was smaller than I expected. It was much more solemn. Serious. I looked over at Margo and ask, "How do we get to the wall?" She replied that I should just push through to the front. It wasn't that hard, weaving through the women to find a spot for myself.

I found myself between two older women, davening, speaking, praying, crying out to their G-d. Bodies pressed tightly against the large stones. One arm raised with palm flat against it. Prayerbook in the other hand. Eyes closed. They were tiny, maybe 3/4 of my height.

Behind me, some 4 or 5 young teenage girls sang a niggun (wordless song) beautifully, angelically. They did this the entire time I was there. It was surreal, their voices behind me, the prayers of the older women next to me, the sounds of ecstasy from the black hats on the other side.


I stood there at the Kotel, body up close, hand on a stone and realized that there was no way in heck any of these notes were going to be able to fit between the stones. No way! Anxiety started to set in. What am I going to do with these notes, these prayers that people have trusted me with? My eyes frantically searched the cracks when suddenly I found a little crevice and was able to place each prayer into it. *whew*

I brought my little book of Psalms and quickly found the spot for the current date. Friday. 23rd day of the month. I began to read, first very quickly then noticing that I was doing that, I slowed down. The mumbles of the women, the soft singing of the girls, the wild deep voices of the men on the other side all swirled together and lifted me. Their energy lifted me to a place where my prayers, my psalms, my sacred song flowed and I was in the moment. Exactly in the moment. There.

It was over before it started. We only had 20 minutes total before we had to meet at a particular spot. I didn't want to leave. I would have been just fine standing, sitting, hanging out there all night. I admit, I felt a bit rushed.

Backing away from the Wall, I took it all in. The wall, the people, the noises, the smell, the feeling. I breathed it in. Tried to commit it to memory. Tried to wear it as long as I could.


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

FYI, this service lets people send their prayers to the kotel for free and from anywhere

Heidi said...

Amazing, I am so glad for you that you got to go. Someday we will all go together!

Mom said...

You write so well. It sounds like your experience really touched your heart and spirit.