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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Do Our Prayers Go?

The Land of Israel has many popular places for prayer.  The most famous is probably the Kotel HaMa'aravi, the Western Wall, a remaining outer wall of the Temple Mount.  Although it's considered and frequently called "the holiest spot in the world" for Jews, that isn't true at all.  The nearby Temple Mount, Har HaBayit is the true one.  it's just that for a long history of reasons, we Jews don't go there routinely in any numbers.  I'm not getting into that issue right now.

On occasion, I do doven at the Kotel, though I no longer feel much of a pull to go there.  I get annoyed by the total worship of the place, that it has replaced the much holier Temple Mount.  I also am not the type to leave a "note" to G-d with a prayer or request.  It's like sending a letter to Santa. 

G-d hears and knows our prayers, needs and requests.  He doesn't read the mail from us.  I can't imagine that custom as having Jewish sources.

In Judaism, we don't need intermediaries to pray to G-d.

That's one of the main lessons learned in the story of Chana's Prayer in Shiloh.


I live in Shiloh.  My house is less than two kilometers, just over a mile from Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Biblical Shiloh.  Shiloh was the spiritual and administrative Capital of the Jewish Nation for 369 years, from the time Joshua brought the Jewish tribes into the Holy/Promised Land to the time when Samuel became our most important Prophet.

Many people still come to Shiloh to pray.  We pray at Shiloh because there was and is a direct line to G-d here.  The site isn't littered with tiny pieces of paper.  And there are no tombs and graves of  "holy men."


One of the reasons that Chana's method of praying had Eli The High Priest confused (he accused her of being drunk) was that she didn't ask him to intercede and pray for her.  Chana spoke directly to G-d.  She moved her lips but was silent.  G-d hears via the heart and lips.  You don't need to turn up the volume, shout, clap etc.

The birth of Samuel, later known as Samuel the Prophet,  was proof that her prayer method was the correct one.  That's why the Jewish Laws of Prayer are based on Chana.

I go to Tel Shiloh to pray directly to G-d every Rosh Chodesh.  Please join us and spread the word.
The Rosh Chodesh Tammuz Women's Prayers at

Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh,

Tel Shiloh

Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:30am

Shiur Torah, Short Tour & Torah Lesson

Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים ראש חודש תמוז שילה הקדומה, בתל שילה

יום ה' 21-6 8:30

יהיו סיור ודבר תורה קצרים

נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות
You're welcome to join our facebook page. Tel Shiloh is open to visitors daily. Tours can be arranged through the Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email telshilo@gmail.com or phone 02-994-4019.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found your post quite surprising (i.e.harsh and dismissive):
“TheKotel HaMa'aravi, the Western Wall, a remaining outer wall of the Temple Mount. Although it's considered and frequently called "the holiest spot in the world" for Jews, that isn't true at all.”
What do you mean it isn’t “true at all”. We have a promise from Hashem that the kotel (which we take for granted) will miraculously stand throughout our exile, and that the shechina has never left it. This is some pretty serious kedusha.
It’s true that Har Habayit, is the holiest place on earth for Jews, and it is for political reasons that the kotel is described as such, but that in and of itself does not negate the importance of the kotel. When I go there I don’t feel that people are worshipping the place at all. I heard in a shiur, that whilst other religions have beautiful edifices for prayer, our most important site (whilst in exile) is a broken wall, because that is all we need, whilst in exile. And it’s interesting that people from all religions go there to pray, whilst this is not true of famous holy sites of other religions (i.e. people may go for sightseeing but not specifically to pray).
Regarding putting a note in the kotel:
How can you say “He doesn't read the mail from us”? How do you know? I think that if Hashem can hear our prayers, He is able to read them too.
“I can't imagine that custom as having Jewish sources.”
Apparently it dates back at least 850 years, and more recently there is a story about the Or Hachaim giving a petek to his student who was to travel to Israel.

“In Judaism, we don't need intermediaries to pray to G-d.”
Writing a petek is not an intermediary, and thousands of people go to tsadikim to ask for their prayers and brachot. They shouldn’t do that either?
I don’t understand why you have to write so disparagingly of the kotel and tombs of “holy men” (does that include Maarat Hamachpela, the kever of the Ari, Rabbi Shimon as well? Or are they acceptable to you?), just to make your point about Chana's prayer and Shiloh. Didn’t Calev go to Maarat Hamachpala first, when he was one of the spies?
What do you mean “we pray at Shiloh because there was and is a direct line to G-d here.”
You can have a direct line to Hashem anywhere in the world, and in addition just as there are times that are “et ratzon” for prayer, so there are auspicious places.
“The site isn't littered with tiny pieces of paper”
You may see litter, my guess is that Hashem sees the deepest pain and tears and hopes of people who troubled themselves to come to the place where the shechina resides.

“I go to Tel Shiloh to pray directly to G-d every Rosh Chodesh.”
Batya, what exactly is your point? I am also in favour of quiet, private, personal prayer, but this is a terrible holier-than-thou post. You write as if you think that you’re so much better than all these weak minded fools who go to the kotel, kivrei tsadikim, rabbis for brachot, etc, etc, cos they don’t have a personal connection. I’m happy for you that you live a spiritual life in a spiritual place, and that you encourage people to join you to experience that, but for the life of me, I do not understand why you have to disparage every other holy place in Eretz Yisrael. B”D the whole of Eretz Yisrael is kadosh, and there are many particularly holy places here, and different people connect to different places, to different tsadikim, and to different ways of prayer, and avodat Hashem. Why can’t you look on them all with ayin tova?

Batya said...

I wrote the truth. G-d never mentioned the kotel.
I don't believe in pieces of paper, nor dead bodies. Sorry, a, if you like the children's stories.
Yes, Calev went to the Ma'arat HaMachpelah, which is the center of his tribal portion of the Land and a good place to pray and show that he was returning to his roots.
A lot of the "holy places" are businesses. Sorry, but that's the truth.
There are many rabbis and we don't have to follow all.

we shouldn't since they contradict each other

Anonymous said...

rostr“I wrote the truth. G-d never mentioned the kotel.”

I don’t know if Hashem specifically mentioned the kotel, but it would seem that Shlomo Hamelech and the Rambam did.
“From the time of Solomon it has never left the Western Wall (see Rambam Beit HaBechira 6 16).”
This is from the site of http://e.yeshiva.org.il/ask/?id=761, I don’t have the full Rambam, but you can check it out for yourself.
And this http://www.chabad.org/special/israel/points_of_interest_cdo/aid/588219/jewish/Western-Wall.htm
Spiritual Significance
When King Solomon built the first Holy Temple in 826 BCE, he wanted it to be the heart of the Jewish nation—a place where people felt inspired to talk to G-d, a place where no one would feel alone. "Please, G-d," he said during the Temple's inauguration, "Hear the prayers that are said in this place."
Solomon's prayers were answered, and G-d's presence enlivened the Temple. The Second Temple, built 480 years later, also was a home to G-d's presence.
The midrash says that "the Shechinah never left the Western Wall." Specifically the Western Wall, because the Holy of Holies was on the west side of the Temple. "This is the Western Wall of the Temple, which is never destroyed because the Shechina is in the west."
The holiness of the Western Wall is due to its close proximity to the Temple area.

And even more of it:
“I don't believe in pieces of paper, nor dead bodies.
Sorry, a, if you like the children's stories.”
I didn’t write anything rude to you, yet this is how you respond. Simply staggering.
You can believe in whatever you like, that is not my issue. My point is that you wrote disdainfully of minhagim of am yisrael, as if you are on a vastly superior plane. Do you consider true stories about the Or Hachaim to be children’s stories? As for “dead bodies”, these are the graves of tsadikim. They have special holiness. There is a machloket about whether it is appropriate to go there, but none about their spiritual status.
Yes, Calev went to the Ma'arat HaMachpelah, which is the center of his tribal portion of the Land and a good place to pray and show that he was returning to his roots.
He went there to pray at the graves of his forebears, all of them tsadikim, that their zchut should protect him.

A lot of the "holy places" are businesses. Sorry, but that's the truth.
What are you talking about? I may not have been to every kever in Israel, but definitely to most of the main ones, and never spent an agora. What business exactly are you talking about?

There are many rabbis and we don't have to follow all.
we shouldn't since they contradict each other
OK, but this has got nothing to do with it. You don’t have to do any of these things or go there, but you have no right to criticize those who do.
To end, I beg you to please, please step down from the rarefied air of Shiloh, take a deep breath and stop disparaging Jewish holy places and minhagim, and insulting your talkbackers. Furthermore, I suggest that you show this post and comments to your spiritual advisor.
I’m not going to read your blog again, after this arrogance and nastiness. So you are welcome to the last word.

Batya said...

a, the kotel is tosefet hordus, meaning it wasn't part of shlomo hamelech's Beit hamikdash.

Please check your facts. when I read comments like yours from someone who doesn't even sign his/her name, please don't expect me to counter you point by point. I just correct big ones like this simple history.

MAOZ said...

As "Anonymous" said, Shlomo HaMelekh prayed, "Please, G^d, hear the prayers that are said in this place."

Umm, he didn't say, "Please read the notes people will stuff in the walls here." Just sayin'...

Batya, thanks for pointing out the inaccuracy of describing the Kotel as "the holiest spot in Judaism". That frequently-repeated inaccuracy confuses the sincere but uninformed, weakens our own hands and aids and abets the hostile goyim's efforts to keep our holiest place in their own hands as an imperial prize.

Batya said...

And Maoz, Shlomo Hamelech wasnt' talking about the kotel. No doubt he'd be horrified to discover that Jews of today haven't taken a stand about praying where he did, Har HaBayit.

Alan said...

>> Batya, what exactly is your point

her point is that this is ==her== blog, so she somehow thinks that people who read it are interested in ==her== points of view. Not those of the Rav of Monsey NY, and not yours.



>> “From the time of Solomon it has never left the Western Wall (see Rambam Beit HaBechira 6 16).”

beautiful words..... but they are Rambam's hopes, not Shlomo's testimony. And neither one of those gentlemen had any private telegraph to G-d, so I don't actually ==care== what they believed is God's thoughts.




>> you wrote disdainfully of minhagim of am yisrael

Now you're in charge of what Israeli customs are? Gosh, by the visible evidence, the Israeli Minhagim are believing that becoming blonde will keep
a mid-course husband from straying; and feeling that the most natural thing to do after years of שרות חובה‎ in the Infantry is go drink up a storm at Thailand hooker bars until abba gets tired of WesternUnion'ing you more money. And there's more of those guys than youse guys!


>> these are the graves of tsadikim. They have special holiness

Now you're really acting out the fur-hat-in-August-in-Brooklyn flavor of mental-illness.
You want to know what a "holy place" really would be? It's you doing pushups at IDF basic training.




>>> When King Solomon built the first Holy Temple in 826 BCE, he wanted

number one, what he apparently wanted was for it to be conveniently located for quick and secure access for a quick show-the-flag after the =important= appointments at the Royal Harem were consummated.
number two, why should I care what Shlomo wanted? He was a man, not a deity.



> I’m not going to read your blog again

The criminal usually returns to the scene of the crime. Ask any TelAviv city cop.

Batya said...

Alan, thanks for the common sense, logic and facts.