Hamas War

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prayer, Does G-d Need Those Written Notes?

Yesterday I ended up at the Kotel early afternoon.  It's not that I really felt a need to be there.  Of late, I've been dreaming of going to Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, which truly is the Holiest Spot in The World for Jews.

But one can't be spontaneous when it comes to a pilgrimage to Har HaBayit.  One must first get to a mikva, ritual bath and bathe in a special way.  Entry to Har HaBayit isn't the 24/7 as to the Kotel, at least for Jews. Politicians have seen to that. They have decided, granted with the support of many rabbis who consider Har HaBayit too holy for Jews to visit for prayer and reflection. But they don't care about the irreverence and destruction being done there by non-Jews, particularly the Muslims.

Brooklyn Bridge walking to Ground Zero
Simply put, the Kotel is an outer wall of Har HaBayit, far from the exact site where the Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temples had stood.  It's sort of like considering a trip to Brooklyn in view of where the World Trade Center once stood to be the same as being there.

I decided to go to the Kotel for the simple reason that I had the time, didn't want to spend money and I also needed a place I could comfortably sit to doven (pray) Mincha (afternoon prayers) and say the Tehillim, Psalms I say daily.

Once I got there, I found a nice spot in the shade and made myself comfortable.  I had plenty of time.  I wasn't in a rush.  After I finished I remained seated and looked around. The area was littered with small pieces of paper, carefully folded, which had obviously fallen out of the cracks between the stones.

All of the walls, even more modern, recently built ones, are being used as "mailboxes," as if G-d has a secretarial staff and needs written records of our requests.

  • Our All Knowing G-d Almighty can see in our hearts. 
  • Our All Knowing G-d Almighty hears what we say and what we think and feel.
  • Our All Knowing G-d Almighty is not a person.
This "letter" custom aka kvittel, reminds me too much of the childish goyish custom of sending letters to Santa Claus.

According to Judaism, we do not need intermediaries between ourselves and G-d. We can and should pray directly. The lessons learned from Chana's prayer to G-d for a child, when she was at the area of the Mishkan, Tabernacle in Shiloh is that we should pray silently but mouth our prayers.  G-d does not need to have the volume up.  He hears and knows everything.


Mr. Cohen said...

“According to some opinions, it is a prohibition from the Torah to put notes in the cracks of the Kotel because of the Torah prohibition of netisah, which is the danger that one might break off a piece of the Temple, or meilah, which means using the holy for mundane purposes (see Mebaseret Sion, volume 1 comment on Yoreh Deah, chapter 20).”

SOURCE: Top 10 Most Overlooked Jewish Laws When Travelling to Israel by Rabbi Eliyahu Tobal and Rabbi Ezra Zafrani (limudnet.org) Community Magazine, December 2006 CE.

yitz said...

"Today, people put notes into the Western Wall every single day. The idea is not that we are praying to the Wall (that would be like talking to a wall!), but rather it is known that the Divine Presence rests on the Western Wall more than other places. (see Midrash Rabba – Exodus 2:2 and Song of Songs 2:4)

Furthermore, the Talmud teaches that all prayers ascend to Heaven through Jerusalem. So writing a prayer on a piece of paper and sticking it in the Wall is like having a continual prayer linked to the prime source."

More can be found here.

in the vanguard said...

I must take issue with your comment:
"According to Judaism, we do not need intermediaries between ourselves and G-d"

This is not true. We need a King to better make that connection with Hashem. The "Moses of the Generation" holds a very special status for the Jewish people.

God could just as well taken the Jews out of Egypt WITHOUT a Moses.

But that's not Hashem's design. Hashem provides the Jewish nation with a "conduit" to reach Him. Without that conduit, the spiritual component of the bond between Hashem and His people could not sustain itself as well. The Jewish king every generation, as Moshe said (Devarim 5:5),
אנכי עמד בין ה' וביניכם

That's the way Hashem created the body - as well as the collective Jewish body - IT NEEDS A HEAD!
And that head exists whether the Jew knows it or not! And functions too to subserve that end, whether the Jew knows it or not.

Looks like on this subject I'll have to better explain this chassidic concept - and shall do so, bli neder, in an upcoming post on my blog.

So that will be thanks to you!

Kol tuv!

Anonymous said...

יהודה הכהן: Therefore, I’d like to be on his team; you should be on his team; we should all try to be on this guy’s team; and not get on his bad side.

We don’t have to know, for sure, who this guy is.

The Rambam is very clear that there’s no obligation to know hu the Moshiakh is. Nevertheless, anybody you see trying to accomplish these goals is someone we should be supporting.

Batya said...

Mr. Cohen, the Kotel isn't the Temple.
Van, the kings were political leaders not priests.
yitz, don't really see it like that
a, until the Moshiach is functioning as Moshiach, we don't know.

Shy Guy said...

Vanguard, I clearly understood the use of "intermediary" here to be the equivalent of, using the extreme example, the Eigel Hazahav (Golden Calf).

As the Torah reminds us:

"It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." - Devarim 30:12-14

Shy Guy said...

You know, this go me thinking.

The Kotel needs USB ports.