Western Wall Cleared of Notes

The ancient crevices of the Western Wall, filled with prayer notes tearfully tucked inside, underwent their twice-yearly cleaning-out on Sunday.

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Hillel Fendel ,

Removing the notes
Removing the notes
ladaat.net

The ancient crevices of the Western Wall, filled with prayer notes tearfully tucked inside by tens of thousands of worshippers during the course of the year, underwent their twice-yearly cleaning-out on Sunday, under the watchful eye of the Rabbi of the Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich.

The notes are emptied out of the Wall just before Passover and just before Rosh HaShanah. The purpose is to make room so that people can “insert their prayer notes at the Wall without fear that the notes will fall out and be trampled upon,” Rabbi Rabinovich explained.
The workers even immerse themselves in a mikveh (ritual bath) before beginning the holy work of removing the notes.

The notes, many of which contain the full names of family members, as well as requests for health, sustenance, a spouse, solutions for personal problems, and more, are treated with great respect by the workers.  The workers even immerse themselves in a mikveh (ritual bath) before beginning the holy work of removing the notes.

The notes are removed without the use of metal bars or utensils – which stand for warfare and the taking of life (see Exodus 20,22) - but rather with wooden rods.  Following their removal, the notes are taken to the nearby ancient Mt. of Olives cemetery for burial.

Tour Guides Don't Know Everything 
Many people are not aware of the notes' ultimate fate. Just a few days ago, in answer to a question on this topic, a licensed tour guide was heard explaining to his group of Harvard Law School student tourists, "Let's put it this way: No one goes and sweeps out all the notes. They sort of just fall out on their own..."

Rabbi Rabinovich said. “Any Jew, or anyone else, knows that if he prays to G-d, his prayer is heard, as King Solomon said when he built the Temple. One who leaves a note here can be sure that even if it is taken away,  G-d hears the prayer.”

Checking the Wall
Also twice yearly, tests are done on the Wall to make sure that the giant stones are holding fast and that the Wall is not leaning. “You can see the crane here now,” Rabbi Rabinovich told an interviewer from Ladaat.net, “engaged in those very tests, to make sure that no one will be endangered, Heaven forbid."



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