Kotel Undergoes 'Pesach Cleaning'
As elsewhere in Israel, the people responsible for the Kotel (Western Wall) are getting ready for Passover by doing a general cleaning – in their case, of the notes that have been stuffed into the cracks of the Kotel by the millions who visit it every year.
In a custom that has become universal – with non-Jews, as well as Jews, writing out prayers that are “left” in the wall for G-d to address – the wall is filled with notes of all sizes and shapes, all containing pleas for good health, happy families, and myriad other needs. According to Jewish tradition, a prayer rendered at the Kotel – the wall outside the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount – has a special power.
To make way for the new notes, the management of the Kotel – which is headed by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Kotel and the Holy Places in Israel – removes the notes every year before Passover. The notes are then taken to a special site in the Mount of Olives cemetery, where they are stored.
The notes were removed Sunday wth a special device that is capable of picking up the small notes that are stuffed into the crevices of the Kotel.