Friday, February 18, 2011

Shabat Tov

A few of us walked down to the Wailing Wall as the sun fell this Sabbath evening, following the men rushing down in their black Sabbath suits through the windy streets of the old city.  There were the Orthodox Jews with side curls and fur hats, others with fedoras, and some with just kippa, head coverings.  As we drew closer, we saw women as well, also dressed their best.
This was my first glimpse of the Wailing Wall, a remnant of the Western Wall of the temple platform built in the time of Herod.  It is called the Wailing Wall from the cries of visiting Jews mourning the destruction of the temple.   Many of those there tonight were Jerusalemites, but many others were pilgrims, coming to pray at this holiest of places.
 On this Sabbath evening the area for prayer in front of the wall was packed with people.  There are separate women’s and men’s section, for which I was grateful as the men’s section was quite rowdy.  In the men’s section you could see layers of people, the black hated orthodox praying against the wall, soldiers in khaki singing and dancing in circles behind them, and white kippad younger men farther back.   The women’s side was more open, but soldiers also led groups of young women in singing and dancing.
 The spirit of thousands of years of prayer and longing was a palatable force as we drew closer to the wall.  People backed away from the wall with tears on their faces, and others sang songs for Israel.   This is the Israeli project at its best, exiles and refugees returning from all over the world.  I prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, that it may be a place where all people can worship God without fear.

1 comment:

  1. Just simply incredible! thanks so much for the lesson as you travel as well. It is very meaningful.