Visiting the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (Kotel in Hebrew) in Jerusalem is, for me, a most spirited and spiritual experience. It's spiritual because this place, while merely a wall of stone, is in truth the central focal point, the closest we can stand to the Holy of Holies, an connection to the past that cries out with a sacred intensity. It is spirited, because each moment there is fraught with political and social complexity...I do have to focus myself and breathe in the stones deeply in order to find the peace I desire in this place because I am so easily distracted by the (sometimes) technical aspects of the visit. Men and women are not allowed to pray together at the Kotel and this frustrates and annoys me...I must remind myself to be in my own moment, in my own circle, and find my own peace.
Many people wash their hands before approaching this holy site. This is not about cleanliness, but rather about ritual purity. I love the image of washing away the rest of the world to step into this place.
There are many old women who spend their days at the Kotel, giving blessings and collecting tzedakah, money for the poor. This woman blessed me and my children, asking about my husband, my life, and offering her prayers in exchange for my tzedakah money.
The stones of the wall are old and worn, from generations of caresses and kisses.
It is customary to place notes in the cracks of the Kotel, personal prayers that are too precious to be said aloud, too precious to let float away on the wind, but rather clutched tightly in the hand and then wedged tightly into the holy stones.
God is everywhere, but I am different wherever I go. At the Kotel, I feel a difference in me as I stand shoulder to shoulder with the past...and I find a different connection, a different spirit.
See what others find spirited this week...