Sunday, April 2, 2017
Eight days from today, Jews around the world will be sitting down to the Passover seder. Signs of Pesach are everywhere, especially in supermarkets where the aisles are filled with all kinds of matzah and Kosher for Passover items.
One of the necessary, if not beloved, chores performed during the week before Pesach, is house cleaning. Wherever you live, the process is about the same. But in the old city of Jerusalem, getting ready for Pesach includes a special type of cleaning -- removing the many notes that have been placed in the Kotel Hamaaravi - the Western Wall of the Temple.
All year long visitors scribble their prayers and wishes on pieces of paper and stuff them into the wall's crevices. More than a million prayer notes or wishes are placed in the Western Wall each year.
According to Jewish law, prayer notes may not be thrown away; there is a difference of opinion as to whether they should be burned or buried. According to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall and author of Minhagei HaKotel, a book of halakhot about the Western Wall, burning is a "pure" way to deal with the notes, but burying them is more honorable. Twice a year, Rabbi Rabinovitch and his assistants collect the notes left in the Wall and bury them in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
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