Ask The Rabbi

The Writing in the Wall

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Topic: Kotel, What Happens to Papers

Jeffrey J. Samoska wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I submit prayer requests to the Kotel (Western Wall) through Virtual Jerusalem's e-mail. I suppose there are hundreds of thousands of people bringing requests to the Wall every year. What happens to the requests that do not stay tucked into the Wall? If they fall onto the ground, are they swept up and disposed of in a religious ceremony? I don't imagine that all the requests would stay put for an indefinite period of time.

Dear Jeffrey J. Samoska,

Officially, the attendants at the Wall are supposed to make sure that all the papers that fall on the ground are replaced. About three years ago there was no more room for people to put their prayers into the cracks and crevices, so the Chief Rabbinate together with the Jerusalem municipality organized a team of volunteers to clean out all papers to make room for new prayers to be inserted. The papers that were removed were buried in accordance with Jewish Law.

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