Friday, December 28, 2007

In what was dubbed "the day of remembrance" by our tour guides we spent the morning meeting Holocaust survivors and touring Yad Vishem, the Holocaust museum. Now I stood before the Western Wall or "kotel" and craned my neck upwards trying to conjure up the necessary reverence that I hoped would percolate through my soul.

Now I’ve never considered things, or locations as holy, just thoughts and actions. Mindsets that help you throughout your life and here was no difference. Wave of indifference welled inside of me to the point it was palpable, I was shocked at how empty I had felt since touching down. At the site of Jesus burial I smiled and posed for pictures as if it were some knock off novelty that couldn’t possible hold the true weight of what it purported name would suggest.

So here I was examining the branches that grew from the wall and the folded prayers pressed into ever crack. I felt very close to Samuel as he came up beside me, he actually believed in the power of this wall and I wanted him to pray for my Grandma, as all I could do was think about praying…like what I would say if I could buy into the wall before me.

I watched as Orthodox Jews pressed their foreheads to the wall and rocked their heads back and forth to an unheard rhythm. Some kissed it and I gentle stroked it, or would pat it with my finger tips trying to figure out how to extract its magic. I stepped back, never turning my back on the wall, weaving between the desks that young men sat at reading their books backwards. I joined up with a group dancing in a circle, our paper yarmulkes flew off our heads, the wall whirred round and round and the curly ear locks of our new friends stood straight out as we spun. Theres an on going debate about whether people pray at the western wall because it's holy or if it's holy because people pray at it. Dizzy from laughter and the swirling lights, I began to get my answer.

Maybe this was the magic I was wondering about; maybe this is what people prayed for, for all those centuries. Maybe I should have prayed too.


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