More than 20,000 notes from 100 countries were sent from abroad to the Western Wall over the past half year, The Rabbi of the Western Wall said on Sunday. The United States, Brazil, Canada, and Colombia are among the top ten countries with the most notes sent.
With the approach of the new year and according to tradition, prayer notes that were placed between the Western Wall stones during the past half-year were removed. The removal is carried out according to halakhic instructions and using gloves and disposable wooden tools, with the goal of making space for new notes from tourists and visitors expected to arrive in Jerusalem in the coming months.
The notes are collected in bags and buried together with worn sacred books in a place specifically designated for this purpose. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz accompanied the removal and recited a prayer for the unity of the Jewish people and for the thousands of visitors who placed their prayers between the stones.
"May this year and its curses end, and may the new year and its blessings begin - grant peace to the land, peace and unity is our common request. We are confident that from this place, where the Divine Presence has never moved, the Blessed be He hears the prayers of all of us from the land and from the diaspora, and the requests that arrive here will ascend on high and bring with them to the coming year - a year of unity, joy, and hope," Rabinowitz said.
How can one send a note for placement at the Western Wall and when did this practice begin?
The custom of placing notes in the Western Wall has been documented for about three hundred years. Prayer notes are placed throughout the length of the Western Wall, and they can also be found among the layers that were exposed in the Western Wall Tunnels.
Thousands of notes are sent to the Western Wall throughout the year, each note with its unique story. Groups and organizations from many countries send notes to the Western Wall; every month, an average of about 3,000 notes are sent via the Western Wall Heritage Foundation's website.
This is in addition to hundreds of thousands of notes that are placed personally by visitors. In the past year, tens of thousands of notes were sent via the website alone, including from countries such as the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Russia, South Africa, Argentina, England, Germany, Ukraine, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Spain, and more. Send a note to the Western Wall.