Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz told Ynet that "it's a special feeling hearing all the versions of the Selichot, each person and his own version and community. It's particularly exciting listening to the prayers and seeing the people come every day, being drawn to the atmosphere of holiness prevailing in this place, in order to ask God for forgiveness.
"There is no place more suitable to seek forgiveness than the Western Wall. This is a place uniting us all, a place where the Holy of Holies resided, where the great priest would enter to ask for forgiveness for the people of Israel."
Rabbi Rabinovitz removes old notes to make space for new ones (Photo: Reuters)
As before every Rosh Hashana, a campaign was held at the Western Wall in recent days to clean the stones from the thousands of notes placed between them every day by the many visitors. The cleaning campaign was held to mark the tradition of "Yashan mipnei chadash totzi'u" (remove the old because of the new – Leviticus 26:10)
Note removal (Photo: Reuters)
The different notes are cleared into sealed bags, so that no one will read them; it is very likely that one of the notes belongs to US Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.
The removal of the notes is being accompanied by engineers and by placing a crane in front of the wall, to make sure that the rocks don't fall on top of people's heads and to protect the integrity of the stones themselves.
Rabbi Rabinovitz hard at work (Photo: Reuters)
After the notes have been collected, they are hidden in Jerusalem's Mountain of Olives. "Of course we hope that all of the prayers and requests that were placed in the wall over the course of the year, have been accepted by God," said Rabbi Rabinovitz.
The rabbi invited all of the people of Israel to come and pray at the Western Wall and to "connect with the generation chain of the people of Israel, and to the essence of things, the essence being the spirit of the Jewish people."