Women to the right; men to left…
As I approach, the sound of painful cries penetrate my ears and pierce my heart.
I speak not of the holocaust. This is my experience as I near the Kotel wall.
Then by coercion; now by choice.
Then filled with fear; now full of hope.
Then in their country; now at home.
It is a warm, peaceful Sunday morning Erev Yom Hashoah that I visit the Kotel. Tonight we will remember millions of lost lives as the siren sounds. The eerie cry captures for a minute the unimaginable pain our people suffered.
And yet although the atrocities of the Holocaust have passed, pain in our world endures.
I feel it. I hear it. I witness it.
Illness, horrific accidents, terror attacks…
As I stand at the Kotel I hear my sisters cry, moan and scream as they beg of G-d to stop the pain.
Many Jews come to the Kotel to get as close as possible to the holiest ground to pray, while Har Habayit is held semi captive from us. On the way down to the plaza I gaze at the golden dome feeling forlorn. It is there that we are told when we can or cannot visit and what we can or cannot say by those who would have us cast into the sea as if this is their home and not ours. The closest we can approach our holiest site with freedom of expression and prayer is the Kotel.
Her sad, humbled, tired appearance and her wailing cries stand in testimony every minute of every day to the pain and loss we still endure.
We know G-d hears painful cries, as the story of exodus is still fresh in mind from Pesach. The Kotel wails in hope that G-d will not just hear our cries, but listen.
When I visit the Kotel I am reminded of the pain that still exists. I don’t want it to last another minute. I hear the shouts of never again from our people who feel empowered behind the force of our mighty army and entitled due to the fact that we have suffered too much. I, however, believe from the bottom of my heart that we can only expect those words to come true if we deserve it.
It is no secret that sinat chinam destroys us and therefore the remedy of course is ahavat chinam. We need to prove that we can come together in service to G-d. Why do we think we deserve peace from our enemies when we can not achieve peace among our own? How could we possibly merit Har Habayit if at every pilgrimage we would fight with each other as to who deserves to go and how we should serve G-d. If we are at war with each other there is no point. A place of G-d has to be a place of unity.
We need to prove we can come together as one with respect and love being a shining example to all as we serve our Creator. Until then Har habayit will not be ours and the kotel will continue to cry.