Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Naked before G-d

Praying, fasting and mourning the Temple's destruction on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av. (Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
Praying, fasting and mourning the Temple's destruction on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av. (Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)

The image that appeared this week of the Belgian model, Marisa Papen, lying naked before the holy Western Wall (of the ancient Jewish Temple) in Jerusalem was among the most disturbing I have ever seen.

The intentional desecration and profanity in front of the holy Kotel is literally seared into my mind.

I remember going to the Kotel in December before the wedding of my daughter to my son-in-law, and my heart leaped in anticipation and awe as we hurried through the winding alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem to get to the Kotel to pray at this revered place.

When I saw the wall even from a distance, I could literally feel the sacredness of the place and I was both in fear and love to be in the presence of G-d.

Now, this other terrible image of Ms. Papen displayed arrogantly and disrespectfully in her nakedness before the Kotel comes to my mind.

It is not a sexual image… it is a vile image of evil in the face of holiness.

Like in all of our lives, where evil challenges good in this world, it comes with hubris, disdain, and to corrupt wherever it can.

Ms. Papen could have taken her nakedness to a red light district street corner, sleazy hotel, or a nudist beach, where she belongs.

She did not need to defile what others so deeply revere — literally, where people come from not just across Israel, but from all over the world to show their respect to G-d and fervently pray for His mercy and blessings, and to show gratitude and service to Him.

In such a G-dly place, where we are all spiritually naked for our actions before our Maker, Ms. Papen displayed not soul, but rather her haughty flesh.

In the Torah, when a wife is suspected of cheating on her husband, she is asked to drink “the bitter waters” (Sotah), where a piece of paper with the curses for adultery is dissolved. If she has indeed committed adultery, then, according to the Torah, her belly would swell and her thigh would sag — cursed and suffering as a consequence of her own actions.

If that is that end of a woman who merely defiles the sanctity of her marriage to a mortal human being, certainly, we can only imagine what will be the end of Ms. Papen, who has desecrated herself in front of the remaining Temple wall of 2,000 years ago that millions turn to pray to G-d every single day.

I do not curse Ms. Papen — she has already done that to herself.

Moreover, she preemptively spat in the face of everyone who would be appalled by her intent and filthy actions saying:

“I know my mailbox is about to fill up with threats and angriness [sic] again — to all the people typing down their furiosity [sic] right now, save your energy, I don’t even open it.”

You are correct, Ms. Papen. You hurt a lot of faithful people. You defiled their holy place of worship. You desecrated yourself before G-d Almighty.

Enjoy your fame and fortune for now.  But remember in the future when your belly distends and your thigh sags amidst a very great suffering, the evilness you so wantonly did.

Evil exists in the world, so good can be tested and overcome it — you too will be overcome, in the name of the L-rd of Hosts, of this, I am most confident Ms. Marisa Papen.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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