Kotel rabbi to crack down on note-removers

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz vows to fight "the despicable phenomenon."

Obama note 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Obama note 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Chief Rabbi of the Kotel Shmuel Rabinovitz said Sunday he will fight "the despicable phenomenon" of removing personal notes of prayer from the cracks in the Western Wall. Rabinovitz's official announcement comes after such a note written by Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the US presidency, was removed from the Wall and its contents were published by a Hebrew daily. In the private supplication to God during a visit to Israel on June 24, Obama wrote, "Lord protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument for Your will." A yeshiva student who later apologized for his actions on Israeli TV removed the note, handwritten on King David Hotel stationary, and handed it over to Ma'ariv. Rabinovitz retrieved Obama's note and said he had it replaced in the Wall, the most prominent remnant of the Holy Temple. Footage of the aforementioned yeshiva student was broadcast on Israeli television over the weekend, which prompted Rabinovitch to announce that he would post custodians at the Kotel who would prevent the removal of notes. It is a customary to write prayers on small pieces of paper and push them into the cracks of the Wall. Prayer at the Temple Mount, the most holy site in the world for the Jewish people, is believed to have special efficacy. Custodians of the Kotel regularly remove the notes placed in the cracks and discreetly bury them along with other holy documents.