The Western Wall needs to be a place of unity

Let us wipe away and remove the sin of dispute and baseless hatred from the Western Wall.

‘OVER THESE past six months, since the outbreak of the coronavirus around the world, I feel as though the Western Wall stones are yearning, too.’  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
‘OVER THESE past six months, since the outbreak of the coronavirus around the world, I feel as though the Western Wall stones are yearning, too.’
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
We yearned for the Western Wall for 2,000 years. We etched its image onto our hearts. We sent it tiny prayer notes through courageous emissaries. Even when we returned to the Western Wall, the longing did not cease. Like waves hitting the shore, the Children of Israel continue to come to the Western Wall from all corners of the globe “to see the pleasantness of the Lord and to visit His Temple.”
Over these past six months, since the outbreak of the coronavirus around the world, I feel as though the Western Wall stones are yearning, too. They are yearning for the myriad faces, congregations and prayer styles that color the Western Wall Plaza in a palette of hues. They are yearning for the thousands of pupils who ascend to Jerusalem to connect with the Jewish chain of generations.
They are yearning for the IDF soldiers who stand at their feet and, with a trembling heart, vow to be willing to give their lives to defend the Jewish nation and the State of Israel. They are yearning for the millions of tourists, Jews and non-Jews, who come to the ancient and sacred wall – and their heart misses a beat.
The one thing, I have no doubt, that the stones are not yearning for are the unnecessary disputes, the war between brothers, the attempt to use the Western Wall as a stage for disseminating opinions and agendas.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, these wars suddenly ceased, since those for whom the Western Wall is precious found ways to get there even under the most stringent of restrictions, to pray as our forefathers and foremothers did. And those for whom the Western Wall is merely a platform left until things calm down, with the exception of a very select few.
God willing, in the near future, a vaccine will be found for this disease and the Jewish nation will return en masse to its sacred site. I pray that, along with the crowds, we will also witness a return of the love and solidarity that has characterized the wall throughout the years, and the Western Wall will go back to being the one place where we can all connect to our ancestors’ tradition through a sense of humility and deep belonging.
On this upcoming Yom Kippur, we will pray, “wipe away and remove our willful sins and errors from Your sight.” Let us wipe away and remove the sin of dispute and baseless hatred from the Western Wall and from everywhere else, and become role models for the entire Jewish nation.
We wish the Jewish nation and the entire world “Ketivah V’Chatima Tova” – May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a complete recovery, love and companionship, peace and friendship.

The writer is rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites.