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Western Wall Gets its Pre-Passover Cleaning

April 17, 2024

by: Ynetnews

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Prayers or notes left in the cracks of the Western Wall

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 | The Western Wall underwent its yearly Passover cleaning on Tuesday. The special pre-holiday cleaning was not meant to remove hametz [foods with leavening agents that are forbidden to Jews on the holiday of Passover] from the wall’s ancient stones but to clear out the thousands of notes and prayers placed between its stones over the past six months to make way for the notes of more visitors.

The notes are collected and transferred to an area designated as genizah, a storage place for sacred texts.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation oversees the clearing, which is carried out according to halachic [Jewish law] guidelines using gloves and disposable wooden tools.

The purpose of the clearing is to make space for new notes from visitors expected to arrive at the Western Wall in the coming months, as well as prayer notes sent from countries around the world. The notes were collected in bags and will be buried together with worn-out sacred books in a designated genizah. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and other holy sites, personally oversees the clearing each year, while offering prayers for unity among the Jewish people and for the thousands who have brought their prayers.

The custom of placing notes in the Western Wall has been documented for nearly three hundred years. Prayer notes are placed throughout the length of the Western Wall and can also be found between the stones exposed in the Western Wall Tunnels.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation notes that an average of 3,000 notes are sent each month through the foundation’s website, to be printed and inserted between the wall’s stones, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of notes personally placed by visitors. In the past year, about 100,000 notes were sent via the Foundation’s website from various countries around the world, including the US, Slovakia, Brazil, South America, Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, England, Russia, Venezuela, Ukraine, India, Mexico, Argentina and Taiwan.

Notes are sent to the Western Wall throughout the year, each note with its own story. In the past six months, since October 7, in addition to the thousands of visitors who came to the Western Wall and placed notes, many notes were also sent via the website from Israel and around the world by Israel Defense Forces [IDF] soldiers, security forces, the wounded, families of hostages, bereaved families and medical teams.

Despite a decrease in the number of tourists since the Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles], the number of notes placed by Israelis and sent from various locations around the country has increased, according to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

Posted on April 17, 2024

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on April 16, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr/

Photo License: Wikimedia