Prayer / by Nate Westheimer

One of the most spectacular and spectacularly loaded aspects of my recent trip to Israel was my visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall, on my last Shabbat afternoon in the country. Img 0579

One of the traditions of going to the wall is to leave a prayer in its cracks, as it is -- for the Jewish people -- the closest earthly object to God (being that the temple was built upon the rock where Abraham made his covenant with God).

Anyway, I'm not usually one to articulate my spiritually in written prayer, but earlier in the day I had gone to Jerusalem's holocaust memorial and museum and felt overwhelmed by the issues of time and place and morality which charge that region with so much everything.

The thing I really appreciated about the occasion of going to the wall and writing a prayer was the challenge to distill all the emotions and thoughts being in that place (the memorial and the country) evoked. Prayer, I found, was the challenge of finding simplicity and clarity out of chaos. That challenge, which isn't necessarily restricted to prayer, was one I enjoyed. It's a challenge -- to be more simple and more clear -- I think we could all bring upon ourselves more often. I'd like to try.

This is what I left behind:

Let it not happen again. May we not stand by today. Open our eyes to all injustice, And do not let us avert them.

Bring comfort to those who need it! Ease their suffering and pain. Teach who need to love again, So this, our world, may remain.