Every year, a moving and impressive Birkat Kohanim takes place during Chol Hamoed Pesach and Chol Hamoed Succot in the presence of hundreds of kohanim and many thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world.
This morning (Tuesday), the Western Wall stones, visited and touched by thousands of people from Israel and around the world all year round, were sanitized and cleaned in order to protect those who come to the Western Wall even now.
With Passover approaching, the custom continues and this morning, the prayer notes tucked in between the stones in the past six months were removed using gloves and disposable wooden tools. The notes were collected in special bags and will be buried along with other sacred papers (genizah) on Mount of Olives.
Only since this past Rosh Hashana, over 18,000 prayer notes from around the world have been sent to the Western Wall through the Western Wall internet site.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, accompanied the note removal personally and prayed for the recovery of all those who have fallen ill – from among the Jewish nation and nations of the entire world. “During these difficult days in which the plague is spreading around the world and threatening our lives, we collect prayers from around the world at the remnant of our destroyed Temple, prayers to the Creator of the Universe that He should send us a complete healing and good health and redeem us from this difficult virus that has attacked the world.”
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the residents of the Jewish Quarter, is doing all it can within the guidelines so that the prayer of Jews continues to be heard near the stones of the Western Wall.
The afternoon mincha prayers will be broadcast live on Mondays through Thursdays at 13:20 Israel time here
"In Nissan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt, and in Nissan we will be redeemed."Tens of Jewish Quarter residents came to the Kotel for moving Rosh Chodesh prayers at the Western Wall Plaza, in strict adherence with the Health Ministry regulations.
Over the course of Thursday morning, tens of Jewish Quarter residents came to the Western Wall Plaza for Rosh Chodesh prayers, in keeping with the guidelines set by the Health Ministry. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the residents of the Jewish Quarter, is doing all it can within the guidelines so that the prayer of Jews continues to be heard near the stones of the Western Wall.Beginning next week, the afternoon mincha prayers will be broadcast live on Mondays through Thursdays at 1:20pm Israel time.
The prayer service can be seen on the Kotel website www.thekotel.org, on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv0_DIttrXo, or on the Western Wall Heritage Foundation Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WesternWallOfficial/
Tomorrow, Erev Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 29 Adar, March 24th, Yom Kippur Katan is a time for praying for miracles and salvation, so there will be prayers of Yom Kippur Katan and special prayers for the end of the plague as per the request of the Israel Chief Rabbinate, and The Council of Torah Sages all in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.
At midday (about 11:45) the prayer for Erev Yom Kippur Katan will begin led by the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. Afterwards, prayer services will continue throughout the day with proper distances between the worshipers as per Health Ministry directives.
Ner Tamid at the KotelWorldwide prayer and plea for the end of the Corona virusEven with the strict regulations for social distancing, the Ner Tamid at the Kotel continues to shine and individuals continue to come to pray at the Western Wall. Tomorrow, Thursday, 23 Adar (March 19th) at 2pm (israel time), a small minyan of 10 participants will gather for the Pitom Haketoret prayer, mincha, Tehillim, and a special prayer for the end of the pandemic, in the presence of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, and the singer Yishai Rebo. The service will be broadcast live all across the Jewish world. Together, from near and far, we will join hearts in a shared prayer for the complete recovery of the entire world.
Ongoing activities are continuing in the Western Wall Plaza while carefully keeping to the regulations determined by the Health Ministry.Hundreds of worshipers came to the Western Wall this morning for Vatikin early-morning prayer services, making sure to maintain the proper distance between groups. Also now, dozens of bar mitzvah events are taking place with the families having greatly limited the number of participants per event. In consultation between Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and the Health Ministry it was decided to ask the public not to kiss the stones of the Western Wall in order to abide by required hygiene practices. Enclosed photos:1.Shacharit morning services at the Western Wall2.Separation between prayer areas in accordance with Health Ministry regulations
The Western Wall Plaza is open in accordance with the Health Ministry regulations.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is operating according to directives of the Health Ministry, therefore the Western Wall Tunnels sites are closed as of this morning. The Western Wall Plaza will remain open, as was concluded with the Health Ministry.In accordance with the directives, the Western Wall prayer plaza as well as the covered prayer hall of Wilson's Arch will be separated into prayer areas of up to 10 worshipers with space between the groups.Worshipers and visitors are requested to abide by the ushers' directions.Worshipers and visitors are continuing to visit the Western Wall Plaza continuously.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites
Medically speaking, the coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, but the last few days have taught us that it attacks our souls no less. Only now, as the Health Ministry regulates preventative measures of separation, do we realize that we are all one. When someone tests positive, the path he took is spread before our worried eyes. Were we with him? Did we share a train with him or sit near him in the synagogue? How many people do we pass everyday in the supermarket, at work, on the street… without noticing them?
The new directives teach us how close we actually are to one another. How natural it is for us to be in crowded places, to shake someone’s hand, to tap them on the shoulder, to hug. We are learning so much about ourselves through everything the coronavirus is trying to take away.
We just recently read in Megillat Esther that when the Jewish nation’s fate rested on her shoulders, Esther asked Mordechai: "Go, assemble all the Jews who are present in Shushan and fast on my behalf”. Before the fast and the prayers, first – assemble all the Jews. Unity is the secret of our strength, the root of our hope, and the source of salvation.
“Hearts follow deeds”, said our sages. Indeed, it might be natural for our hearts to follow behind the directives meant to separate us to prevent contagion. It might be natural for this to deteriorate, G-d forbid, to a situation of “to each his own”, an internal quarantine following the physical one. But in these recent days, we have seen that the situation is the opposite. Tens of thousands of Israelis are putting themselves into quarantine of their own volition out of a sense of responsibility for those at high risk. Volunteers are offering help to those in quarantine all over the country.
This is the Jewish nation at its best. And despite the background of public disagreements, the profound truth that beats in the heart of every Jew becomes apparent – “We are all kinsmen”.
Especially now with the Health Ministry regulations, we will do everything we can to connect to one another in different ways – we will check on our elderly neighbors, volunteer, and pray wholeheartedly that He who blessed our forefathers and foremothers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah will bless and heal all those who are ill who need a speedy recovery. May the Blessed be He send them speedily a complete healing – healing of the soul and healing of the body – along with all the ill among the people of Israel and all humankind, soon, speedily, without delay, and let us all say: Amen!
There is daily minyan for Psalms at the site called Opposite the Holy of Holies in the Western Wall Tunnels that recites Psalms for hundreds of people who send in names that are read after Psalms are recited.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus and the great danger of its spread in Israel and around the world, it was decided that starting today, the recitation of Psalms will be devoted to those who have corona in Israel and around the world. In addition, after the Psalms are recited, the prayer “pitom haketoret” will be added as well as a special prayer composed by the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, for the removal of the plague from Israel and the world.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation calls upon the public to join us in prayer and to send requests or names for prayer through the website at:
or through the email address: email@example.com
The names will be printed daily and the Psalms of that same day will be devoted to their healing.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation also wishes to note that the Health Ministry has deemed the Western Wall Plaza a wide, open space and therefore there should be no concern regarding coming to pray there.
This morning, 70 families came to the Western Wall to celebrate bar mitzvahs and they were joined by hundreds of worshippers and visitors.
However, in accordance with the regulations of the Health Ministry which state that there should be no more than 100 people at a time in a closed space, the entrance to the Wilson’s Arch covered prayer area will be limited. The Foundation is preparing for the upcoming Shabbat which is expected to be rainy, so tomorrow (Friday) it will erect two prayer tents that can accommodate 100 worshippers each to offer shelter from the rain on the open Western Wall Plaza.
Right now, hundreds of people are praying for the end of the Corona plague in Israel and around the world. Participating are: The Rishon LeZion, Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron; The Rishon LeZion and Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar; the mekubal Rabbi David Batzri; Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef, Rabbi Moshe Tzedaka; Rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and other rabbis.