Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama's Western Wall Prayer - Published

As much as this is one of those things you'd surely be tempted to do if you were there, I think this is wrong:
A written prayer that Barack Obama left this week in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, asks God to guide him and guard his family, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

“Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note published in the Maariv daily. “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 of your will.”

The paper’s decision to make the note public drew fire. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, said publishing the note intruded in Obama’s relationship with God.

“The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,” he told Army Radio. The publication “damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves,” he said.

Maariv published a photograph of the note, which it said had been removed from the wall by a student at a Jewish seminary immediately after Obama left.
I'm not sure why the student felt that it was a good thing to do this; it's obviously something that should be considered private (even if it is in a public place), and it seems very wrong to me.

On a different note, it's a rather nice, generic prayer (could be he was unwilling to get more personal/specific, particularly when something like this could happen), and I certainly hope that if he wins, he does what is just and right while avoiding pride and despair.


  1. Aside from the fact that this is just disgusting behavior. It also shows the basic lack of respect of privacy a human being deserves. plus these were FRUM bochurim, and to top all this off, it's a HUGE Chillul Hashem. Can you imagine the bad impression Obama has just got now from frumme Yidden?? What a dumb thing to do.

  2. That is just wrong.

    It is nice to see the humility I've always seen in him regarding religion (based on, for example, his statements that he might be wrong about gay marriage, etc.) reflected in his prayer. It's hard to imagine Bush asking God to help him guard against pride, although maybe I'd be surprised.

  3. Chaim - Agreed.

    JA - (rolls eyes) :P

  4. Wow. That's just rude.

    But newspapers love stuff like that. That's one reason I just don't want to go into journalism. :(

  5. I guess the bochur went to a yeshiva that teaches, thou shalt steal.

  6. I am not a fan of Obama, but I expect that he rightly anticipated that this could happen.

  7. I find TNR's take interesting. TNR supports Obama and now one of its bloggers sees the possibility that the campaign leaked the contents of the note ahead of time as credible.

    Of course that being the case, why was it necessary to fish it out of the Kotel?

    I'll also point out that the claim that a Yeshiva student fished it out isn't 100% certain.